India in box seat as SA chase 401 in Joburg

Published: Sunday, December 17, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg:South Africa lost an early wicket after they were set to make 402 to win on the third day of the first Test against India at the Wanderers Stadium.

South Africa were nought for one at lunch on Sunday. Herschelle Gibbs was caught at first slip off Zaheer Khan off the fourth ball of the only over South Africa had to face before the interval. It was Gibbs' second nought of the match.

India were bowled out for 236 in their second innings.

VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan ensured South Africa would have to chase a daunting target when they put on 70 for the eighth wicket to provide the bulk of the 90 runs that India added for the loss of their remaining five wickets Sunday.

Laxman made a watchful, polished 73 off 134 balls with 12 fours, while Khan provided enterprising support in hitting 37 off 80 deliveries.

Khan hit two sixes off South African captain and off-spinner Graeme Smith as well as three fours.

Resuming at 146 for five, India quickly lost Mahendra Singh Dhoni, caught behind off Shaun Pollock, and Anil Kumble, caught in the gully off Andre Nel.

But Laxman and Khan stayed together for 106 minutes of largely cautious batting apart from Khan's onslaught against Smith, whose three overs cost 26 runs.

Makhaya Ntini ended the stand when Laxman was caught at first slip. He dismissed Khan, caught behind, two balls later.

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth provided a moment of comedy drama before the innings ended. After Nel advanced threateningly down the pitch after a bouncer, Sreesanth hammered the next ball for a straight six and ran down the pitch twirling his bat to taunt the South African fast bowler.

As in the first innings, VRV Singh slogged effectively, hitting two fours off Ntini and making 11 off four balls before being run out when he attempted a second run to deep midwicket.


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