Steyn, Ntini helps SA bounce back

Published: Saturday, March 29, 2008, 16:04 [IST]
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Chennai: South Africa, who had a poor outing on day-3 with Sehwag having called the shots, bounced back strongly as they dominated the fourth day's proceedings from start to finish in the first Test at the Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday.

Firstly Ntini ran thro India top-order while Steyn polished off the tail as hosts' first innings folded up for 627. And then top-order batters contiunued on the good work of their new-ball bowlers as tourists finished the day on high note with 131/1.


cKenzie and Amla were at the crease with 59 and 35 at the drawn of stumps on day four. Smith was trapped plumb infront by Harbhajan for 35. SA lead by 44 runs with nine wickets in hand a three more sessions to spare meant the Test is pretty much heading towards a draw.

India having had an advantage, courtesy Sehwag's fantabolous knock, lost the momentum the moment Viru left the scene. Hosts lost as many as eight wickets for 146 runs with Steyn and Ntini running amok on a wearing strip at the Chidambaram Stadium.

Dravid's 111 was the lone bright spot in an otherwise poor outing for India. He shared two stands worth 45 and 47 runs with Ganguly and Laxman. The Bangalorean surpassed 10000-run mark in Test Cricket en route to his 25th ton in the longer version of the sport.

The Wall's snail-paced knock might have spoiled India's plans to up the scoring rate and invite SA to bat with a lead of 150-200 but for his workmanlike innings hosts' would have conceded the first innings lead to SA.

Hosts trying to accelerate the scoring rate was undone by the pace and swing of Steyn and in the end managed a slender lead of 87 runs despite the Herculean effort from Sehwag (319).

Ntini started the rot wrecking top-order including the prized scalps of Sehwag and Tendulkar while Steyn chopped off the tail in quick succession with his dreadful pace and yorker length reverse swingers.

Some 35,000 home fans, who were hoping Sehwag would surpass West Indian Brian Lara's world record score of 400 not out, were silenced within the first 30 minutes of play.

Sehwag added 10 runs to his overnight score of 309 when he edged a drive off Ntini into the safe hands of Neil McKenzie at first slip.

Sehwag received a thunderous applause from the crowd and team-mates as he returned after an epic nine-hour effort that contained 43 boundaries and five sixes in the fastest recorded triple century in history.

Ntini struck again in his next over, this time forcing star batsman Sachin Tendulkar to edge a catch to Jacques Kallis at first slip before he had scored.

Left-hander Ganguly made 24 when an intended slash off Harris took a thin edge to wicket-keeper Mark Boucher.

Dravid, playing his 120th match, became the sixth batsman in history to surpass 10,000 Test runs when he reached 80 with a single to mid-wicket off Morne Morkel.

The elite club, led by Lara, includes three Indians, Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Dravid, and two Australians, Allan Border and Steve Waugh.

Dravid, Lara and Tendulkar are the only ones to have scored more than 10,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket.

Mahendra Dhoni, who was expected to boost the run-rate after Sehwag's dismissal, plodded for 33 deliveries to make 16 when he was caught behind to give Steyn his first wicket in the match.

Steyn then bowled Indian captain Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and Rudra Pratap Singh to hasten the end of the innings.


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