McKenzie guides South Africa to a draw

Published: Sunday, March 30, 2008, 16:06 [IST]
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Chennai: Neil McKenzie continued his amazing comeback to the South African side with an unbeaten century as the high-scoring first Test against India ended in a draw here on Sunday.

The 32-year-old followed his 94 in the first innings with 155 not out as South Africa piled up 331-5 in their second knock before umpires called off the match at the Chidambaram stadium.


A draw in the first game of the three-Test series was the result of a heartless pitch for the bowlers that produced 1,498 runs for just 25 wickets over the five days.

McKenzie, who was recalled to the Test squad in January after being ignored by the selectors for four years, hit 13 boundaries and a six in his fourth Test century.

He had scored 226 during a world record opening partnership of 415 with captain Graeme Smith in the previous Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong earlier this month.

McKenzie and his overnight partner Hashim Amla, who resumed at 131/1, batted through most of the morning session to dent India's chances of forcing an unlikely win.

Amla, South Africa's first innings hero with 159, survived two dropped catches to make 81 before he was dismissed five minutes before lunch.

Indian captain Anil Kumble provided the breakthrough by having Amla caught by Rahul Dravid at lone slip.

McKenzie and Amla put on 157 for the second wicket, but the hosts have themselves to blame for allowing the long partnership.

Amla was on 55 when he top-edged a sweep off Harbhajan Singh but Shanthakumaran Sreesanth could not hold the ball when running in from deep square-leg.

Amla moved to 72 when he drove seamer Rudra Pratap Singh uppishly but the bowler failed to latch on to a sharp return catch.

Jacques Kallis helped McKenzie add 54 for the third wicket on either side of lunch before Harbhajan cheered 15,000 home fans with two wickets in 11 balls midway through the afternoon session.

Kallis, who made 19, fell to a superb diving catch at square-leg by Rudra Pratap, while Ashwell Prince was held at forward short-leg by Wasim Jaffer for five.

The run feast saw South Africa pile up 540 in the first innings and India replied with 627 on the back of a brilliant 319 from Virender Sehwag and 111 by Dravid.

The second Test will be played in Ahmedabad from April 3 and the third in Kanpur from April 11.


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