South Africa give IPL-struck India a reality check

Published: Saturday, April 5, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Bangalore: Thank goodness India players get two days in bonus to attend IPL launch ceremonies, parties, ads and what not. And this is waht they did after the Chennai Test going into the second Test at Motera.

Can anybody remind the IPL-struck Indian cricketers that they a have a task at hand. And it was but obvious South Africa humiliated India by an innings and 90 run defeat with two days to spare. India's batting and bowling tale was none better than a highschool stuff.

By any stretch of imagination it never looked like Indians were in Test match mood during the second Test: Batsmen had no stomach to dig in, bowling was insipid and the ill-advised decision to bat first on a green top with overcast conditions.

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South Africa outplayed Indians in all the department. Their seamers made optimum use of the conditions and bowled out spineless India for paltry 76 in the first innings.

Steyn set the tone for tourists on day one wrecking the hosts line-up with fiery pace. His reverse inswingers and bumpers yielded him a match haul of 8 for 116 while Ntini (6/62) rattled hosts with away turners and big inswingers.

Young seamer Morne Morkel (4/107) too joined the party.

SA batsmen AB de Villiers (217 n o) and Kallis (132) continued the good work of the bowlers played a gem of an innings to help their side post a mammoth 494/7 decl and took the game out of India's reach.

Ganguly (87 off 149) and Dhoni (52 off 132) played a good knocks in the losing cause. The duo shared a 110-run stand for the fifth wicket but that wasn't enough to avoid innings defeat leave alone a draw. Laxman looked set for a big one before Morkel induced him to edge one to Boucher. Pathan yet again ran out of partners and was stranded at strokeful 43.

Tourists invited India to bat after declaring at the overnight score meant India started their second essay with a first innings deficit of 418 runs. The top-order batters got the start but failed to capitalise on it. The Chennai Test hero Sehwag (17) started off with a bang hitting Steyn for a couple of sixes over fine-leg area but was undone by a Ntini delivery that pitched on off and nipped in to rap the Viru below knee flap for a plumb LBW decision.

Dravid (17) and Jaffer (19) too perished flirting the ball on off-stump corridor only to give a regulation catch to de Villiers in slip cordon to leave India reeling on 70/3.

Laxman (35) and Ganguly revived tottering India innings with a 55-run stand.

Laxman was looking good playing some wristy shots, but after making 35, he went for an expansive drive outside the off stump to a ball from Morne Morkel only to see the edge go to wicket keeper Mark Boucher, who made no mistake.

Dhoni then joined Ganguly and the two stuck around to frustrate the South Africans with Ganguly looking extremely solid and determined to stick around for as long as possible.

Dhoni on the other hand was playing a few audious shots, but at the same time putting a price on his wicket.

The Indian keeper should have be dismissed when he was on 18 but his hook shot of Morne Morkel was dropped at fine leg by Makhaya Ntini. Again on 24, Mark Boucher missed a stumping of spinner Paul Harris to give Dhoni his second chance.

At the other end, Ganguly who had started shakily before lunch grew in confidence and picked the gaps to a nicety between a few trademark square cuts and square drives to keep the scoreboard moving.

Steyn saperated the pair when he accounted for Ganguly's scalp caught Boucher to reduce India to 235/5. Dohni too persihed after notching up his fortuitous half-century going for an expensive on-drive only to find an inside edge that flew to Smith at first slip.

Steyn and Ntini then polished off the Indian tail in an extended last session of the day.

India need to sit and introspect and regroup fast for the third and final Test at Kanpur starting on Apr 11.


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