Ganguly tames pitch as India gain lead in SA Test

Published: Saturday, April 12, 2008, 21:20 [IST]
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Sourav Ganguly cracked a gutsy 87 on a difficult pitch to help India gain a slender advantage on the second day of the third and final Test against South Africa here on Saturday.

India were struggling at 123-4 before reaching 288-9 in their first innings at stumps in reply to South Africa's 265 on a day of fluctuating fortunes, thanks to Ganguly's 34th Test half-century.

Ganguly counter-attacked brilliantly on a track of uneven bounce, smashing a six off left-arm spinner Paul Harris and nine fours during his 119-ball knock to pull his team out of trouble.

He put on 65 for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh (32) and 60 for the next with stand-in captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (32).

South Africa succeeded in restricting the Indian lead by grabbing three wickets in the space of 11 runs with the new ball.

Ganguly, who had tailenders to keep him company when nearing his 16th Test hundred, was the ninth man out. He tried a big shot and was caught by Hashim Amla in the covers, but not before giving a superb display of strokemaking.

The left-hander, who also scored 87 in his previous innings in Ahmedabad, offered a difficult chance on 40 off paceman Morne Morkel but a diving Neil McKenzie failed to latch on to it in the covers.

"Considering the pitch, it is definitely one of my top Test knocks. No doubt, it is a difficult wicket. What matters on these pitches is how you think," said Ganguly.

"I intended to be positive. I wanted to play shots because there is no point staying there and not adding runs to the

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