Kanpur Test: Honours even on day two

Published: Saturday, April 12, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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VVS Laxman (50) was undone by Morkel's beauty Bangalore: Ganguly played a fighting innings but India gifted a couple of wickets late in the day as South Africa battled back in the third and final Test at the Green Park in Kanpur on Saturday.

India were 288/9 in their first essay in reply to tourist's 265. Both the teams shared the day's honour. India dominated the proceedings in the first two sessions of the day. Tourists battled back in the final session. Ganguly stole the show for India with a masterclass knock while the young seamer Morkel, who dismissed seasoned campaigners VVS and Dravid with an unplayable deliveries, was the star performer in the rival camp.

Ganguly (87) held his ground firm on a two-paced pitch as wickets kept on tumbling in the final session. Dada was at ease with both pace and spin. He seemed to have read the pitch better than the other batters. The gritty Kolkatan, who has had a 'quiet' series, was under tremendous pressure to deliver and a fighter to the core he is: once again used 'adversity as stimulant'.


He constructed his innings nicely. His innings can be compartmentlised into two. In the first half of the innings he milked the ball in the gaps for singles and twos. Wristy play on the either side of the wicket was hallmark of this part. And started playing cuts, drives and flicks.

Prince of Kolkata's royal innings was inclusive of nine hits to fance and one over it. Steyn, who accounted for Ganguly in the penultimate over of the day, and Harris plucked two wickets each in post-tea session as hosts slumped from 165/4 at tea to 279/9 at the drawn of stumps.

Top-order batsmen got the start but failed to build on it. VVS crafted a fine 50 before he was undone by a peach of Morkel delivery that was pitched on good length and swung back to beat VVS all ends who was intending to play his trademark flick on mid-wicket only to see his timberwork rearrenged.

Dravid'd dogged innings came to a grinding halt when Morkel's short of good length delivery hit Dravid's left arm and flew straight to de Villiers at gully.

Yuvraj (32) playing his first Test in the series looked set for a big one before a half-hearted sweep off Harris landed in to the de Villiers' safe pair of hands.

Dhoni (32) who looked at ease in the middle along with Ganguly has to be blamed himself for conceding wicket at the crucial juncture playing a irresponsible shot. MSD charged down the wicket only to get beaten off a flatter delivery off Harris to leave India in a bit of bother at 188/5.

India struggled against pace in the morning session also, losing openers Virender Sehwag (eight) and Wasim Jaffer (15) in the first 11 overs.

Steyn, the most successful South African bowler in the series, provided the breakthrough in his third over when he trapped hard-hitting Sehwag leg-before.

Jaffer played a couple of attractive shots before falling leg-before in Morkel's opening over.

Old brigade Laxman and Dravid revived hosts innings with a 78-run stand for the third wicket before the class act from Ganguly took India past SA's first innings total.


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