India return South African favours

Written by: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 17:43 [IST]
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India return South African favours

It was only a week back that people were writing obituary of India's No. 1 ranking in Test Cricket. In a week's time tide seems to have turned and Team India is looking like deserving champions of the No. 1 tag. The team which had looked ordinary at Nagpur in the first test is looking extraordinary in the second test at Kolkata. Not only has the team dominated in the test at the Eden Gardens it has demoralized the South Africans.

If it was Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan on Day 1 and Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag on Day 2, it was the turn of VVS Laxman and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to shatter the South African bowling attack on Day 3. The two shared an unbroken 259 stand with both the batsman scoring their centuries. Laxman scored a well crafted 143 while Dhoni made a blistering 132 before the team declared at 643 for the loss of 6 wickets taking a mammoth 347 run lead over the South Africans.

It was only the second instance of four Indian batsman scoring a century in the same innings the previous one coming against Bangladesh. VVS Laxman who can score a hundred at Eden Garden playing blindfold brought up his fourth hundred at the ground and with it also completed 1000 runs at the historic venue. His innings reminded of the epic 281 he had scored against the Australians in 2001 which is a part of the Indian cricket's folklore.

Barring the first two sessions in the first day, the Indian teams has dominated the Test match into it's third day. The South African bowling looked clueless even on the third day with even night watchman Amit Mishra scoring a quick fire 28 to start proceedings in the morning. From then on it was a complete Laxman and Dhoni show, where they sent the Proteas to all part of the ground. South Africans did not help their cause with some sloppy fielding and dropped catches.

Dale Steyn who had given nightmares to the Indian team at the Nagpur test didn't look as sharp here while Paul Harris looked more like getting wicket than grabbing them for himself. Going into the fourth day the Eden test is nicely poised. South Africa will need to make a herculean effort to defeat India in this match. As far as Dhoni and his men are concerned, they will only need to exploit the fourth day pitch to earn a victory for themselves.

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