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SA pile on lead with 8 wickets in hand

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Published: Friday, December 17, 2010, 18:57 [IST]
 
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SA pile on lead with 8 wickets in hand

South Africa resumed their innings after lunch at 111/1. Alviro Petersen hit the first ball after the break for four. It was a shot that would possibly set the tone for the afternoon. Petersen reached his 50 soon after with the runs coming fluently.

The hosts moved past India's total of 136 in the 34th over. In the next over, wicketkeeper/captain M S Dhoni dropped a tough chance off Harbhajan Singh's bowling to let Hashim Amla off the hook. The batsman responded with a powerful six over midwicket in the next ball. South Africa crossed 150 in the 36th over.

Though Bhajji was coming in for some stick, having gone for 57 in his 11 overs, he was the only real threat to the Proteas. He returned in the 41st over to have Petersen snapped up by Gautam Gambhir at forward short leg and South Africa were 166/2 with Jacques Kallis the new man at the crease. Kallis settled in very quickly and with Amla soon proved indominable. Sreesanth and Bhajji both continued to come in for some tap, conceding a four in almost every over between the 42nd to the 46th.

Suresh Raina joined the attack in the 47th over, but Kallis immediately dispatched him for a six over deep mid-wicket. Then Amla ran a single to take his side to 200/2 in 46.5 overs. At the other end, Kallis continued to attack Raina, sending him for a four and a six in the 49th over. The batting pair extended their side's lead to 100 in the 55th over when umpire's called tea.

Day 2 began with Proteas speedster Morne Morkel getting Dhoni lbw for 33 in just his third ball and India's innings had come to an end on the overnight score of 136 itself. Morkel had been the destroyer-in-chief with 5 fo 20. The South African first innings got off to a far more positive start than India's.

Although circumspect at first, captain Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen hit their stride and began picking runs at relative ease. India were bound to be at a loss without the services of the injured Zaheer Khan and it was telling on the performance of the rookie fast bowler Unadkat, who was smacked away for two fours in 13th over by Petersen. Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma struggled for impact as well.

The batting duo took 7 runs off Sreesanth in the 15th over, including a blistering shot from Smith through backward point, to see the scoreboard tick past 50. With hopes of a breakthrough looking faint, Dhoni introduced Harbhajan Singh into the attack in the 18th over. But straight away, Smith smacked him for two boundaries. Bhajji came in for some more stick when Petersen lofted him for a six over deep square leg and Smith attacked him with two boundaries. South Africa had moved to 100/0 in 24 overs.

Harbhajan finally got his revenge when he had Smith caught behind for 62 with the Proteas at 111/1 in 26.3. The new batsman Hashim Amla played out the remainder of the over when lunch was called.

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