India trail by 294 with 2 down

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Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 9:23 [IST]
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India trail by 294 with 2 down

In the last session of play on Day 3 of the first Test against South Africa, India continued to close the yawning gap in the scores, but lost a well-settled Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir along the way.

India resumed its innings after tea on 92/0 in 17 overs. Straight away, Gambhir went after seamer Jacques Kallis, taking two fours off him and bringing up a century opening stand with Sehwag. The duo had equaled Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan's record of 10 century stands by Indian openers. Two overs later, Gambhir again came down heavily on Kallis, striking him for two more boundaries and notching up his half-century en route.

The batting pair then played out a few quiet overs before off-spinner Paul Harris got the breakthrough when he removed Sehwag for 63, having him caught at mid-off by captain Graeme Smith. India was in a relatively comfortable position at 137 when Sehwag exited. With Rahul DRavid the new man at the crease, Gambhir felt confident enough to take on Morne Morkel. In the 35th over, he smacked the fast bowler for two fours and took India past 150.

Just when it looked like this new partnership was flourishing, Proteas' quick Dale Steyn, returned to trap Gambhir lbw and peg India back to 170/2 in 40th over.Ishant Sharma was sent in as the nightwatchman ahead of Sachin Tendulkar and with Dravid played out the last few overs to stumps with India at 190/2.

The day began with South Africa picking up their innings at the overnight score of 366 with a lead of 230. A tough day for India loomed with Hashim Amla resuming his innings at 116 and Kallis having given him able support with 102. Amla set thge tone from the day by smacking Indian pacer S Sreesanth for a four in the first over. Sreesanth had to continue bearing the brunt of Amla's dominance, until Ishant Sharma had the batsman caught behind for 140.

The new batsmen A B de Villiers who settled in very quickly, straight drove Sharma for a four to take his side past 400 in the 95 over. Alongside Kallis, de Villiers started to up the tempo, turning harsh on Ishant and rookie fast bowler Jaidev Unadkat. Harbhajan Singh joined the attack in the 101st over but was almost immediately carted for six by de Villiers over square leg as the scoreboard ticked past 450.

De Villiers next victim was Suresh Raina whom he hit for a six in 110th over and running a few singles to bring up South Africa's 500. The batsmen continued to be brutal on Raina, taking him for 4 sixes and 1 four in the space of two overs, bringing up his 100 in just 76 balls in the process. It was fastest test ton by a Proteas batsman. The hosts had also taken their score over 550. South Africa went into lunch at 591/3 in 23 overs, with the lead at a whopping 455.

Two over after the break and South Africa had put 600 behind them. After a few more flourishes of the bat, Sharma got A B de Villiers caught behind for 129 and South Africa declared immediately after his wicket at 620/4 with the lead extended to 484.


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