Tendulkar, Dhoni defy SA with century stand

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Published: Sunday, December 19, 2010, 18:59 [IST]
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Tendulkar, Dhoni defy SA with 100+ stand

After suffering much destruction in Day 4's first session of play where 4 wickets went down, India replied with a far more fruitful post-lunch passage. Sachin Tendulkar and M S Dhoni put on a 100-plus runs stand for the 7th wicket and took India into tea with the score at 394/6 in 106 overs and the deficit at just 90.

With the score at 279/6 after lunch, Tendulkar and Dhoni tried to shed the pressure by pushing for runs. In the second over after the break, Dhoni struck paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe for two fours. Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn kept pummelng away, in hopes of another breakthrough and were initially difficult to get away for runs.

As India moved to 298/6 in the 84th over, the batting duo attacked Morkel, striking him for three boundaries in the over to take India well over 300. In the 87th over, Tendulkar and Dhoni got after Steyn, taking him for a four each. In the next over, Dhoni unleased his wrath on Kallis, picking him for three consecutive boundaries - one through mid off, one between extra cover and mid off and the third, left of fine leg. Dhoni soon moved to his fifty off just 41 balls when he ran a single off Morkel.

In the 92nd over, Tendulkar was lucky to survive an lbw shout to a ball that hit him adjacent to a Paul Harris off-break the stumps. But after overcome the jitters, Tendulkar pressed on confidently as he and Dhoni notched up a 100-run stand in the 102nd over, taking India's score to 377/6 and reducing the deficit to 107.

On the morning of Day 4, India had their work cut out. The visiting side had to make up the deficit of 294 and then hopefully, surpass the hosts' total. Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma, batting on 7 and Rahul Dravid an overnight score of 28, got off to a confident enough start. Sharma even hit the first four of the day courtesy a cover-drive off paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

That shot took India past 200. But Sharma didn't have the verve to last much longer. When fiery speedster Dale Steyn returned, Sharma tried to take him on by slapping for a boundary past point. But in the next ball, Steyn had his man as Hashim Amla snapped him up at square leg. The nightwatchman was sent off duty for 23 and India were at 214/3 in 54.4 overs as the Sachin Tendulkar trudged out to the wicket. Rahul Dravid looked set to play the long innings, but caved into the bowling of Morkel in the 65th over when the batsman was caught behind for 43.

India were in trouble at 242/4 when VVS Laxman came out to bat. He took India past 250 with two blistering boundaries - one, between mid-off and extra cover and one, backward of square leg. But that was apparently, all he had to contribute as paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe accounted for his wicket in the 73rd over when he had him caught by Ashwell Prince in the slips.

At 255/5, India needed a decent partnership as an out-of-form Suresh Raina walked to the crease. As expected, Raina's poor form continued to dog him as he was caught at slip off Jacques Kallis for 5, leaving India in shambles at 277/6 in 77.5 overs. Hopes Indian recovery were steadily fading as the visitors went in for lunch. South Africa have a good chance of wrapping up the test in the afternoon session, unless Tendulkar and the remaining batsman pull off something spectacular.


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