India sniff victory with SA at 182/7 at lunch

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Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 15:50 [IST]
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India sniff victory with SA at 182/7 at

Day 4 of the second Test between India and South Africa, at Durban, seemed to be going the tourists' way as they claimed three fairly quick wickets. But then, India ran into Ashwell Prince and Paul Harris who have put up some stiff resistance, taking their side to lunch at 182/7 in 59 overs with the partnership worth 27 runs. The Proteas now trail India by 120 runs with three wickets in hand.

At the start of Day 4, both sides had their work cut out. South Africa, resuming their second innings on 111/3 had to make another 192 to snatch victory while India had to ensnare 7 more wickets to beat them to it. But the scales began to tilt India's way when after 7 relatively quiet overs, Sreesanth got the breakthrough.

The speedster produced a bouncy delivery that jagged back into Kallis, forcing him to fend tentatively at it and lob up the ball to gully where Virender Sehwag took an easy catch. Kallis was out for 17 and India were fancying their chances just a little more with the South African scoreboard reading 123/4.

Just five and half overs later, Harbhajan sent back the dangerous A B de Villiers for 33 after trapping him in front. The decision by the umpire was debatable as the ball straightened, but hit de Villiers on the knee-roll with television simulation suggesting that it would have gone over the stumps. But de Villiers was on his way and India had pegged back the South Africans to 136/5 in 40 overs.

A couple of overs later, Bhajji came close to getting Mark Boucher out when he had the batsman loft a loopy ball to midwicket, which dropped just short of the fielder. In the next over, Boucher was unlucky to be adjudged lbw to Zaheer Khan in another controversial decision. The Proteas had slipped to 143/6 in 42.4 overs. The new batsman Dale Steyn edged Bhajji for a streaky four in the next over and then a few overs after that, struck Zaheer for another boundary to third man.

But Steyn's aggressiveness couldn't hold up against the pace and movement of Zaheer. In the 49th over, the paceman induced a thick outside edge from Steyn which went straight into the palms of Cheteshwar Pujara at third slip. South Africa were staring at defeat with the scoreboard showing 155/7.

There was more drama in the following over when Zaheer believed he had got Paul Harris caught off an inside-edge which had apparently bounced off his boot. The third umpire was pressed into service, but gathering from replays that showed the ball had actually come off the surface, he adjudged the batsman not out.

Harris went on to build a useful partnership with Prince while keeping the Indian bowlers at bay. By lunch on Day 4, the two had put on 23 runs and had taken South Africa to 182/7, 121 runs short of victory.


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