India 49/2 at tea

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Published: Monday, January 3, 2011, 18:56 [IST]
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India 49/2 at tea

After bowling out South Africa for 362 after lunch on Day 2 of the third Test against South Africa, the Indian first innings suffered a couple of early blows when Virender Sehwag was out for 13 and Dravid was run-out shortly afterward. South African speedster Dale Steyn picked up the opener's wicket for the third time in the series, officially making him his bunny.

Sehwag had got off the mark in characteristically aggressive fashion, glancing Morne Morkel for a fine-leg boundary before flicking him in front of square for four more, both shots coming in the second over. Sehwag's opening buddy Gambhir showed some class of his own, by swatting a square drive past point for another boundary off Morkel.In the fortuitous 7th over, Sehwag blazed Steyn for a four through the vacant cover region. IN

the very next ball, Steyn replied with a fuller ball, which Sehwwag was not abel to commit to, slicing it up to mid-off where Proteas captain Graeme Smith was waiting for swallow him up.

India were in trouble at 19/1 when Rahul Dravid walked to the crease. At the end of the eight over, there was a misunderstanding between Dravid and Gambhir.

Dravid turned arounf half-way down the pitch, but the trow by the fieldsman at the non-striker's end missed the stumps by a whisker and Dravid survived... but not for long. Jst two overs later, in a dramatic delivery, Gambhir was dropped at gully off Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Then the slip fieldmans ran back and returned a direct hit at the striker's stumps, catching Dravid short of the crease while the batsman was trying to steal a single. Dravid was on his way for 5 and India were in trouble at 28/2.

In the following over, Gambhir endeavoured to offset some of the pressure by whipping Steyn away for two boundaries - one, an upper-cut over the slips, and the other, a edge past third slip. Gambhir and Tendulkar then took India to tea with the score at 49/2 in 16 overs.

At the start of Day 2, Harbhajan Singh opened the bowling with Ishant Sharma, but the spin-pace combination did little to unsettle Jacques Kallis, who was resuming at 81 not out, and Ashwell Prince, who was on 28.

In Harbhajan's second over of the day, Prince attacked him, smacking one four through extra-cover and two balls later, another boundary to cover-point. Kallis followed suit in the next over, striking Ishant for a four past mid-off. In the same over, Kallis ran three off Ishant to bring up South Africa's 250 in 78 overs.

Prince struck one more four before he was clean bowled by Sreesanth for 47. The fatal ball was an inswinger which sneaked through between bat and pad to crash into the off-stump. In the very next ball, Sreesanth got new batsman Mark Boucher caught behind for a duck. The bowler was suddenly on a hat-trick as the hosts were reeling at 262/6 in 84 overs.

But Kallis who was approaching his century, wouldn't back down. He struck Sreesanth for two consecutive fours in the 86th over as South Africa climbed to 272/6. With Kallis on 99, Zaheer got new batsman Dale Steyn fending at a bouncer which ballooned up to gully where Cheteshwar Pujara took a simple catch.

But the drama was far from over. In the very next over, Morkel got off the mark by slicing Sreesanth over gully for four, before edging another risky boundary to third man. But Sreesanth replied strongly by getting Morkel caught behind off the last ball of the over. The bowler had taken five wickets in the innings as South Africa had slumped to 283/8 in 88 overs.

Then 9th batsman Paul Harris, was able to offer Kallis some support as the batsman turned belligerent towards Ishant, smacking him for two fours in the 93rd over. Two overs later, the batting duo had taken their side to the 300-run mark. But after 10 runs and 3 overs, Ishant got a delivery to bounce toward Harris' ribcage as the batsman tucked the ball straight to Pujara at leg-gully. South Africa were in danger of being bowled out at 310/9.

As Kallis sensed the end of the innings was fast approaching, he cut loose, clubbing Zaheer Khan for two fours in the 100th over. Kallis then went after Ishant, taking 9 runs off him in the 103rd over and retaining the strike. Kallis, with last batsman Lonwabo Tsotsobe, lasted out till lunch, taking the score to 335/9 with the 10th wicket partnership worth 25.

After the break, Tsotsobe gave Kallis most of the strike as the batsman cut loose. He smacked Sreesanth for two consecutive fours in the 107th over, both shots racing away to the cover-point boundary. With those shots, Kallis brought up his 150 as well as South Africa's 350. But 6.5 overs later, Zaheer eventually brought the threatening partnership to an end when he had Kallis caught behind for 161. South Africa had made 362 all out when at one stage it looked like all 11 batsmen would have been back in the pavilion for under 300.

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