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SA on the back foot at lunch on Day 4

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Published: Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 16:26 [IST]
 
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SA on the back foot at lunch on Day 4

India had South Africa on the ropes at lunch on Day 4 with the Proteas reeling at 121/5 in 44 overs. Harbhajan Singh began the destruction first thing in the morning, getting the wickets of Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla in quick succession before Zaheer Khan struck to remove the dangerous A B de Villiers. But Kallis was holding fort on an unbeaten 33 with able support from Ashwell Prince who had toted up 15 not out.

On the morning of Day 4 of the third Test against South Africa, the Indian bowlers were right on the money as the hosts resumed on their overnight score of 52/2 with Petersen batting on 22 and Amla on 2. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh appeared to have pick up his destructive vibe from whence he had left off. In just the second over of the day, he trapped Petersen plumb in front for the same scored he had notched up the previous evening.

Then new batsman Jacques Kallis, who was nursing a sore chest (from being struck by a Sreeshanth delivery in the previous innings), counter-attacked. He hit a four off the same man that ahd hurt him and then reverse swept Bhajji for another boundary. But later in the over, Bhajji came into his own when he bowled Amla for 2. The tweaker was extracting prodigous turn from a crumbling wicket, reducing the hosts to 64/4 in 20 overs.

Kallis and the man that had replaced Amla at the crease, A B de Villiers, pressed ahead. In
subsequent overs, Kallis struck a four off Bhajji and de Villiers hammered Zaheer for a boundary, but they mostly just pushed for singles and twos. But at the start of the 37th over, Zaheer struck when he got a length ball to turn into de Villiers who in trying to leave it, played it back onto his stumps. South Africa had slumped to 98/5 as India sensed a middle-order collapse was on the cards.

However, India's nemesis of the first innings - Kallis - stood his ground and with No. 6 batsman Ashwell Prince, began to build a threatening partnership. The two took South Africa into lunch with the score at 121/5 and the partnership worth 23. Will the two stage a recovery after the break or willl India bring about a latter order collapse and wrap up the hosts' second innings?

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