India crawl to 114/2 at Tea

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Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011, 18:50 [IST]
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India crawl to 114/2 at Tea

India continued their quest for a draw in the second session of play on the final day of the deciding third Test against South Africa. The visitors crawled into tea at 114/2 in 56 overs. Gambhir was not out on 62 and Tendulkar was keeping him company, with 7.

After lunch, it seemed like Gautam Gambhir, unbeaten on 32 and Rahul Dravid, on 8, were keen to go on the offensive for a while, perhaps to offset the mounting pressure. Captain Graeme Smith came on for a bowl when Gambhir smacked him to mid-off for a boundary. Two overs later, Dravid carved Smith past point for another four.Then Gambhir dispatched Dale Steyn to the mid-off boundary. The left-hander took two more fours of Steyn in subsequent overs to reach his third fifty of the series.

The batting duo took full advantage of Smith's ineffective bowling again in the 43rd over. Dravid carved two fours past cover while Gambhir whipped Smith to the mid-on boundary. In the 45th over, Gambhir ran a double off Lonwabo Tsotsobe to bring up India's 100. In the 49th over, Dravid got dismissed by Tsotsobe after edging a delivery to slips. He was on his way for a watchful 31 and India had slipped to 106/2 as Tendulkar joined Gambhir out in the middle.

Though Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were generally cautious as they kicked off India's second innings, the latter smacked Morne Morkel for a four in the 2nd over.

Sehwag was uncharacteristically circumspect, perhaps towards the desired end of preserving his wicket in a hitherto ordinary tour for him. He did strike Dale Steyn for a boundary in the 7th over, though.Then in the 10th over, he unleashed a slice shot which just slipped through the hands of a leaping J P Duminy at deep point and ran away to the boundary.

But the batsman ran out of luck in the next over when Morkel had him caught by captain Graeme Smith in the slips. Sehwag's miserable tour came to an equally pitiful end as he departed for 11. Then, Rahul Dravid who has averaged a shade over 17 in this series, came to the crease. He and Gambhir just bided their time as off-spinner Paul Harris came into bowl with a forward short leg in tow.

Gambhir broke the boundary-drought with a four of Harris in the 26th over to take India past 50. Then a couple of overs later, India went into lunch with the score at 53/1 in 28 overs. Gambhir was batting on 28 and Dravid was not out on 8. India appears likely to keep up their caution after the break as well, while South Africa will be hungry for wickets.


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