Resistant India force draw

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Published: Friday, January 7, 2011, 8:57 [IST]
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Resistant India force draw

In the last session of play in the third and final Test match against South Africa, at Cape Town, India continued to bat very slowly, firmly setting their sights on a draw. Although Gautam Gambhir was caught down the leg side for 64, VVS Laxman made a reliable pair with Sachin Tendulkar and they guided India through attacking fields and hostile spells to remain unbeaten at stumps on Day 5.

India resumed after tea with the score at 114/2. Gambhir was not out on 62 and Tendulkar, unbeaten on 7. The boundaries had all but dried up as the batsmen mainly looked just to defend. However, in the 6th over after the break, Gambhir managed to glove a leg-side delivery from Dale Steyn through to the keeper and was on his way for a well-made 64, with India at 120/3.

When the new batsman VVS Laxman was at the crease, he aggressivelky pushed for a few singles and twos to settle in, but after an over or so, began just fending off the bowlers. However, in the 71st over, he did hit Morne Morkel for a boundary to fine leg. And in the 75th, he attacked Lonwabo Tsotsobe, striking him for two fours in the over, to take India over 150.

Harris kept pummeling away at Tendulkar with captain Graeme Smith placing as many as 7 fielders around the bat to try and intimidate Tendulkar. But he stood as firm as a rock and pulled through without much trouble.

16 runs and 7 overs later, both teams decided to call off the game snd the match was declared a draw. Indias ended the day on 166/3 with Tendulakr not out on 14 and Laxman, unbeaten on 32. In reflection of his pivotal knock in the match, Jacques Kallis said, "The team was in trouble in the second innings. Fortunately, Boucher and I had a partnership going. The lower order too contributed. I just tried to apply the pressure back on the bowler (reverse sweeps). fortunately it came off, on another day, you could have got a top edge and look an idiot! Given the situation of the game, the second-innings hundred is up there with the best."

Meanwhile, Indian captain M S Dhoni was glad to have pullled of a drawn series for the first time ever in South Africa, saying, ""It was an interesting series. We are quite used to coming from behind; we never do well in the first Test. The bowlers did the job. Here too they tried their best but we couldn't take the last few wickets. If you look at the Kookaburra ball, it becomes difficult with the old ball. Our bowlers are skill bowlers - not pace. Kallis proved difficult to get out"

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.


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