SA post challenging total of 289/9

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Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011, 21:30 [IST]
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SA post challenging total of 289/9

South Africa appeared to be coasting to a total above 300, but some sharp work from the part-time bowlers helped peg back the hosts to 289/9. Earlier, J P Duminy and A B de Villiers threatened to take the match away from the tourists, but their timely dismissals brought India back into the game.

Having reached 129/3 in 25 overs, South African batsmen A B de Villiers, not out on 30 and J P Duminy, unbeaten on 26, stepped on the gas. In the 26th over, the batting duo scampered three singles of Harbhajan Singh before de Villiers carted him for a huge six.

In the 27th over, Duminy got into the act, smashing Yuvraj Singh for a six over midwicket. In the next over, the batsmen took 8 runs off Munaf to take South Africa past 150. The fours just kept coming as the runs were flowing freely and de Villiers reached a speedy fifty with a single of Bhajji in the 30th over. South Africa climbed to 179/3 in 31 overs.

Ashsih Nehra who had been hammered earlier in the innings came in for some more tap. De Villiers smashed him for three consecutive fours in the 32nd over as the game had clearly slipped away from India's control. The hosts surged to 200 in 33.1 overs as Duminy reached his 50.

With India desperate for a breakthrough, captain M S Dhoni brought on Rohit Sharma to bowl his off-spinners. The move worked as in just his second ball,. De Villiers picked out Harbhajan at deep midwicket. The batsman was out for 76 off 69 and the hosts were 214/4 in 35.2 overs, with David Miller the new batsman. In the 39th over, India pegged by South Africa further when Raina bowled Miller for 9 off 11 balls.

The hosts were 226/5 as Johan Botha walked out to the middle. But there was more trouble in store when Sharma got Duminy lbw for 73 as South Africa had slumped to 244/6 in 42 overs.

The Proteas moved to 250/6 by the end of the 43rd over. In the 47th over, Bhajjji bowled Botha for 23 off 27, reducing the hosts to 266/7. Zaheer then removed Dale Steyn for 7 with a shorter one that he pulled to mid-on. With South Africa at 285/8, Zaheer got in the perfect yorker to dismiss Morne Morkel for a duck as the hosts innings wrapped up for 289/9.

Winning the toss and opting to bat first, South Africa began their innings on an aggressive note. Openers Hashim Amla and Smith smashed Ashish Nehra for three boundaries in the 2nd over. But after some strong supprt from Zaheer Khan at the other end, Nehra came back to get Graeme Smith out for 11 off 15 balls, when he had the batsman caught at slip off a top-edge. South Africa were 21/1 in 3.5 overs.

But Amla was intent on keeping the momentum going. He struck Nehra for three back-to-back boundaries - one a pull through midwicket, and other two, drives through the covers. Amla then scampered three to take the run-tally in the over to 15. Then after Zaheer finished an untidy 7th over, Munaf Patel bowled a maiden straight up leaving South Africa at 52/1 after 8.

Immediately after Ingram and Amla brought up the 50 partnership, Ingram was caught by Nehra at mid off off Patel. The batsman was on his way for 5 off 23 balls and the Indians were back in the game at 72/2 in 12 overs. Then just a couple of overs later, Patel got the prize wicket of Amla, who went for the big one over long on, but succeeded in just finding the hands of Harbhajan Singh. Amla was out for 50 off 36 balls and South Africa were 82/3 in 13.3 overs.

Then the bowlers began to tie down the two new batsmen - de Villiers and J P Duminy. South Africa sneaked to 100/3 in 18.5 overs and to 129/3 in 25 overs.

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