Amla Epic In Vain As India Level Series With Victory
India 643-6 dec. (Sehwag 165, Laxman 143no) beat
South Africa 296 & 289 (Amla 123 no) by an innings & 57 runs
Second Test, Kolkata
Hashim Amla played one of the great rearguard innings but ended up on the losing side as India pulled out all the stops to beat South Africa by an innings and 57 runs with a little under 15 minutes of the second and final Test in Kolkata remaining.
Amla was unbeaten on 123 having faced 394 balls when Morne Morkel was trapped in front by Harbhajan Singh, who completed a five-wicket haul, as India levelled the series 1-1 and retained their number one Test ranking.
South Africa began the day on 115 for three and missing Zaheer Khan through injury, India were again relying on spinners Harbhajan and Amit Mishra, as well as Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar late on, to do the bulk of the work, although pacer Ishant Sharma played his part with the dismisals of Wayne Parnell (24) and Paul Harris (4).
Before that, Mishra and Harbhajan ripped out the heart of South Africa's batting line-up by having AB de Villiers (3) and JP Duminy (6) trapped in front and Harbhajan followed up the dismissal of Duminy by also trapping in front Dale Steyn (1). The off-spinner also had Ashwell Prince caught by Sharma for 23 early in the day.
Parnell and Harris gave Amla solid support, but none were as dogged as Morkel, who made 12 in 60 balls, the latter figure by far the more important as South Africa desperately tried to bat out time.
Amla, a model of resolute and technically correct defence, never looked like getting out, having faced more than 1000 balls in the series and having only been dismissed once and it was Morkel who was undone, trapped in front by Harbhajan, who finished with five for 59.
South Africa, who were bowled out for 296 in their first innings, had been dismissed for 290 second time round after four Indians scored centuries in their score of 643 for six declared.
In the end, South Africa could not manage what England had done to them twice in a recent home series and the series just goes to show how closely matched the top sides in the world are, given an innings defeat apiece in India.
© Cricket World 2010