Bowlers Continue To Hold Sway In Durban
India 205 (Laxman 38, Steyn 6-50) & 92-4
South Africa 131 (Harbhajan Singh 4-10)
Second Test, Durban, day two
South Africa took four Indian top order wickets to put the match at an intriguing stage as India were 92 for four, when bad light stopped play on day two of the second Test at Durban. India now lead by 166 runs with six wickets in hand.
The second day witnessed 18 wickets falling as a result of some exceptional fast bowling from both sides complemented by stunning catches, as the pitch offered pace.
Rahul Dravid grabbed his 200th catch when he held on to a sharp chance offered by Dale Steyn towards his left. He became the first non-wicket-keeper in Test match history to take 200 catches in his 149th Test.
Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay gave the Indians a brisk start, but Sehwag departed after a cameo of 32 off 31 balls off Lonwabo Tsotsobe, while Vijay (9) failed to deal with a ripper of a ball which climbed big on him and was caught by Hashim Amla at forward short leg.
Sachin Tendulkar (6) was removed by Dale Steyn’s first ball of a new spell which stopped on him as he hit an uppish drive towards AB De Villiers at gully.
Rahul Dravid (2) chased a wide delivery from Tsotsobe outside off stump to give Mark Boucher his second catch behind the stumps. Tsotsobe bowled with guile and worked different angles coming from the round the wicket. VVS Laxman’s confidence rubbed off on Pujara as they got together for an unbroken partnership of 36 runs, before the side was reduced to 56 for four.
India will look to set a score in excess of 250 for South Africa, which will be herculean task, given the coarse grass of Durban track which will aid the Indian tweakers.
India had earlier bounced back in dramatic fashion dismissing South Africa for 131, earning an important lead of 74 runs on the back of Zaheer Khan's initial two wickets, and Harbhajan Singh’s four wickets, just before tea.
India accounted for six wickets in a session that produced 57 runs and they bowled with a disciplined line and length, with off-spinner Harbhajan ending with figures of four for 10 in a little less than eight overs.
It all started with a lucky run out, when South African mainstay Jacques Kallis was found short of his crease, backing up too far, as the straight drive by Amla kissed Ishant Sharma’s hand and hit the stumps.
Earlier, a strike by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth just before lunch helped India fight back to reduce South Africa to 74 for four.
The top scorer was Amla with 33 runs as South Africans found it difficult to stitch partnerships together after Indiawere dismissed for just 205 inside the first hour thanks to two wickets each for Morne Morkel and Steyn, the latter claiming six for 50.
Fast bowler Zaheer removed Graeme Smith (9) and Alviro Petersen (24). The wayward Sreesanth then finally managed a good ball that forced de Villiers (0) into an edge.
All that excitement came after the Proteas had looked well on top following a fine opening in which they claimed the last four wickets for just 22 runs in 9.1 overs.
Resuming on their overnight 183 for six, India were aiming to reach at least 250, but were given little chance thanks to another outstanding display from the South Africa attack.
Steyn completed his 15th career five-wicket haul in the fifth over of the day when Harbhajan (21) was caught by de Villiers, who threw himself to his right at third slip. Zaheer (0) then handed Morkel his first wicket through a regulation catch for Mark Boucher as the hosts moved quickly through the tail.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni counter attacked as he tried to stem the flow of wickets and took his side past 200 by clubbing Steyn for six over long-on. But his changed approach led to his downfall for 35 as he was soon caught in the deep by Petersen again trying to hit out at Steyn.
India had closed a rain-interrupted opening day on 183 for six while South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0 after an innings victory in the opener at Centurion Park.
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