India Set Up Decider In Cape Town With 87-Run Win
India 205 (Steyn 6-50) & 228 (Laxman 96) beat
South Africa 131 & 215 by 87 runs
Second Test, Durban, day four
India have made a sensational comeback with a series-levelling win by 87 runs as they picked up the last seven Proteas wickets on the fourth day of the second Test match in Durban.
Paceman Ishant Sharma found the outside edge of Morne Morkel (20) and ended a tenth-wicket partnership of 33 with Ashwell Prince, which threatened for a while as India leaked runs with victory in sight.
Morkel had pushed at one outside off stump to second slip to Virender Sehwag only to find umpire’s signal of no ball off Ishant Sharma, which has been a problem all his career.
Paul Harris (7) helped with a 27-run partnership with left-handed Ashwell Prince (39 not out), who was manoeuvring the strike well. Harris was dismissed by a Zaheer Khan beauty which straightened up and hit the top of the off stump, operating around the wicket.
Zaheer and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth picked up three scalps each as they made the difference with the ball in the second innings, ably aided by spinner Harbhajan Singh. Zaheer took six wickets for the match as he bowled with skill and guile to lead the Indian attack with aplomb.
Cheteshwar Pujara, fielding at forward short leg, hit the stumps direct, as a reflex to run out tail-ender Lonwabo Tsotsobe and South Africans were knocked over for 215, giving the hosts their third straight loss in Durban.
This impressive victory sets up India in search of a series triumph at Cape Town from 2nd January and retains their number one ranking in the Test arena.
VVS Laxman, who made 96 and 38 respectively top scored for India in both the innings to earn the man of the match award, was the key to the target India posted for the Proteas to achieve - 303.
The morning session yielded four scalps in 32 overs as South Africa batsman could not score more than three runs on over while after lunch, India took the three more they needed to seal the win.
Harbhajan Singh was introduced into the attack just before lunch to break the union of Ashwell Prince (28) and Paul Harris (7) and South Africa stood at 182 for 7 at lunch.
The day started off with Sreesanth bowling an exceptional spell and he got rid of overnight batsman Jacques Kallis (17) off a well directed bouncer caught at gully by Sehwag.
The Indian bowlers bowled to a nagging line and length as they continued to build pressure on the Proteas batsman not allowing them easy runs. The decision review system is not being used in the series and that meant two decisions went against AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher.
The hawk eye disavowed the umpires’ decision as the ball did not straighten enough to clip the stumps to an in dipper from Zaheer to the South African wicket keeper Mark Boucher.
While Harbhajan’s bounce was taking the ball well over the middle stump after the impact on de Villiers pads as umpire Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka gave him the marching orders.
Laxman's 96 had enabled India to reach 228 in their second innings on day three, which closed with South Africa on 111 for three.
18 wickets tumbled on the second day, which saw South Africa dismissed for 131 in reply to India's 205 after 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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