Sunday 30 March 2008 

Neil McKenzie Hits Century As First Test Is Drawn


South Africa 540 (Harbhajan Singh 5-164) & 331-5 (McKenzie 155no)
India 627 (Sehwag 319, Dravid 111, Jaffer 73) in Chennai

Match drawn; series remains level at 0-0 with two to play

Neil McKenzie hit an unbeaten century on the final day in Chennai as the first Test between India and South Africa was drawn. McKenzie closed unbeaten on 155 as South Africa scored 331 for five in their second innings, making no attempt to push on and make a game of it, instead keeping the series level ahead of the final two Tests.

South Africa began in positive fashion, as Hashim Amla reached his half century and brought up a 100 partnership with McKenzie, who narrowly missed out on a century in the first innings, hitting 94 whereas Amla had hit 159.

Amla was given a huge let off when he was on 55 when he mistimed a sweep shot off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh but Shanthakumaran Sreesanth at long leg spilled a very simple chance.

After the first drinks break of the day, the Indians appeared to be far more vocal, wicket keeper MS Dhoni in particular doing his best to lift his teams spirits. There was also a slight change in approach as they set a predominantly off side field to try and tempt the in form South African batsmen into playing an uppish drive.

It didn't pay immediate dividends but Amla moved to 75 before he presented India with another chance, when he drove the ball straight back to RP Singh. However, Singh was unable to complete the return catch and Amla continued on his way and he looked odds on to record a second century in the game.

It was not to be as shortly before lunch, he edged Anil Kumble straight to Rahul Dravid at slip for 81. Amla's wicket ended a partnership of 157 with McKenzie and South Africa went to lunch on 212 for two.

McKenzie, who has made the most of his recall to the side, brought up his fourth Test century in the second over after lunch when he hit a delicately timed late cute for four off the bowling of Kumble.

It had taken him 198 balls, and the shot also moved him past 2500 runs in Tests. South Africa continued their solid progress after lunch as Kallis and McKenzie brought up their 50 partnership off 109 balls before Kallis was brilliantly caught at square leg by a diving RP Singh off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh for 19, ending the third wicket partnership worth 54 runs.

Ashwell Prince (5) followed Kallis back to the pavilion two overs later when he fended a delivery from Harbhajan straight to Wasim Jaffer at short leg to give Harbhajan his third wicket of the innings and AB de Villiers (11) fell shortly after tea when he fended a ball straight to Ganguly at short leg to give Sehwag his first wicket, and leave South Africa 306 for five.

McKenzie then worked a ball from Sehwag to square leg to bring up his 150 just three weeks after scoring 226 against Bangladesh.

A few overs later, both sides shook hands and the match was declared a draw, the two teams will now go to Ahmedabad where the second Test gets underway on Thursday.

India replied to South Africa's first innings of 540 with 627 as Sehwag scored 319, the highest score ever recorded in India.

� Cricket World 2008