Rain stopped play in the post-tea session on day three of the second Test as South Africa reached 299 for five (104.5 overs) versus India at Durban. This was the third time in three days that the weather conditions intervened, as the Proteas were placed only 33 runs behind the visitors’ first innings total of 332.
Jacques Kallis, playing his final Test, was the driving factor for their total, batting on 78 runs off 224 balls with ten fours. Giving him company was night-watchman Dale Steyn, yet to get off the mark.
For India, Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers, picking up four for 87 from 37 overs, with Mohammad Shami (1-62) the only other wicket-taker of the innings. Zaheer Khan (0-46) and Ishant Sharma (0-76) toiled hard, but failed to provide any breakthroughs. Rohit Sharma (0-22) was deployed as well, skipper MS Dhoni perhaps missing a second spinner on this dry pitch.
Kallis (61 not out) and Duminy (13 not out) carried on after the tea-break from 267 for four, looking to go past the Indian total even as Dhoni delayed taking the new ball. Ominous grey clouds were building up behind the Kingsmead stadium as the 50-run partnership came up in the 99th over.
Dhoni persisted with Jadeja and even brought on Rohit, and the break-through finally came. Duminy was trapped LBW by Jadeja, after making 28 runs off 82 balls, with four fours. He had put on 58 runs for the fifth wicket with Kallis who stood tall in his last Test.
Earlier, after the lunch break, Kallis (26 not out) and de Villiers (39 not out) looked set for a big partnership, starting from the 68-run mark. South Africa started at 181 for three as the runs came in quickly. Both batsmen stroked boundaries at will, as the pace bowlers searched for some reverse swing. Zaheer was punished in particular, but de Villiers also aggressive intent against Jadeja, not letting the spinners settle down.
He brought up his half-century in the 62nd over of the innings. It was his 24th fifty in 89 Tests. The 100-run partnership came three overs later, as runs continued to come unabated. In their eagerness to score quickly, South Africa almost lost a wicket, when the two batsmen were involved in a huge mix-up in the 69th over. De Villiers nudged the ball and set off for a run, then stopped, but Kallis kept going. Zaheer failed to hit the stumps, as the first hour after lunch resulted in 55 runs. Jadeja finally broke their partnership, in the 74th over, as a wicket finally came against the run of play. De Villiers prodded forward and was caught at first slip by Virat Kohli. He scored 74 runs off 117 balls, with nine fours.
Duminy was the next man in and saw away the remaining session before tea without any fuss, putting on 27 runs for the fifth wicket. At the other end, with the crowd roaring for him, Kallis brought up his half-century in the 76th over, off 131 balls hitting nine fours. It was his 59th fifty in his 166th and final Test.
In the morning session, Graeme Smith (47 runs, 81 balls, seven fours) and Alviro Petersen (62 runs, 100 balls, eight fours) looked to further increase their opening stand. The latter reached his seventh half-century in 28 Tests, but should have been out in the 24th over, fourth of the morning, even as the third umpire ruled him not out off a very close stumping call.
The 100-run opening stand came in the 27th over, and in the very next, Jadeja, who had been looking to take a wicket, finally struck. Smith went for a big shot over mid-on, but only sent the ball in the air over mid-wicket which Shikhar Dhawan caught stupendously, running backwards. Shami then bowled Hashim Amla (3 runs, 18 balls), out this way for the third time in three innings this series, on the last ball of the 33rd over.
Jacques Kallis came out to bat in his last Test, and the Indian team lined up to salute the legendary all-rounder. At the other end, Jadeja induced an edge off Petersen that Murali Vijay held at first slip.
Afterwards Kallis and new batsman de Villiers tempered the Indian bowling, with the latter playing some attacking strokes to counter Jadeja in particular, bringing up their 50-run partnership just ahead of the lunch break.
On day one, India won the toss and elected to bat first following which the 140-run stand between Vijay and Pujara for the second wicket took them to 181 for one when bad light halted play approximately ninety minutes before stumps. On day two, Dale Steyn took six for 100 to dismiss India for 332 runs, after rain washed out the morning session.
The first Test of the series, played at Johannesburg, was drawn, after a pulsating fifth day, wherein South Africa just stopped eight runs short of a world-record fourth innings’ chase after India had set them a target of 458 runs.
© Cricket World 2013