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India Gain Series Lead By Clinching Two-Wicket Win

India Gain Series Lead By Clinching Two-Wicket Win
India Gain Series Lead By Clinching Two-Wicket Win
©REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

India 223-8 (Pathan 59, Morkel 3-27) beat
South Africa 220 (du Plessis 60) by two wickets
Third One-Day International, Cape Town

Yusuf Pathan blasted 59 in 50 balls and Zaheer Khan picked up three wickets to underpin India's two-wicket victory over South Africa in the third One-Day International in Cape Town.

South Africa were bowled out for 220 after winning the toss but despite chasing under lights at Newlands being anything but easy, India got home with ten balls to spare.

The Indian new-ball seamers bowled exceedingly well and rarely allowed anything loose for the Proteas batsman to capitalise on. Left-armer Khan was the pick of the bowlers with three for 43 in his spell, while ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh bowled with guile, loop and variation to end with two for 23 in his nine overs. Medium pacer Munaf Patel grabbed two scalps with his miserly bowling.

South Africa replaced David Miller with all-rounder Francois du Plessis, who celebrated his debut with composed 60; falling to Patel in a bid to accelerate the scoring, caught by Virat Kohli in the covers. India played hard-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan as batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar has returned home nursing an injury.

The Proteas lost in-form opener Hashim Amla (16) when he was comprehensively bowled by Zaheer, coming around the wicket. In no time, first-slip fieldsman Kohli held on to a difficult chance to dismiss Colin Ingram (10) off Harbhajan as South Africa lost their second wicket with 49 on the board in the 14th over.

Smith (43) played the sheet anchor role, before playing a rank bad shot to Harbhajan to give Kohli his second catch in the first slip.

After a resurrection process by JP Duminy (52) and du Plessis, with a partnership of 110 runs for the fifth wicket, South Africa were decently placed at 200 for four.

South Africa took the third power play in the 45th over and it proved to be disappointing as they lost five wickets with bounce becoming lower with every progressing over. Lower-order batsmen Johan Botha (9) and Wayne Parnell (5) failed to give South Africa the required impetus in the death overs.

India were then almost immediately pegged back when Dale Steyn produced an outstanding catch off his own bowling to dismiss Murali Vijay for one.

Makeshift opener Rohit Sharma made 23 and Virat Kohli 28 to rebuild the innings before Sharma was bowled by Morne Morkel and Kohli was caught by AB de Villiers off the same bowler.

Off-spinners JP Duminy and Johan Botha then dismissed Yuvraj Singh (16) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5) to leave India in trouble but the match continued to swing this way and that as Suresh Raina hit a crucial 37, building a key partnership with Pathan.

The all-rounder hammered six fours and three sixes but his dismissal with the score of 182 came when he was caught by Morkel off Steyn.

India hit back once again, however, and decisively with a couple of Harhajan maximums putting them on th cusp of victory and despite the dismissal of Khan for 14, Harbhajan's unbeaten 24 and Ashish Nehra's five saw them home.

They now lead the five-match series 2-1 and the fourth match is in Port Elizabeth on 21st January.

© Cricket World 2011