No Real Final Day Drama As Deciding Test Drawn

No Real Final Day Drama As Deciding Test Drawn
No Real Final Day Drama As Deciding Test Drawn
©REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

South Africa 362 & 341 (Kallis 109no) drew with
India 364 & 166-3 (Gambhir 64)
Third Test, Cape Town, day five

South Africa and India drew the third and final Test in Cape Town, resulting in a 1-1 drawn series as India reached 166 for three before the match was ended early with little chance of either side forcing a positive result.

India, who remain at the top of the ICC Test rankings as a result, had been set 340 to win on the final day.

The 46-run parternship between Sachin Tendulkar (14 not out) and VVS Laxman (32 not out) for the fourth wicket kept the Proteas at bay, after the dismissal of Gautam Gambhir .

South Africa captain Graeme Smith allowed just two overs from the pace combination of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel with the second new ball and immediately shook hands with the Indian batsmen to walk off from the field.

Laxman walked in to bat as Gambhir was caught down the leg side by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher off Steyn for a vigilant 64 consuming 184 balls.

Skipper Smith had an umbrella slip cordon on the leg side for Paul Harris while the right-handed combination of Laxman and Tendulkar were at the crease.

There were a few exciting moments when the ball hit the scuffed up areas and took off from the strip, when Harris operated over the wicket, but he was unable to break through the defences of the Indian batsman in his 30 overs, ending wicketless.

Left-arm pace man Lonwabo Tsotsobe operated from around the wicket with 7-2 field as Laxman caressed him for two boundaries through the covers to bring the150 for India.  

Earlier in the day, India offered dogged resistance, powered by an resolute unbeaten half-century from Gautam Gambhir and were placed at 114 for two when tea was taken on the final day.

The post-lunch session only produced one wicket, with Sachin Tendulkar (7 not out) and Gambhir (62 not out) still at the crease. The runs dried up, with the last seven overs producing just eight runs. India went into tea with a possible 34 overs still to be negotiated and South Africa in search of eight wickets for a victory.

After the combination of Gambhir  and Virender Sehwag had seen off the new ball, India lost opener Sehwag for 11 early in the twelfth over, caught by skipper Graeme Smith off Morne Morkel.

The sun was shining brightly on the final day and there was some movement for the South African fast bowlers in the morning.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn worked up some serious pace but was despatched disdainfully by Gambhir through the square cover region for a boundary, which showed the grit and determination to fight it out.

Paul Harris had a confident shout for a leg before, coming around the wicket to Rahul Dravid, when the ball struck his back leg in front of the stumps, but umpire Ian Gould thought otherwise.

Left-armer Lonwabo Tostsobe struck for South Africa when he enticed Rahul Dravid (31) to poke outside off stump as the bowl took the shoulder of the bat on its way towards Ashwell Prince standing at second slip. However, Dravid importantly occupied the crease for two and half hours.

Smith kept attacking field placings for spinner Harris in a bid to pick up wickets as the Indian batsman played him with authority as Gambhir and Dravid  notched up a crucial 50-run partnership for the second wicket.

Left-handed Gambhir, playing with an injury, brought up his 16th Test half-century with a high-quality punch off the back foot to Dale Steyn through the off side.

Smith rolled his arm over in desperation to get a break through  as he was taken for three boundaries. Rahul Dravid hit consecutive fours off the back foot when he was offered width outside off stump by Smith.

India were pursuing a steep fourth innings target of 340 runs seeking to register a historic series triumph or save the game and series eventually after Kallis, batting with an injured rib, was unbeaten on 109 in South Africa's second innings of 341.

On the opening day, the honours were largely shared as Kallis closed unbeaten on 80 after India won the toss and chose to bowl, reducing South Africa to 232 for four. After South Africa were dismissed for 362 , India replied strongly, reaching 142 for two with Gambhir and Tendulkar leading the charge.

Tendulkar's 51st Test century then guided India to a lead of two before two late wickets ensured the tourists enjoyed the better of the third day.

The series is level at 1-1 after South Africa won the opener at Centurion Park before India hit back in Durban.

© Cricket World 2011