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D-day: De Villiers, Duminy dominate

cricket Updated: Jan 13, 2011 00:35 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Ashish Nehra would be wondering what went wrong this time around? It's after all the same venue where he bowled his most memorable spell in the 2003 World Cup. On that eventful night almost eight years back, he didn't put a foot wrong against England.

On Wednesday, however, nothing went right for him. From the very first ball that was driven to cover boundary by Hashim Amla, the bowler couldn't find his rhythm and ended up going for over 10 runs an over in six overs.

With Nehra proving expensive, South Africa cantered to a daunting total of 289. The hosts, at one stage, looked set to go beyond 300, but thanks to some poor shots and quick wickets from part-time spinners, India managed to hold back the hosts in the final overs.

South Africa were going great guns when AB de Villiers and JP Duminy brought up 200 in the 33rd over. The frontline bowlers had failed to control them, and both of them were looking dangerous.

India desperately needed to break the partnership, and they got the breakthrough from the unlikeliest quarters when Rohit Sharma had De Villiers caught at deep midwicket. The duo stitched together a vital partnership of 131 runs for the fourth wicket, something the hosts needed desperately after they had lost three wickets for 83.

The duo showed runs could be scored without taking unnecessary risks. Instead of going for big shots early on, which Graeme Smith tried unsuccessfully, they took their time to settle down, soaked in the pressure applied by the spinners, rotated the strike with sharp singles, and yet kept the scoreboard moving at a brisk pace.