Rahul Dravid's paddle sweep to the fine leg fence off Paul Harris sealed India's victory on a day that was largely dominated by their bowlers. While credit is due to the bowlers, led by Harbhajan Singh, it was India's batting in the first hour that sealed the match.
The architects of the morning session were Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma — not a fancy combination with the bat.
Unlike the South African batsmen, who never made an attempt to break the shackles, Ishant and Sreesanth made every attempt to score runs and were fortunate as the edges flew past the slip cordon on several occasions.
But what was important was they took India's score from 288 to 325, which gave them a
crucial 60-run lead.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who ended up on a winning note in his maiden Test appearance as captain, heaped praise on the two. “The manner in which they applied themselves was very encouraging,” the skipper said after the match. “It gave us a lead of more than 50 runs, which turned out to be very crucial in the end.”
Despite the loss, captain Graeme Smith was proud of his team's achievements in the sub-continent in the last six months. Complementing the effort of India's last pair that added 46 runs, the second-highest Indian last wicket stand against South Africa, he said
“Once India got the lead, it was always going to be difficult for us to make a comeback.”
“The wicket deteriorated quite a lot today and the last wicket partnership was pretty frustrating. The lead probably was crucial."