Could India make another comeback? That was the question doing the rounds after the Durban drubbing. India answered it in a resounding "yes" as they notched up a thrilling one-run win from a hopeless situation on Saturday.
With just 190 runs to defend, India looked down and out but an inspiring performance from the bowlers saw them clinching a nerve wracking win. It looked all but over for India with South Africa, at one stage, cruising along at 152 for 4, with Graeme Smith spearheading the chase. But once Smith inside-edged Munaf Patel delivery on to his stumps, Zaheer Khan picked up two quick wickets to ignite Indian hopes.With one more wicket falling to a run out and Munaf Patel picking up the ninth wicket, the drama went down to the last man. With just two runs to win, Wayne Parnell was caught at point by Yuvraj Singh to give India an incredible win.
As Indian players rolled all over the ground celebrating the win, South Africa and the packed stadium were shell shocked, finding it hard to believe what had transpired in front of their eyes. Earlier, however, the Indian batsmen let the team down. On a wicket that had little lateral movement, just a hint of swing with the new ball, not much turn for spinners, maybe slightly uneven bounce, they put up yet another sorry performance, managing just 190 runs before being bowled out.
Just a day before on Friday, M.S. Dhoni had urged batsmen to play with a positive intent. He took pains to drive home the point that how important it’s to always look for runs even as one needed to be selective with his shots. On Saturday, however, it was the positive intent that was missing the most from Indian batting. The batsmen appeared to have confused it with surviving intent, and almost each one of them went about the job without having a look at the crawling run rate.
As if Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were not enough trouble, they have found themselves a new tormentor in Lonwabo Tsotsobe. They didn’t appear to have any answer to his regular angled-across-the-right-handers and angled-in stuff to the left-handers.