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Line, length, variation: How the bowlers made South Africa pay

Gary Kirsten admitted that South Africa's post-tea collapse had "exceeded his expectations." There was hardly any movement for the medium-pacers and only slow turn for the spinners. Still, it was advantage India at stumps, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2010 23:40 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Gary Kirsten admitted that South Africa's post-tea collapse had "exceeded his expectations." There was hardly any movement for the medium-pacers and only slow turn for the spinners. Still, it was advantage India at stumps. Take a look at how that happened:

Zaheer Khan

(spells: 7-1-36-1, 3-0-7-0, 4-0-23-0, 6-3-11-2, 1-1-0-0)

Not the best of first spells, when he failed to make the batsmen play as often as he would have liked. His line was inconsistent and there were too many balls on the pads with a packed off side field. He tried bowling around the wicket with little effect and was warned for running onto the danger area when he was back bowling over the wicket.

He became steadier later and stuck to an around-off line, the ball being consistently angled across the right-handers. There was a hint of inward movement after tea and he looked incisive when he went around the wicket a second time. He didn't get the gap between bat and pad, nor did he get an lbw, but did his job by applying pressure.

Ishant Sharma

(spells: 6-0-28-0, 2-0-12-0, 4-1-12-0, 5-2-4-1)

Came back well after an indifferent opening spell, when he strayed in direction and bowled loose balls . There was little new-ball movement and his special one that kicks off a good length was not seen.

He got his act right at a crucial time with the short-pitched staff in his third spell. He was quick and made Amla duck and weave in his 10th over. He also got the odd one to straighten after angling it in to the right-hander. Kept up the pressure despite getting just one wicket, which proved important in the end.

Amit Mishra

(spells: 4-1-19-0, 6-0-22-0, 7-1-24-0, 3-1-3-1)

Started impressively by giving the ball air but undid the good job by dropping it short every now and then. A sweeper cover had to be employed and the forward short-leg removed in the first spell itself, which proved that the captain had to be defensive with him at a time when the team had to attack.

The problem with length wasn't sorted out in the subsequent spells either, and he was too slow through the air with little variation to plant doubts in the batsman's mind. He was so slow off the pitch that the batsmen at times played him on the back foot against the spin. Also, he didn't consistently bowl to the five-four off side field.

Harbhajan Singh

(spells: 11-0-39-0, 12-2-21-3)

Undoubtedly, turned the match on its head despite bowling below his best. He started with a defensive mindset and didn't try to make the batsmen drive against the spin, which could have been a good ploy on a wicket offering little help. Gave the ball air only to be back bowling flat as soon as the batsmen stepped out.

The decision to go around the wicket against left-handers an over after he induced Kallis into a fatal sweep was the turning point of the day.

Despite not getting the ball to turn across the face of the bat, he won consecutive lbw shouts against Prince and Duminy, who were deceived in flight and misread the line.