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SA frustrate India in their 2nd essay

cricket Updated: Mar 29, 2008 22:18 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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As expected after the wicket's behaviour on the first two days, the first Test of the Future Cup is heading towards a dull draw.

At stumps on the penultimate day, South Africa were leading by 44 runs, with nine wickets in hand. And with just a day left, unless we see a magical spell by one of the two Indian spinners there is no way India can bowl the Proteas and then chase the required target.

After Graeme Smith gave them a breezy start, stars of the first innings, Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla, put on an unbeaten 78-run stand for the second wicket. While McKenzie was batting on 59, Amla had garnered 35 runs when the bails were drawn.

On the other hand, the visitors also don't have enough time to put a defendable target and then bowl India out. So as of now, it seems to be a draw.

Despite the dullness of state of the match, records tumbled on the fourth day. While Virender Sehwag became the highest run-getter in an innings for India in the very first over of the day, Rahul Dravid celebrated the feat of joining the 10,000 club in Tests by scoring his 25th Test ton.

Dravid was one short of a century when the post-lunch session commenced. And he straight drove the third ball of the session, bowled by Makhaya Ntini, to the mid-on fence to raise his bat. Dravid faced 272 balls to reach his century – 14 of which were dispatched to the fence. Shortly after, he helped India register their highest score at the MA Chidambaram stadium, surpassing the previous highest of 566 forsix declared, against Sri Lanka in 1982-83.

However, Ntini – who had earlier in the day got the prize scalps of Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar – had the last laugh. In the sixth over of the session, Ntini enticed Dravid into a drive and the edge flew straight into Jacques Kallis' palms at widish first slip.

For South Africa, Dale Steyn came out charging in the post-lunch session with a magic spell that polished off India's lower half of the batting order. The spell read 8-1-14-4.

Riding on his spell, the Proteas were able to restrict India, who started the day at 468 for one, to 627. Once India could manage a lead of only 87 runs, it was clear that the game would be heading towards a draw.

In the morning, the stands of the MA Chidambaram stadium were filled in anticipation of Virender Sehwag's record spree. However, Sehwag, who was not out on 309 at close on day three, managed to add just 10 runs to his overnight score before edging Makhaya Ntini to Neil McKenzie at first slip in the sixth over of the day.

Sehwag, who became the highest run-getter in an innings for India in the first over of the day, pulled Ntini to the midwicket boundary in the sixth over. However, the very next ball he edged to McKenzie.

And nine minutes hence, the packed stadium was stunned in silence with the dismissal of Tendulkar. The champion batsman failed to open his account before offering a simple catch to Jacques Kallis at second slip off Ntini.