Second Test tantalisingly poised after third day's play
The low scoring second cricket Test is tantalisingly poised after the third day's play with South Africa needing 192 more runs to win and India also fancying their chances of a remarkable series levelling victory in Durban today.cricket Updated: Dec 28, 2010 23:26 IST
The low scoring second cricket Test is tantalisingly poised after the third day's play with South Africa needing 192 more runs to win and India also fancying their chances of a remarkable series levelling victory in Durban on Tuesday.
Chasing a target of 303 for victory after India scored 228 in their second innings, South Africa were 111 for three when bad light brought an early end to an eventful third day's play which saw VVS Laxman miss his century by just four runs.
After three days of see-saw battle, the game is now heading for a nail biting finish with both teams in a position to tilt the balance in their favour on a Kingsmead track which has shown signs of easing out. With two full days left, India's hopes of levelling the series will largely depend on how well pace spearhead, Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh, the chief wreckers in South Africa's first innings, bowl tomorrow.
The experienced Jacques Kallis (12) and AB de Villiers (17) were at the crease when stumps were drawn on the third day. South Africa's push for taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series will largely depend on this pair.
If the second day's play saw as many as 18 wickets fall, nine wickets tumbled on the third day to set the stage for an engrossing climax.
Laxman's sparkling 96 and his vital 70 run partnership with Zaheer for the eighth wicket was largely responsible for India posting an overall lead of 302.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 92 for four, Cheteshwar Pujara (10) was the first wicket to fall this morning when he failed to negotiate the extra bit of bounce from Morne Morkel and was bowled out. Morne pitched the ball around off stump as Pujara looked to ride it but it bounced higher than he expected and after hitting his bat, trickled onto the stumps.
Captain Dhoni, who joined the action after Pujara's dismissal, eased the pressure as he drove past Morkel for a boundary in the 34th over, before picking up two more fours off Dale Steyn at square leg and backward point in consecutive deliveries.
Laxman also dealt in boundaries as he steered one off Morkel over slips to the fence. But Tsotsobe broke the partnership in the 42nd over, dismissing Dhoni when he induced an edge off the Indian skipper with an out-swinger as India slipped to 141 for six.
Harbhajan Singh also didn't last long and was sent back to the pavilion by Morkel in the first delivery of the 45th over.