By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 22, 2013
South Africa have gone into lunch on Day Five of the first Test against India at 236 for four. Chasing 458 to win the game, South Africa resumed on their overnight score of 138 for two. While the runs flowed during the morning session, they did lose two wickets. With two sessions to go, they need 222 runs to win.
Mohammed Shami started the day for India and was getting good shape away from Alviro Petersen. It was quite interesting that Ishant Sharma started from the other end instead of Zaheer Khan. Early on, there was bounce and movement on offer. There was a bit of inconsistent bounce as well, but Petersen and Faf du Plessis seemed to be in control.
Shami kept troubling the batsmen with his persistent lines on the off-stump. Petersen was the first to be dismissed when he tentatively poked at a delivery outside the off-stump and dragged it back onto his stumps. Enter Jacques Kallis and he started off fluently. There was a scare off the first ball as a full delivery hit his pads, but was going down the leg side. It was quite reminiscent of his dismissal in the first innings.
Kallis was then ready to punish anything full. Give him a bit of width and he would drive through the off-side with all grace and timing. Essaying such strokes at regular intervals, he sped away to 34 and was looking good for a lot more. However, Zaheer came from round the wicket and hit his pads. The umpire ruled it leg-before although replays did show that there was a big inside-edge. A disappointed Kallis walked back to the pavilion. Before this innings, he had averaged only 16 in 2013 and here was one occasion where he got a very good start.
Nevertheless, Zaheer had reached a milestone as he celebrated his 300th Test wicket. The Indian dressing room stood up to applaud his magnificent effort.
AB de Villiers entered the picture and joined du Plessis. In tandem, they took South Africa past 200 and moved along well by rotating strike and hitting the occasional boundaries.
The next two sessions can be action packed as South Africa would certainly give it everything. If these two stay on till tea, things can get very interesting.
India 280 (Virat Kohli 119, Ajinkya Rahane 47; Vernon Philander 4 for 61, Morne Morkel 3 for 34) and 421 (Cheteshwar Pujara 153, Virat Kohli 96; Vernon Philander 3 for 68, Jacques Kallis 3 for 68, JP Duminy 2 for 87) lead South Africa 244 (Graeme Smith 68, Vernon Philander 59; Zaheer Khan 4 for 88, Ishant Sharma 4 for 79, Mohammed Shami 2 for 48) and 236 for 4 (Alviro Petersen 76, Graeme Smith 44, Faf du Plessis 42; Zaheer Khan 1 for 61, Mohammed Shami 2 for 58) by 221 runs.
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