By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Dec 30, 2013
South Africa asserted their supremacy as they beat India by 10 wickets in the second Test at Durban. It was Jacques Kallis’s final Test and they gave him a fantastic sendoff with this victory. Although a lot of time was lost due to bad light and rain, South Africa were driven by some great bowling to help them secure this win to seal the series.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first on a good looking Durban surface. With the sun beating down, he expected his batsmen to come good. Instead of Ravichandran Ashwin, he brought in Ravindra Jadeja. South Africa were bolstered by the news that Morne Morkel had regained fitness to play the game and the only change they made was Robin Peterson coming in for Imran Tahir.
India started their innings well with Shikhar Dhawan looking in good touch. Vijay was resolute and held one end to good effect. There was nothing much in the wicket and whenever the South Africans overpitched, the batsmen drove fluently. Dhawan fell after a promising start, but Cheteshwar Pujara continued from where he left off in Johannesburg.
Pujara and Vijay applied themselves very well and passed their respective fifties. Battling the tough spells, they only attacked when the opportunity presented itself. They finished Day One on 181 for one putting India in total command when bad light intervened. The next though, Steyn was in a different realm.
Bowling with renewed fire, Steyn started off by dismissing Pujara and then ran through the rest of the line-up recording figures of six for 100. Although Kohli and Rahane fought hard, India were ultimately bowled out for 334. Rahane recorded his first Test fifty and Vijay missed his ton by a whisker.
In reply, the South African openers started off very well and saw through the end of Day Two at 82 for no loss. Jadeja was the only one who tested them as he was turning it well through a few rough areas. Early on Day Three, Alviro Petersen completed his half century. However, Jadeja came into the picture soon after snaring both the openers. Hashim Amla too was bowled cheaply by Mohammed Shami.
In walked Kallis to a magnificent reception. The Indians formed a guard of honour as he walked out to the crease. He thanked Dhoni for the gesture and then put his head down to finish the task at hand. Along with de Villiers, he pulled South Africa out of trouble and put them in a good position. Jadeja kept chipping away at the wickets though as he took four out of the five South African wickets to fall on Day Three. Kallis ended the day on 78 not out with Steyn in as the nightwatchman.
The whole Day Four was about Kallis. Every run scored by him was cheered by the crowd. He moved into the 90s with a good cover-drive and the hundred was in sight when he guided a Jadeja delivery through fine-leg for another four. There was nervousness all-round as the countdown had begun.
Kallis was calm though. Or at least he looked composed. He defended a few and then finally got to the mark with an easy single through the leg-side. There were huge celebrations in the dressing room and he raised his bat for the final time in the whites. Steyn and Kallis helped South Africa take the lead and put them in a good spot before both fell in quick succession. Kallis top-edged a sweep off Jadeja to give him his fifth wicket. Steyn was caught behind by Dhoni off Zaheer Khan.
Du Plessis and Robin Peterson then smashed it around to extend South Africa’s lead. Peterson in particular was attacking as he laced the off-side with numerous cover-drives. Peterson sped away to a half-century with du Plessis for support. He smashed a huge six in the most audacious manner. With Rohit Sharma coming from round the wicket, he changed his footing to become a right hander and then smashed it over the covers for a six.
Ultimately, he skied one off Zaheer and Vijay took a catch running from mid-off. That is when the umpires decided to go off the field as the rain got a bit heavier. Tea was taken early and the players returned as the rains eased. Soon after, South Africa lost their three wickets quickly and Jadeja finished with figures of six for 138.
India face a deficit of 166 runs when they started their final innings on Day Four. Vijay fell early as Philander outsmarted him with some good bowling. Dhawan, though, held firm and played 87 deliveries for his 19. His vigil came to an end courtesy a breathtaking catch by du Plessis. Smashing one to mid-wicket, Dhawan was stunned as du Plessis flung himself in the air and held on to the ball as he came crashing down. Kohli and Pujara then saw India off to the end of day’s play at 68.
Off the first ball of Day Five, Kohli was dismissed as the ball left him and was collected by de Villiers. Steyn celebrated, but replays suggested that the ball grazed his shoulder and not the bat. Pujara was then snared with a snorter as it hit the top of the off-stump. India were then staring down the barrel.
Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane came together and they faced the tough task of battling the South African bowlers. A lot of words were exchanged between Steyn and Rohit. It made the contest a little more entertaining as some of the chatter was caught on the stump microphones. Rohit and Rahane did manage to essay a few good strokes in that phase as they pulled a few with conviction. Rohit even charged to Peterson and hit him into the stands at long-off.
However, Vernon Philander had Rohit as he trapped him in front of the stumps for 25. In came skipper MS Dhoni and stitched a determined partnership with Rahane. They took India within sight of overhauling South Africa’s lead, but Peterson came into play. Bowling from over the wicket, he had Dhoni spooning a catch to mid-wicket. Ravindra Jadeja came in and then smashed a six over long-on. He attempted another over long-off, but was taken by Morne Morkel.
Rahane and Zaheer fought hard with the former doing most of the scoring. He farmed strike for himself and took singles and hit the occasional boundaries. Zaheer held on for 41 balls for his three runs and helped Rahane get through to his half century. Rahane hit a few magnificent shots. The six off Peterson over long-on being the most notable one. Zaheer though was dimissed leg-before by Peterson as he came from round the stumps and trapped him with one that turned into him.
Rahane continued his battle though. He smashed Philander with authority over the covers to move into the 80s. However, he was the last wicket to fall as he tried to get his ton with a big shot.
With only 58 runs to win, Petersen and Smith got there without too many problems.
India 334 (Murali Vijay 97, Cheteshwar Pujara 70, Virat Kohli 46, Ajinya Rahane 51*; Dale Steyn 6 for 100, Morne Morkel 3 for 50) and 223 (Cheteshwar Pujara 32, Ajinkya Rahane 96; Vernon Philander 3 for 43, Robin Peterson 4 for 74) lost to South Africa 500 (Graeme Smith 47, Alviro Petersen 62, AB de Villiers 74, Jacques Kallis 115, Robin Peterson 62; Ravindra Jadeja 6 for 138) and 59 for no loss (Alviro Petersen 31*, Graeme Smith 27*) by 10 wickets.
Man of Match: Dale Steyn.
Man of the Series: AB de Villiers
South Africa vs India — Live on Ten Cricket
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