South Africa arrived in Kolkata for the second Test in 1996, seething at the defeat they suffered in the first Test at Ahmadabad. In one of the greatest exhibitions of fast bowling, Javagal Srinath tore apart the South African side with analysis of 11.5-4-21-6. That 48 unbeaten runs from the South African score of 105 came off the bat of skipper Hansie Cronje tells the story of the South African devastation in the second innings, which was sullied by six ducks!

South Africa won the toss at the Eden Garden and chose to bat. Andrew Hudson (146) and Gary Kirsten (102) pulped the Indian attack to add 236 for the opening wicket. Useful contributions down the order saw South Africa post a total of 428.

Nayan Mongia and Rahul Dravid gave India a good start, adding 68 for the first wicket. But 68 for no loss became 77 for three in no time. And to make matters worse, Mohammad Azharuddin retired hurt with the Indian total on 87. Suddenly, India were reeling at 161 for seven — seven wickets lost for under 100 runs. The follow-on looked a distinct possibility.

It was in this bleak scenario Indian cricket witness a fabled counterattack in acute crisis. Azhar was back in the middle to play one of the most sensational innings against the dreaded pace attack of South Africa comprising, Allan Donald, Lance Klusener and Brian McMillan. Boundaries were flying to all parts of the field from the magician’s willow and the South African attack was made to look a hapless club class. From 161 for seven, Azhar and Anil Kumble took the score to 322 when gave a return catch to Paul Adams. His 77-ball 109 included one six and 18 fours — including five in a row off Klusener.

Kumble was run out, 12 short of a well-deserved hundred.