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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SA Series - India equalize test series

Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Adelaide OvalClever captaincy by MS Dhoni The South African team is scared of history - it has been proven many times earlier. Remember their performance in multi-national ODI tournaments? Everyone is aware of this. Now, remember how the media had harped upon their performances in Durban?  I am sure that this was also on their mind at various times throughout the second innings of this test match. They now have three scores in the 130's (out of six innings) in Durban and lost all the three tests played. Similarly, Hashim Amla's home-ground jinx continued for some more time (his dismissal in both innings giving the initiative back to India).

This pressure, coupled with the tight bowling of Harbhajan Singh made life miserable for the Proteas. As AB tweeted, South Africa did not play as well as they could. Run-making was made difficult with the bowling and some clever fielding placements. It was only a matter of time when an unplayable ball arrived - just like Murali Vijay faced yesterday, Kallis was the unlucky batsmen today to get a snorter from Sreesanth. Other than this ball, the pitch had not deteriorated to such an extent that nobody could beat the first innings score of VVS (Prince would beat it later, however).

De Viliers got a dismissal that looked out in real-time but Hawk-Eye showed it to be going above the stumps. Similarly, Boucher got a ball that seemed to come in to hit off-stump. Both these dismissals were not approved by the South Africans and the latter batsmen seemed to have realized that any hopes of win were remote. MS Dhoni did a clever move by bringing Zaheer into the attack (with chances of reverse-swing, MSD started the bowling with Sreesanth & Harbhajan, saving Zak for later). Prince waged a battle against the Indians thwarting the attack with the tailenders but it was just a matter of when the last wicket would fall. A smart piece of fielding by the youngster Pujara brought the final wicket, resulting in the match win for India.

Overall, a good comeback by the Indians after the loss in the first test match. Ayaz Menon tweeted that the game-changers for India were Zaheer and VVS Laxman but I wouldn't agree with it. One has to credit the resurgence to the entire team - right from the second innings of the first test, the comeback had been initiated by the knocks of Gambhir, Tendulkar and Dhoni - this was taken to the next level in this match by Laxman and the bowlers lead by Zaheer. It was team-work alright!!

Sanjay Manjrekar tweeted that the last 5 great overseas wins for India have been at Headingley, Perth, Jamaica, Wanderers and now Durban - lively, pacy wickets are to the advantage of the Indian bowlers now. Opponents of India, Beware!!!   
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