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Monday, December 27, 2010

SA Series - India strike back to gain advantage

India, by their performance today, proved multiple theories in the ongoing test series. Their bowlers came up with a performance that showed why they were the No.1 team in the world. The show put up by the batters yesterday signified the devils in the pitch on the first day of the first test match. The innings of South Africans also gave an idea of how they would have succumbed if they had batted first in the same match.

The beginning of the day went against the plans of the Indians - if they had thought about adding few runs and take the score near 250, Steyn and Morkel dismissed the thoughts quickly - VVS Laxman's score of 38 was the highest of the innings (in fact, highest of the match after 2 days).

At this juncture, the script followed a pattern that was visible in the last test series between the two sides when Sreesanth sent the Proteas packing. This time, it was Zaheer Khan who lead the attack with his strikes. First with his bunny, Greame Smith, and then adding the wicket of Peterson Zaheer increased the hopes of India. Fantastic catching by the Indians helped the bowlers take quick break-throughs and reduce the score of the opposition. Luck aided them through the run-out of Kallis. Harbhajan came into his own and picked up wickets, thanks to the turn and bounce available on show - his eleventh performance of four wickets and above overseas (eight of them have helped India win - will the latest one also do the same?)

Sehwag started briskly and took the initiative to score quick runs on the board (42 runs in the first nine overs) - Steyn was removed from the attack as a result of this assault. But, four wickets in the space of 16 runs put the pressure back on India. Except for Murali Vijay's wicket, the others chased the ball to get out. The Indians came out with an aggressive intent and were on the lookout for runs - obvious strategy to add runs even while staying at the crease. It was left to VVS and Pujara to see out the rest of the evening (before bad light stopped once again) with 36 runs added to the score.

166 is the lead that India has at the end of the second day, making them the favorites after two days. Setting a total of 275 to 300 (or more) will help them equalize the series.
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