Harbhajan's double blow tilts match in India's favour

Tags: India tour of South Africa -2010-11, India v South Africa 3rd Test at Cape Town- Jan 2 -6, 2011, India, South Africa, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Paul Lee Harris, Dale Willem Steyn, Harbhajan Singh

Published on: Jan 04, 2011

Scorecard | Commentary | Graphs

South Africa are under pressure at 52 for 2 in 16 overs by the close of play on Day 3 in their second innings. Harbhajan Singh struck twice in the last 10 minutes of play to tilt the match in India's favour.

Stumps on Day 3

South Africa are under pressure at 52 for 2 in 16 overs by the close of play on Day 3 in their second innings. Harbhajan Singh struck twice in the last 10 minutes of play to tilt the match in India's favour. The hosts were off to a splendid start knocking off 50 on the board for no loss and it was only in the 14th over that India found its much needed opening when Graeme Smith went back for a flick but only to miss a top spinner from Harbhajan Singh infront of the stumps. Smith was given out lbw after looking so good on 29. In the final over of the day's play, Harbhajan got the wicket of night watchman Paul Harris who offered no shot on the backfoot and padded up to what turned out to be a big turning off break from outside off which disturbed the top surface of the pitch and kept low. It was an easy lbw decision for Umpire Simon Taufel which sent back Harris for a duck.

Earlier in the session, SA bowled out India for 362 allowing them to a tiny lead of 2 runs. The start of the session saw Harbhajan Singh top edging his hook shot off Steyn to Duminy at square fine leg to end his fighting knock of 40 from 67 balls (with 3 fours and 2 sixes. Harbhajan put up a crucial stand of 76 runs with Tendulkar who was next to depart after getting bowled off the gate by a Morne Morkel indipper. Tendulkar was looking to steer the ball to thirdman but was done in by the sharp inward movement with bounce. He finished with a superb 146 (from 314 balls with 17 fours and 2 sixes) to do what exactly Kallis did for SA in their first innings. Ishant Sharma fell quickly after this fending off Steyn to the keeper down the legside to give a five-wicket haul for the express bowler.

India finished up at 364 thanks to a cameo of 23 from 22 balls from Zaheer Khan who smacked 2 sixes before getting caught at thirdman off Morkel in the 118th over.

Tea on Day 3
India finished the post lunch session at an impressive 316 for 6 thanks to an unbroken partnership of 69 between Sachin Tendulkar (136* from 295 balls with 17 fours and a six) and Harbhajan Singh (34* from 54 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes). The visitors are now just 46 runs behind South Africa's first innings total of 362.
It was early trouble for India when Pujara and MS Dhoni fell in quick succession to Dale Steyn to leave India in tatters at 247 for 6. Pujara was unlucky as he got a magical outswinger from Steyn which pitched on leg and straightened to hit him low on the pad plumb infront. MS Dhoni didn't even open his account and fell in his third ball getting an edge to a loose drive off Steyn to be caught in the slips. At this point of time, Steyn and Morkel were too good with plenty of swing, pace and bounce and it looked inevitable that India were going to be bowled out soon. However, the luck tilted towards India with Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh's stratgey of a counter attack proving to be successful.
Tendulkar had brought up his 51st Test century with a six which came up through a top edged hook shot off Morkel over the top of the slips. Harbhajan had his piece of luck when a late outswinger from Steyn kissed the edge of his off stumps but the bails didn't fall down! Harbhajan went beserk with his slogs whenever the ball was there to be hit and with Tendulkar rescued India out of potential danger by Tea.
Lunch on Day 3

Sachin Tendulkar batted out the entire morning session to help India towards 237 for 4 in 82 overs. By Lunch, Tendulkar has got to a well paced 94* from 208 balls with 12 fours. His overnight partner Gautam Gambhir also batted well but was unlucky to miss out on a century when he nicked a straighter one from Paul Harris on the backfoot to the keeper. Gambhir lasted nearly two hours this morning and got out on 93 (from 22 balls with 13 fours). The southpaw had put up a big partnership of 176 with Tendulkar for the third wicket.

India was cruising along when VVS Laxman had joined Tendulkar and he pushed the score forward with three useful boundary. But Laxman was unlucky to be dismissed after a short stay when he got out just like Jacques Kallis in the previous Test Match which was to be run out at the non-striker's end backing up. It was a smashing uppish drive from Tendulkar in the 80th over which was spilled by Harris but the ball found its way onto the bowling end stumps to cause a disaster for Laxman and India. Once the second new ball was taken as and when it was available, life was once again tough for the Indian batsmen especially Cheteshwar Pujara who had horrid time against the steep rising deliveries from Morkel.

- BV Swagath

Related News