No sign of a Proteas collapse on day three of Durban test

2013-12-28 09:49

Khanyiso Tshwaku @kaymorizm #SAvInd

India: 334 all out (Vijay 97, Pujara 70, Rahane 51*, Steyn 6/100, Morkel 3/50)

South Africa: 82/0 (Petersen 46*, Smith 35*)

South Africa trail by 252 runs

South Africa’s openers built on the foundation laid by their fast bowlers by setting up an intriguing day three of the second test.

Day three collapses have been one of the reasons the Proteas have not been effective in Durban, but with the kind of start provided by Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen, they are safely on their way.

They were untroubled as they proceeded to stumps without losing a wicket although there were deliveries that stayed low.

The fact that they had a moderate total to chase was down to a lack of urgency by India and a superb comeback from Dale Steyn.

After yesterday’s merry proceedings, the South African bowling attack had a different feel to it. The players were more hungry and accurate.

Allied with patience, they were rewarded while the visitors looked like they were meandering through the day.

Dale Steyn endured a horrible wicketless 69 overs. If there is one thing genuine pace does, it is to take the pitch out of the equation.

It was slow but Steyn was relentless in his pursuit of getting the Indian batsmen out. He was the main reason the rest of the Indian batting line-up only contributed 153 from the overnight 181/1.

It should have been a position of strength that India should have capitalised on, but that was not the case.

There were signs of the game being taken away from the Proteas when Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane combined for a 66-run fifth wicket stand after Steyn took three wickets in 10 balls.

It had to be the key partnership, but that was ended by the resurgent Steyn who also used the short ball to good effect.

After MS Dhoni fell after another 50-plus run stand, the tail was quickly swept away, showing up the lack of hard work on day one.

Plays of the day

» 200th catch

Kingsmead is the home of the longest test match ever played and it landed another record.

When Jacques Kallis snaffled Ravindra Jadeja, it became the first test ground to witness two 200th test catches.

The first one was Rahul Dravid with Dale Steyn as the victim off Harbhajan Singh.

Another offspinner in JP Duminy was the beneficiary of Kallis’s safe hands.

» A leap fit for a goalkeeper

AB de Villiers is not the most skilled of wicket-keepers but since he retook the gloves, he has improved markedly.

He took some good catches, especially down the leg side, on day two. But the best of the lot was the one-handed leap to dismiss Zaheer Khan.

The collection of the ball was superb but the way De Villiers leapt into the air was amazing. It would have left some goalkeepers spellbound. It was that good.

» Wait, then cash in

69.2 overs is the equivalent of two sessions and nine overs.

That’s how long Steyn had to wait to get a wicket since the first innings in Joburg.

But when it rained, he made it pour – adding five more after dismissing the resolute Cheteshwar Pujara.

The catch from De Villiers was regulation by his now high standards but the drought had been broken, much like the sun broke through after rain ensured that there was no play in the first session.

» Bad judgment

Steyn was getting the old ball to reverse swing but when Rohit Sharma walked to the crease, it did not seem to cross his mind.

Usually batsmen shoulder arms to the first ball they face, which Sharma did, but the ball he got from Steyn swung back and detonated his middle stump halfway up with Sharma’s bat high above his shoulders.

A leave becomes bad when the ball takes out the off-stump but when the middle stick is tickled when playing a supposed leave, then it is something else.

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