Proteas lose two more wickets as fight to save match continues

2013-12-22 12:51

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India: 280 and 421

South Africa: 244 and 236/4 (Petersen 76, Smith 44, Du Plessis 42*, Mohammed Shami 2/62, Zaheer Khan 1/61)

South Africa needs 222 more runs to win

The Proteas lost two wickets in the morning session as the fight to save the first test match against India continues. Two more sessions remain in what has been an engrossing test match.

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers, two players who contributed greatly to the Proteas’ great escape in Adelaide in November last year, are still standing and seem to be the difference between a draw and defeat. The 458-run target has now become notional, despite a healthy 3.2 an over run rate. Survival, though, was not the biggest issue as the hosts accumulated 98 runs.

Ideally, South Africa would have wanted to go into the interval without losing a wicket but India gained a foothold through the dismissals of Jacques Kallis and Alviro Petersen.

Kallis was a victim of an erroneous LBW decision off Zaheer Khan, becoming the left-arm seamer’s 300th test wicket. Kallis clearly inside-edged the ball onto his pad but Australian umpire Rod Tucker thought otherwise, giving Kallis out.

It did not sit well with the all-rounder, who trudged off slowly from the field. South Africa needed a big innings from their premier batsman, who looked very good for his 34, which contained some sweetly struck boundaries. Once again he went missing in a fourth innings and the issue of the Decision Review System once again raised its ugly head. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has not taken kindly to the system and teams have to do without it when they face India.

Petersen could not add to his overnight 76, chopping an innocuous Mohammed Shami delivery onto his leg-stump. The wicket was due reward for a testing opening spell from the bustling seamer, who tested Petersen’s skill set to the fullest.

The previous delivery before the dismissal was a superb Yorker that knocked the opening batsman off his feet. It could have left him unwilling to go forward, hence the lazy looking dismissal. It may not have been a big score but one that will have secured his place for the Boxing Day test.

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