Proteas slowly build lead against India

2013-12-29 12:18

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

South Africa: 395/7 (Kallis 115, De Villiers 74, Petersen 62, Jadeja 5/128, Shami 1/72)

South Africa leads by 61 runs

South Africa lost the wickets of Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn but assiduously built up their lead against a flagging Indian bowling attack in a tedious morning session.

While India refused to use the new ball, Kallis made the most of his final test match, notching up his 45th test match century.

It was his first in over a year since the 147 he made against Australia in Brisbane but like most of his hundreds, they came when his country needed them the most.

It was a slow innings, but necessary to strangle the life out of the Indian bowling attack, which was led by Ravindra Jadeja. It took 273 balls to compile his century and it was never pretty, but in a test match which meandered for the best part of its existence, it fitted the script perfectly.

There was even time for him to surpass Rahul Dravid and become the third highest run scorer in test history. But that was as good as it got for Kallis, who became Jadeja’s fifth victim.

Before Steyn fell to Zaheer Khan, he gave India plenty of headaches with his agricultural heaves that were finding the boundaries more often than not. He fell six short of what would have been a deserved second test 50 but his job was to protect Faf du Plessis while accumulating runs.

Each time Steyn crossed for a run, the life was being visibly sucked from the visitors. Their 86-run partnership was the last thing India needed.

The going may have been slow but the Proteas are intent on just batting once on a pitch that is playing up and down. As Jadeja showed, spin will be the difference between the teams. Quick runs will be needed if a result will be forced.

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