Proteas close to victory in Durban

2013-12-30 12:41

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India: 334 and 173/7 (Rahane 50*, Pujara 32, Rohit Sharma 25, R Peterson 3/61, Philander 2/24, Steyn 2/33)

South Africa: 500 all out (Kallis 115, De Villiers 74, A Petersen 62, R Peterson 61, Jadeja 6/138, Zaheer Khan 2/97)

India leads by 7 runs

The Proteas are three wickets away from claiming a series victory and their first win in Durban since 2008, thanks to Dale Steyn and Robin Peterson.

Steyn dealt India two serious balls by removing overnight batsmen Virat Kohli (11) and Cheteshwar Pujara in the space of three overs. The resolute Kohli was out first ball and rather unfairly, as a good ball from Steyn narrowly missed his edge but took his sleeve on the way to AB de Villiers.

The wicket-keeper, bowler and the slip cordon went in unison and umpire Rod Tucker obliged. Kohli was less than happy but it’s the kind of decision that would have been overturned with the decision review system.

Pujara was the recipient of the ball of the day from Steyn, getting a delivery that pitched on middle and hit the top of the off-stump. There were no demons in the pitch, but it was the kind of ball that can break the back of any innings. India needed Kohli and Pujara to bat for at least a full session. They did not even last the first 15 minutes.

Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane guts it out for 11 overs before the garrulous Sharma, who engaged in heated verbal exchanges with Steyn, was trapped in front by Vernon Philander. The bowler, who told Steyn to calm down, gave the Mumbai batsman a send off.

MS Dhoni (15) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) gave their wickets away. The former with a wild swipe to mid-wicket and the latter a miscued drive to mid-off. Both wickets were taken by Peterson who was rewarded for a persistent line and length.

It was left to Rahane, who compiled a chanceless 84-ball 50 to push India into the zone where they will now have to defend a total. How much they will defend it will rest entirely on his shoulders.

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