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DURBAN: Veteran Jacques Kallis became the third-highest accumulator of Test runs and only the fourth South African to score a century in his farewell Test, as his team rallied around him to push for what may come to be a memorable win, what with time running out, the weather closing in and the will of the World’s No.2 team resisting to its maximum capacity.
At the end of a fourth day that had as much intrigue as moisture in the air, India were left facing the risk of losing whatever they had gained by way of a brilliant first Test and a decent first half of the second. Having conceded a lead of 166, thanks to Kallis’ methodical 115 and Robin Peterson's quickfire 61, MS Dhoni’s side trailed by 98 at close, with openers M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan back in the hut, and Chetehwar Pujara and Virat Kohli tending to matters in the middle.
With just one day remaining and an Indian win out of question, survival was paramount, and that reflected in the 36 overs India consumed to plod to 68 for the loss of two, of which the second could rightfully be credited to the fieldsman. Shikhar Dhawan, having faced 86 balls for 19, the maximum time that he has spent at the crease on this tour, had his full-blooded whip over mid-wicket spectacularly plucked out of thin air by a leaping Faf du Plessis. The other opener had earlier, in the sixth over of the innings, given up to a full, fast outside-the-off stump Philander projectile, and walked off shaking his head for 6.
Series on the line
With the series on the line, even the usually classy Cheteshwar Pujara (32*) had his share of trouble. He was struck on the armpit (of all the godforsaken places!), beaten by deliveries that jagged off a spot, and had an almost impossible chance – a well-timed flick against JP Duminy – rip the webbing of Hashim Amla’s right hand at forward short-leg. That the Saurashtra batsman survived was all that mattered.
It was another Saurashtra lad who had taken part of the honours in the first half of the curtailed day.
Ravindra Jadeja added two more wickets to his overnight four and finished with a career-best 6/138, as South Africa marched to 500 in their first innings. Jadeja bowled endlessly, relentlessly, but with little support from the straying pacers, and even forced Dhoni to delay the second new ball by a massive 66 overs. It was Jadeja who dismissed Kallis, for his fifth wicket, after the veteran all-rounder had reached his 45th Test ton ton and crossed Rahul Dravid to become the 3rd highest accumulator in Tests.
Kallis was out top-edging an attempted sweep and walked off to find his teammates descending from their perches to meet him half-way down the steps. The lead then stood at 50. And at lunch, following the dismissal of night-wathcman Dale Steyn for 44, South Africa had scored just 96 in 35 overs. A marked increase in rate was the need of the hour. And after a short delay for rain, Peterson and du Plessis obliged. They added 110 runs in just 18 overs after Dhoni was forced to take the second new ball by the umpires.
Shami swung the shining cherry immediately into Peterson, who was lucky to be given ‘not-out’ to a loud appeal for leg-before. The batsman responded by creaming a four through cover and continued to dispatch the ball through the off-side. A loft over the off-side against the off-colour Zaheer Khan brought him a fifty in 44 balls. It was to Zaheer that Peterson eventually perished, caught trying to hit the ball out of the park. Du Plessis was run-out by a Rohit Sharma direct hit for a a 70-ball 43, but by then the pair had fulfilled their captain's command, and thrown India the challenge of surviving a session and a half if they wanted to save the series. At stumps, Dhoni's men had done one-third of the work. They wouldn't mind if rain does the rest.
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India face uphill task to save series
2nd Test -- Kallis surpasses Rahul Dravid as South Africa take charge at Durban.By News Desk | Yahoo Cricket – Sun 29 Dec, 2013 10:09 PM IST
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