DURBAN, Dec 27 (PTI): Spinner Harbhajan Singh and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan plotted a dramatic South African collapse to give India a vital 74-run lead in a topsy-turvy second cricket Test which seemed headed for a nail-biting finish here today.
After being dismissed for 205 in the first innings, the Indians turned the game on its head by bundling out the hosts for a paltry 131 in 37.2 overs with Harbhajan Singh (4/10) and Zaheer (3/36) being the chief wreckers. The Indians found themselves in a mess in the second innings as they were struggling at 92 for four at close on an eventful second day which saw as many as 18 wickets fall. Virender Sehwag (32), Rahul Dravid (2) and Sachin Tendulkar (6) are among the batsmen dismissed.
VVS Laxman and Cheteshwar Pujara were batting on 23 and 10 respectively with the visitors having taken an overall lead of 166 runs with six second innings wickets intact in the must-win game.
It turned out to be a bizarre day at the Kingsmead as fortune fluctuated from one team to the other till the very end. With wickets tumbling like nine pins, India’s first innings lead of 74 runs could play a big role.
With three full days left in the match, a result is certain.
Earlier, Dale Steyn (6/50) and Morne Morkel (2/68) took two wickets each in the morning as India, after resuming at the overnight score of 183 for six, lost their remaining four wickets for the addition of only 22 runs to the total in 10 overs.
India 1st Innings: (Overnight 183/6) Virender Sehwag c Kallis b Steyn 25, Murali Vijay c Boucher b Steyn 19, Rahul Dravid c Boucher b Steyn 25, Sachin Tendulkar c Kallis b Tsotsobe 13, VVS Laxman c Tsotsobe b Steyn 38, Cheteshwar Pujara c Boucher b Tsotsobe 19, MS Dhoni c Petersen b Steyn 35, Harbhajan Singh c de Villiers b Steyn 21, Zaheer Khan c Boucher b Morkel 0, Ishant Sharma not out 1, S Sreesanth c Boucher b Morkel 0. Extras: (B-1, LB-2, WD-4, NB-2) 9. Total (all out in 65.1 overs) 205. Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-48, 3-79, 4-117, 5-130, 6-156, 7-190, 8-193, 9-205. Bowling: D Steyn 19-6-50-6, M Morkel 19-1-3-68-2, L Tsotsobe 11-3-40-2, J Kallis 8-2-18-0, P Harris 8-1-26-0.
South Africa 1st innings: Alviro Petersen b Zaheer Khan 24, Graeme Smith c Dhoni b Zaheer Khan 9, Hashim Amla lbw b Harbhajan Singh 33, Jacques Kallis run out (Sharma) 10, AB de Villiers c Dhoni b Sreesanth 0, Ashwell Prince b Zaheer Khan 13, Mark Boucher not out 16, Dale Steyn c Dravid b Harbhajan Singh 1, Paul Harris c Pujara b Harbhajan Singh 0, Morne Morkel c Harbhajan Singh b Sharma 10, Lonwabo Tsotsobe c Vijay b Harbhajan Singh 0. Extras: (lb-2, w-1, nb-12) 15. Total: (all out in 37.2 overs) 131. Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-46, 3-67, 4-74, 5-96, 6-100, 7-103, 8-103, 9-127, 10-131. Bowling: Zaheer Khan 13-2-36-3, S.Sreesanth 8-0-41-1, Ishant Sharma 9-2-42-1, Harbhajan Singh 7.2-2-10-4.
India 2nd innings: Virender Sehwag c Boucher b Tsotsobe 32, Murali Vijay c Amla b Morkel 9, Rahul Dravid c Boucher b Tsotsobe 2, Sachin Tendulkar c De Villiers b Steyn 6, VVS Laxman batting 23, Cheteshwar Pujara batting 10. Extras: (B-2, LB-4, W-4) 10. Total: (For 4 wkts in 30.5 overs) 92. Fall of wickets: 1-42, 2-44, 3-48, 4-56. Bowling: Steyn 7-1-27-1, Morkel 7-1-17-1, Tsotsobe 6.5-2-16-2, Kallis 6-1-18-0, Harris 4-1-8-0.