South Africa sealed a comprehensive 90-run victory against India with an innings and two days to spare in the 2nd test Match played at Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad on Saturday, April 5, 2008. Scoring one of its lowest test totals in the first innings, India truly had an ominous start to the contest, when on the other hand, South Africa proved quick enough to capitalize on the Indian fiasco with a par-excellence batting performance to make the going even tougher for India. South Africa now leads the three test series by 1-0.
After winning the toss, India could not have made a worse decision than going in with the bat, which was in evidence soon afterwards. To begin with, Jaffer edged off Ntini to Smith in the 4th over itself, followed by Sehwag in the next over who failed to read Steyn correctly. Laxman and Ganguly came no good either as Steyn and Ntini made mincemeat of the Indian top and upper middle order with their deadly speed and accuracy. A 23-run stand between Dravid and Dhoni was all India could muster, before the duo succumbed to the whirlwind of South African bowling. Dhoni was the first one to enter into double digits for India, but inadequate enough to make any impact with the opponents. Pathan was the only one who stood his ground amidst chaos but to no good as Indian tail was slain brutally by South African sickle to see India bundled out for its lowest test cricket total of 76 runs. South Africa was cut to the task straightaway, beginning with an unruffled 78-run partnership between Smith and McKenzie to make India feel the heat. By the end of the day, South Africa were settled comfortably with a score of 223 runs for the loss of 4 wickets.
Beginning from where they left off, Kallis and De Villiers kept the South African scoreboard ticking at a healthy run rate and it was more of hard work and resilience which helped them touch several landmarks to gain South Africa an invincible lead. From the Indian perspective, it was Sreesanth who conjured up his lethal pace to provide the much-needed breakthrough, but perhaps too late. De Villiers kept growing from strength to strength at the other end with Boucher and Morkel acting as some kind of cushion for him to make the score as competitive as possible but without making any worthy personal contributions. At the end of the day, South Africa declared at a score of 494 runs for 7 wickets with De Villiers remaining unbeaten with an ecstatic 217-run knock to his credit. Now India needed to score at least 418 runs just to make South Africa bat again which was not going to be an easy task by any means.
India started off its 2nd innings cautiously and for good reason keeping in mind batting blues faced by Indians earlier in the game. Still, to all intents and purposes, it did little to help batsmen face the ire of South African bowling. Starting off slow and nice, Sehwag was soon trapped before leg by Ntini to get South Africa going for the rest. Jaffer and Dravid tried to develop a sort of partnership before Kallis and Morkel cut the effort short with De Villiers doing the honors with a couple of great catches. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Laxman and Ganguly took the task upon themselves and carved out a half-century partnership to help the Indian cause but Morkel was quick enough to claim the wicket of Laxman to set things back on track for south Africa. Ganguly went ahead with another century-stand with Dhoni and it took a special effort from Steyn to cut short his century for the good of South Africa. The stand between Ganguly and Dhoni seemed like the last flicker of hope for India and with Ganguly's fall, the writing on the wall was all-too clear for anyone to read. Dhoni and Pathan, however, kept working on some sort of partnership to resurrect the innings but Ntini made sure the Indian skipper did not contribute more than a half-century for his side. Pathan remained unbeaten at 43 runs with Indian tail not wagging much and South Africa bundled out India for 328 runs in 94.2 overs to register a memorable 90- run victory against India. The victory added to the humiliation for India, coming as it did with an innings and two days to spare in the game which just might spur India to come up with an aggressive performance in the Kanpur Test, scheduled to begin on Friday.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012