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India win thriller at Newlands as SA fumble again

Last updated on: January 19, 2011 02:04 IST


India scored a thrilling two-wicket win over South Africa in the third one-day international at Newlands, Cape Town on Tuesday.

The visitors made 223 for eight and won with 10 balls to spare in a pulsating match that went down to the wire.

The win gave India a 2-1 lead going into the fourth match at Port Elizabeth. As regards the hosts, they had a host of opportunities to seal the match in their favour.

However, they failed to grab any of those thereby ensuring a result that was somewhat similar to the second ODI at the Wanderers. For a second time in succession the crowd had witnessed a match with fluctuating fortunes and again India pip South Africa to the post.

Yusuf Pathan top-scored for India with an aggressive 59. His 50-ball knock was inclusive of six hits to the fence and and three over it (all of Johan Botha).

It was no surprise when he was named the man-of-the-match for his efforts.

Morne Morkel was the pick of the South African bowlers with figures of three for 28. He troubled the Indian batsmen with a probing line and generated considerable bounce.

The home team made 220 before being dismissed four balls short of their stipulated quota of overs, failing to recover from a tepid start.

The scorecard was an apt description of the trouble they faced amid some tight bowling by the Indians.

Zaheer Khan

Had it not been for a 110-run partnership for the fifth wicket between JP Duminy and debutant Faf du Plessis, the home team's scorecard would have looked even more dismal.

Plassis made a standout debut, top-scoring witha fluent 60. His 78-ball knock was inclusive of just two hits to the fence.

It was the third highest score by a South African on his ODI debut.

Duminy provided the perfect foil to the debutant with his experience, scoring a valuable 52.

His 59-ball innings also included just two boundaries.

For that matter there were just 11 boundaries in the South African innings.

Zaheer Khan was India's most successful bowler with figures of three for 43 while Munaf Patel and Harbhajan Singh picked up two wickets apiece.

Earlier, South Africa won the toss and predictably elected to bat first.

"It looks like a good wicket," said Graeme Smith, the South African skipper, adding, "It's a high-scoring ground and partnerships are going to be the key."

His Indian counterpart, MS Dhoni, lamented the loss of the toss.

"Unfortunately the toss didn't go our way," he said, adding, "With the selection for the World Cup been made we would like to have the guys selected have a few matches under their belts."

Both teams had a change each to their respective line-ups. While Faf du Plessis came in for David Miller for the hosts, Yusuf Pathan replaced an injured Sachin Tendulkar for the visitors.

South Africa innings:

Zaheer Khan opened the bowling for India firing all cylinders putting his bunny, South African skipper Graeme Smith (43), in all sorts of trouble.

Smith was fortunate to survive a loud appeal for caught behind in Khan's first over and another loud leg before shout in the latter's second.

His opening partner, Hashim Amla (16), too lived dangerously. And it was no surprise when Zaheer cleaned him up in his fourth over.

Colin Ingram (10) never looked comfortable during his time at the crease and struggled particularly against Harbhajan Singh. The latter eventually had him caught by Virat Kohli at slips to give India their second breakthough.

South Africa had lost two of their frontline batsmen having not yet gone past the 50-run mark.

Smith and AB de Villiers (16) took control of the situation for a while before a spectacular catch by Zaheer at wide long-on (off Yusuf) sent the latter back to the pavillion.

The third wicket partnership had yielded 34 runs for the host and was looking good when disaster struck.

Harbhajan ensured India strengthened their stranglehold by accounting for Smith - caught by Kohli at first slip - a few overs later.

Smith's 79-ball innings was inclusive of three boundaries. However, it was a painstaking innings to say the least.  The end of his ordeal though reduced the home team to 90 for four in the 24th over.

However, JP Duminy and debutant Faf du Plessis stemmed the rot with a century-plus partnership for the fifth wicket, both the batsmen getting their respective fifties in the process.

However, with both batsmen falling in quick succession, the South African tail was exposed. And unfortunately for them, it failed to wag.

For a second time in succession the home team failed to take advantage of the batting powerplay.

Having secured only 20 runs at the cost of three wickets at Wanderers, the South Africans fared no better at Newlands, getting just 25 runs at the cost of four wickets.

India innings:

Chasing a modest target, India were put on the backfoot early on when Steyn took a spectacular catch off his own bowling to send back Murali Vijay (1).

Virat Kohli (28) survived a loud leg before appeal in the very next ball. Rohit Sharma (23), neglected for the World Cup but asked to open on Tuesday, eased the pressure a bit by flicking a Steyn delivery to the midwicket fence.

Both the youngsters then combined well to steady India's ship.

Kohli was the more aggressive of the two, hitting as many as five boundaries including two in a Parnell over. However, his overt aggression cost him his wicket.

Morne Morkel, bowling a probing line and generating considerable bounce as he has throughout the series, induced an edge of an impatient Kohli's blade and de Villiers made no mistakes behind the stumps.

Kohli and Sharma added 52 runs for the second wicket. Morkel returned to account for Sharma in the next over.

The Mumbai batsman, who had lived dangerously and been fortunate, saw his fortune run out when an inside edge from his blade crashed onto his stumps.

MS Dhoni (5) didn't survive long either, Johan Botha having him caught behind.

India had lost three quick wickets for the addition of just 13 runs (inside five overs) and things suddenly looked difficult for the visitors.

Suresh Raina (37) eased the pressure a bit with successive boundaries off Parnell, both through point.However, JP Duminy added to India's woes by getting Yuvraj Singh (16) out leg before.

In came Yusuf Pathan (59) and he lived dangerously early on in his innings, an edge off Botha going between the keeper and the first slip to the boundary.

However, Pathan soon settled down to do what he does best: smash the ball. Botha became the victim on this occsaion.

In the spinner's seventh over, Pathan smashed three sixes, all towards long-on and each bigger than the previous. That 19-run over brought India back into the game.

Pathan and Raina helped India recover with a 75-run partnership for the sixth wicket. But there was another twist in the tale.

Just when things looked to be going India's way, Raina top-edged a Morkel delivery and de Villiers made no mistake with the catch. Raina's 47-ball knock was inclusive of four hits to the fence.

Three overs later, Steyn had the dangerous Pathan caught by Morkel at third man.

Both Harbhajan Singh (23 not out) and Zaheer Khan (14) had reprieves, Morkel losing out on a wicket on both the occasions, and took India closer with a 26-run partnership for the eighth wicket.

Again things looked to be in India's control and again they let it slip, Zaheer mishiting a Tsotsobe delivery and Smith making no mistake at mid-off.

However Harbhajan, who had hit a maximum of Parnell at the start of the batting powerplay, hit a Morkel delivery over long-off for his second maximum, a shot which ensured India needed just seven to win.

And when Nehra (six not out) hit a Botha straight over mid-on for a boundary it was all over. India had come up trumps in a closely contested tie yet again.

Tags: SA, India, Newlands