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Chennai Test ends in a draw

Last updated on: March 30, 2008 16:30 IST

Neil McKenzie was unbeaten on a fluent 155 as the first Test between India and South Africa at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai ended in a dull draw on Sunday.


McKenzie continued his good form with the bat to guide South Africa to 331 for five in 109 overs before the teams agreed to a draw.

McKenzie, who hit a double century in his previous Test, led the way for South Africa once again hitting 13 boundaries and a six during his 445-minute stay at the crease. His 157-run partnership for the second wicket with Hashim Amla, who made 81, in the morning session made sure that India didn't even have a sniff at victory.

For India, Harbhajan Singh finished with three for 101, claiming the wickets of Jacques Kallis (19) and Ashwell Prince (5) for a match haul of eight wickets.

Virender Sehwag, who smashed 319 in India's first innings, was deservedly named man of the match.

The right-hander had taken India to a mammoth 627 in reply to South Africa's first innings total of 540. The second Test will played in Ahmedabad from April 3-7, with the third Test in Kanpur from April 11-15.

Post tea session: (33 runs, 17 overs, 1 wicket)

India got a wicket in the third over after the break when Sehwag bagged the wicket of AB de Villiers. He was caught at short leg off an inside edge for 11 although TV replays indicated that the ball may have missed the bat.

Once again the wicket meant nothing as McKenzie and new batsmen played with relative ease as South Africa reached 319 for five after 100 overs.

Morning and afternoon sessions 

The first ball of the next over, McKenzie brought up his 150 with a single to square leg off Sehwag, hitting 13 boundaries and a six in his 312-ball knock.

They played out a few dull overs before the match was called off after 109 overs with South Africa on 331 for five. They had a lead of 244 runs and with just 14 overs remaining both teams felt there was no point in continuing and agreed to an early end.

McKenzie finished unbeaten on a brilliant knock of 155 that stretched nearly seven and half hours at the wicket. He hit 13 boundaries and a six in his 339-ball knock and was quite easily one of South Africa's top performers in the match with an aggregate of 249 runs in the two innings.

Amla also proved his worth with the bat amassing 240 runs in the two innings and making full use of batting on a flat wicket.

Harbhajan once again emerged the most successful bowler for India with figures of three for 101 in 34 overs for a match haul of eight for 265.

The pacers, S Sreesanth and RP Singh, once again disappointed and went wicketless in the second innings. They could perhaps take a cue from Makhaya Ntini (3 for 128) and Dale Steyn (4 for 103) on how to come back with the old ball despite the conditions not being in your favour.

Perhaps the match will always be remembered for Virender Sehwag's smashing triple century, his best Test score of 319. The pitch ultimately turned out to be a big disappointment, it was loaded too much in the batsmen's favour and the result was a boring draw.

One now hopes that the second Test at Ahmedabad provides a much more balanced pitch and a better fight between bat and ball. The last three Test matches played in India have ended in draws and it's high time now that the BCCI has a serious review of the pitches being prepared for Test matches.

Harish Kotian in Chennai