iNDIA DOWN & OUT
It is only the second day and India is already down in the dumps in the first test at Centurion. It is interesting that more than half of the first day’s play could not be possible due to the rain and wet outfield.
The home team has taken a lead of over 200 runs going into the third day with eight more batsmen still to come to crease. The openers Smith and Peterson gave a solid start and both scored half-centuries. The fast bowlers could not make any impression and it was Harbhajan Singh who got the two wickets to fall on the day.
Then it was the Kallis and Amla show all the way as they have put together more than 200 runs and still they are at the crease. Dhoni tried different bowlers including Sachin and Raina but with no success.
This match takes my memory back to the Kingsmead test many years ago when Allan Donald and company destroyed the Indian batting. The tourists were bowled out for less than 100 and the home team put up a big score.
Then came perhaps one of the greatest innings ever played by Sachin Tendulkar. In the company of Azharuddin, Sachin murdered the South Africans and there were runs all over the ground. It looked like a highlights package as Azharuddin also scored the runs at a very brisk pace. The partnership ended only when there was a run out and after that a great catch took the match to South Africa.
In many ways, this match is similar to the times when Sachin was the only Indian batsman to score runs against difficult bowling and mostly in the second innings. But in the final analysis, India lost the match. I really hope that Sachin does not get to his 50th hundred in that way.