The 29th of December proved to be an excellent day for cricket fans. With England retaining the Ashes series to India winning the 2nd test match against South Africa in Durban and thus levelling the series.
South Africa had to reach the target of 303 to win the match. It was always going to be difficult to do on the 4th day and especially on the 5th day as the pitch would have deteriorated considerably. Graeme Smith started off with a bang and it was clear that he knew his team would have to put up as high a score on day 3 so that less would have to be achieved on day4 and 5. Unfortunately for him this wasn’t enough.
Day 3 ended with the total of 111 for the loss of 4 wickets with AB de Villiers and Kallis out in the middle. With those two still there it was always going to be a fighting match, but Sreesanth’s early morning breakthrough finally getting Kallis out on a stunningly unplayable ball so he could only manage to make 17runs.
AB de Villiars got the shorter end of the stick as he was given a wrong decision of an lbw on the bowling of Harbhajan Singh; he made 33 runs of 76runs.
Mark Boucher made 1run and was dismissed by Zaheer Khan which was again a relatively questionable lbw decision.
Along came Steyn and Harris and suddenly the chatter around the field was non stop. Harris had obviously done a lot himself when his side was fielding so the Indians found it difficult to resist heckling him in return.
Finally after infuriating Zaheer Khan on a run up where Harris stopped him telling the umpire he didn’t see him coming, snide words were exchanged from both Harris and Zaheer and one ball later Harris was dismissed.
Morne Morkel along with Ashwell Prince gave India something to worry about, quite suddenly the Indian players chatter became louder and louder and the bouncers higher and higher. Ishant Sharma bowled superbly but lacked discipline in terms of no balls, but in all fairness one of his no ball decisions was slightly strict. Still, he managed to get Morne Mornket out when he was on 20 runs and was hitting boundaries on regular intervals. Once he was gone it was just a question of time, and almost suddenly Pujara did a brilliant run out of Tsotsobe on a duck. His reflexes were amazing and he won the match in a pumped up dramatic manner.
The 2nd test match has brought the Indian team together as a unit, with Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth taking 3 wickets each in the 2nd innings and VVS Laxman’s knock of 96runs and best of all bringing Pujara in the team instead of Suresh Raina.
The man of the match award went to the Very Very Special player, VVS Laxman who said in the presentation ceremony that “all the boys showed character”. Dhoni meanwhile will heave a sigh of relief this time as India won the match even though he lost the toss. He also said in the presentation ceremony “we are going to have a good new year and hopefully no one will get drunk”.
The 3rd and final test match in Cape Town will be interesting to say the least.