Jan. 3: Barring a collapse, India should enter the home stretch of the three-Test series in the ascendancy. Unbeaten knocks from Gautam Gambhir (65) and Sachin Tendulkar (49) put the visitors just ahead of South Africa after the momentum had lurched violently from one end to the other for most of the day in the third and final Test at Newlands here on Monday.
At close on Day Two, India were steady at 142/2 with the duo having put on an unbroken 114-run stand for the third wicket in the face of some testing bowling from Dale Steyn and Co. They are miles behind South Africa’s 362 in the first innings that had been constructed solely on the shoulders of Jacques Kallis’ 161, but could easily have been in further trouble, having lost their first two wickets with 28 on board.
India were well ahead at the start though, with Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (5/114) adding three more wickets to his two of Day One, and looked set to run through the line up. But Kallis played magnificently and, once again, was the mainstay of the South African batting line-up. His 52-run partnership with tail-ender Lonwabo Tsotsobe frustrated the Indian attack before Zaheer Khan eventually had the all-rounder caught behind to close out the innings.
The Indians, in reply, lost Virender Sehwag (13) and Rahul Dravid (5) shortly before tea to leave the game in the balance, before the Gambhir-Tendulkar combine soothed frayed nerves. Tendulkar’s only scare came on 24 when left-arm spinner Paul Harris thought he had trapped him lbw but umpire Simon Taufel gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt with replays showing the ball would have hit the outside of leg stump.
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