Update at Stumps on Day 2
India recovered towards 92 for 4 in 30.5 overs before bad light prevented any further action on an eventful second day's play at Kingsmead. As many as 18 wickets fell down on this crazy second day but India are slightly on the frontfoot with a lead of 166 runs. A solid partnership between Laxman and Pujara which has occupied the crease for 16.4 overs so far has kept India's hopes high of getting to a safe lead. The duo have put up only 36 runs but have managed to calm the situation for the visitors with their disciplined application. At Stumps, Laxman has got to 23 from 59 balls (with 4 fours) and Pujara has worked hard for his 10 from 51 balls.
The visitors started their second innings straight after the Tea Break and they got off to a good start from Sehwag and Vijay.South Africa could break this partnership only in the 10th over after conceding 42 runs when Sehwag (32 from 31 balls with 6 fours) nicked his attempted big shot off a widish length delivery from Tsotsobe to the keeper.Vijay (9) fell in the next over when he gloved a nasty lifter from Morne Morkel to shortleg. In the very next over, Rahul Dravid (2) edged a juicy outswinger from Tsotsobe to the keeper in an attempted cover drive.
At 48 for 3, India wasn't in huge trouble thanks to the precious first innings lead but when Tendulkar got out to Steyn in the 15th over, it was SA bouncing back strongly in the match reducing the score to 56 for 4. Tendulkar (6) pushed at a late outswinger from Steyn to get a thich edge which was brilliantly caught by AB de Villiers to his right at third slip. The Proteas couldn't make any further inroads after this as Laxman and Pujara were determined to hold fort and see the day through and the fading light gave a temporary relief for them.
Tea on Day 2
South Africa collapsed dramatically for a paltry 131 in 37.2 overs to concede a sizeable lead of 74 runs to India. Harbhajan Singh joined the party after Lunch to take four quick wickets. The hosts added only 57 runs losing six wickets in about 20 overs of the afternoon session.
India had to work hard to get its first wicket after Tea and it came when Hashim Amla missed a pretedermined sweep shot to an arm ball from Harbhajan Singh to get plumb infront of off and middle. Amla settled for a modest 33 from 46 balls with 5 fours while SA got reduced to 96 for 5 in the 26th over. In the very next over, Ashwell Prince (13) dragged his backfoot drive off Zaheer onto the stumps to open the door for the clean up job for the Indians.In th e 30th over, Harbhajan Singh produced a well disguised top spinner just outside off and Steyn playing for the off break edged it and got brilliantly caught by Dravid at slip who dived to his left to hang onto a half chance! Harbhajan then swallowed Paul Harris with a bat pad edge that was nicely caught to the right by Pujara at shortleg.
South Africa managed to put up some resistance after this through Boucher and Morkel but it was broken by Ishant who came back for a new spell. Morkel (10) went for a pull shot off a rising delivery from Ishant which flew off the top edge to square fine leg and Harbhajan Singh ran back to hold onto a superb overhead catch! Morkel added 24 runs with Boucher for the 9th wicket. Last man - Lonwabso Tsotsobe presented a cheap wicket to Harbhajan as he slogged the off spinner straight into the hands of mid wicket. Boucher remained helplessly unbeaten on 16 as SA folded to 131 all out. Zaheer with 13-2-36-3 and Harbhajan with 7.2-2-10-4 have brought India seriously back in this series with their wicket taking abilities.
Lunch on Day 2
South Africa went to Lunch on Day 2 at a shaky 74 for 4 after bowling out India for 205 within an hour this morning. Zaheer Khan provided the opening for India by taking two wickets and then Ishant with a run out and Sreesanth chipped in to help India bounce back strongly in this Second Test.
It was by the end of the 5th over that India found its first breakthrough when Zaheer got one to angle in but leave the left handed Graeme Smith (9) late to force an edge to the keeper. A few overs later, Zaheer got his second wicket when Alviro Petersen (24 from 39 balls) shuffled back for a flick but didn't get hold of it and the ball hit the edge of the thigh pad and dragged itself onto the leg stump. India's hopes of getting more wickets looked bleak as Zaheer didn't get good support from the wayward Sreesanth. However in the 16th over, a wicket came out of nowhere when Jacques Kallis was tragically run out backing at the non-striker's end. Ishant Sharma got this run out while deflecting a backfoot straight drive from Amla unknowingly onto the stumps to have Kallis (10) in trouble.
At the stroke of Lunch, Sreesanth who got a change of ends struck gold when he got one to kick up around off to hit the glove off AB de Villiers (0) in a backfoot defence and it was another catch for MS Dhoni behind the stumps.
Early on, India resuming at 183 for 6 were bowled out for 205 in less than 10 overs this morning. Harbhajan Singh (21) was the first to go as he pushed at a Steyn delivery with hard hands to be brilliantly caught by the diving AB de Villiers at third slip. Steyn got a five-wicket haul with that. In the 62nd over, Morne Morkel finally got his first wicket when he had Zaheer Khan edging him behind to the keeper with one that held its line around off. MS Dhoni after a fighting 35 from 57 balls (with 3 fours and a six) perished next after smashing Steyn straight into the safe hands of Petersen at sweeper covers. The last man to fall was Sreesanth who miscued a slog off Morkel to be caught behind in the very first ball he faced.
Steyn finished with rich figures of 19-6-50-6 while Morkel and Tsotsobe picked up two wickets each. India added only 22 more runs today before losing its final four wickets.
- BV Swagath