Monday, February 8, 2010

Steyn put India on back foot

Dale Steyn changed the course of the match with devastating swing bowling. He brought alive the same strip where Indian bowlers struggled and collared the host team with a career-best figure of 7 for 51 in just 16.4 overs. World’s top Test team was flattened for a sorry figure of 233 in just 64.4 overs. Steyn finished the day with an incredible haul of eight wickets.

Quite ironically, exactly 58 years ago India had scripted its first Test victory against England in Chennai.

With his wrecker-in-chief Steyn in murderous mood and a lead of 325 runs, skipper Graeme Smith promptly asked India to follow-on. The touring captain, who had marshaled his resources and field brilliantly, threw the challenge once again to the opposition. Made to follow on, the demoralized Team India finished the day at 66 for 2.

With Sachin Tendulkar unbeaten at 15 and Murali Vijay at 27, both have some firewalking to do on day-four if India have to escape to a draw.

In the second innings, the two openers Gautam Gambhir (1) and Virender Sehwag (16) were guilty of failing to shut them out and get on with the job. The result was disastrous — both perished in quick succession, leaving India at 24 for 2 after 4.4 overs. The Steyn-Morkel duo had struck again.
Earlier, just 11 overs into the day’s proceedings and South Africans had achieved what they had set out for — Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar were packed off by the Dale Steyn-Morne Morkel duo. India were left numb at 56 for 3.

In the end, India lost its last six wickets in 42 deliveries, with Steyn picking up five of them. The fast bowler finished with an awe-inspiring figure of 7 for 51 in just 16.4 overs. The only other wicket was claimed by left-arm spinner Paul Harris, who had Dhoni caught behind. Indian innings folded at 233.

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