Sunday, February 14, 2010

Zaheer-Bhajji duo flatten SA

Gorgeous hundred from Amla (114 from 166 balls) and a hundred on debut by Petersen (100 from 164 balls) pushed South Africa to a commanding position at tea break when it happened. Kallis decided to play a slog sweep but was done in by the top spinner from Harbhajan and by a good catch from VVS Laxman. The doors were open and the Indians gatecrashed into the South African party.

Brilliant centuries from South Africa's Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla were weakened by magnificent bursts from the duo Zaheer Khan (three for 77 from 21) and Harbhajan Singh (three for 60 from 23 overs) as India effected a stunning turnaround. They triggered a collapse that sent South Africa packing to 266 for 9 at stumps from a confident looking 218 for 1. The 25 overs of the last session produced an incredible 7 wickets for just 38 runs.

If it’s Eden Gardens, it has to be Harbhajan Singh. There is something about the venue that brings the best out of the ‘Turbanator’. Now ask about Harbhajan's future from Arthur.Hope you all remember his statement about bhajji two days back.

Earlier, after Dhoni lost the toss at Eden garden, Zaheer once again provided India with an early breakthrough, dismissing Graeme Smith in his second over.

The left-arm pacer was the only bowler for the first half of the day, who looked like taking a wicket. He exploited the early morning conditions and was the most consistent of the Indian bowlers. It was Zaheer who did all the hard work by dismissing both centurions, Amla and Petersen to set the stage nicely for Harbhajan to get into the act.

Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra also bolwed heart out though they got just one wicket each. Petersen, who had survived several good appeals for lbws, particularly against leg-spinner Amit Mishra.

The Teams:

India: M S Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince, J P Duminy, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris.

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