Zaheer, Harbhajan peg India back into reckoning (Tea report)

Monday, December 27, 2010

DURBAN - India bounced back in the second Test, courtesy some brilliant bowling from Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, to pack off South Africa for 131 in the first innings on the second day of the second cricket Test here Monday.

Zaheer (3-36) and Harbhajan (4-10) packed off South Africa in 37.2 overs. India now lead by 74 runs after having been bowled out for 205 in the first innings.

South Africa, who were struggling at 74 for four at lunch, folded up dramatically to lose their last six wickets for 35 runs in 20.4 overs forcing an early tea.

Pace spearhead Zaheer’s return made a difference. The left-arm seamer, who missed out the first Test due to a hamstring injury, toiled hard to keep South Africa on the backfoot.

After lunch it was Harbhajan Singh and some fine catching from the visitors that triggered South Africa’s downfall.

Hashim Amla (33) was trapped in front as he attempted to sweep Harbhajan. Zaheer then cleaned up Ashwell Prince.

Rahul Dravid took a spectacular reflex catch diving to his left to remove Dale Steyn while Cheteswar Pujara held another splendid bat-pad to get rid of Paul Harris. Harbhajan got both the wickets.

Harbhajan was again in the thick of action when he caught a Morne Morkel skier at third man after Ishant Sharma set-up the fast bowler with sharp bouncers.

Harbhajan picked the last man Lonwobe Tsotsobe, who was caught by Murali Vijay at mid-wicket.

Earlier, India were bowled out for 205 after adding 22 runs to their overnight total of 183 for six. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35) scored 15 of those runs, including a six off Dale Steyn, but perished in the deep while attempting another big hit.

Zaheer, who returned to the side after missing out the first Test at Centurion with a hamstring injury, bowled beautifully to pin down the South African openers. The left-handed Zaheer got the ball to seam around. He did not have to wait long for the reward as South African captain Graeme Smith, who has often been at Zaheer’s receiving end, edged behind.

Zaheer then removed Alviro Peterson (24), who moved across, allowing the ball to hit his leg stump.

But Zaheer did not get good support from the other end with both Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma lacking consistency in their line and length.

Amla and Jacques Kallis (10) added 30 runs and were looking good when India got the latter out with a stroke of luck. Kallis backed up far too ahead and Ishant got his fingertips to the straight shot from Amla that hit the wicket and found him out of his crease.

Sreesanth, who was bowling wayward till then, suddenly bowled an unplayable delivery that swung late to kiss the gloves of AB de Villiers and Dhoni gobbled an easy catch.

will not be displayed