South Africa lose quick wickets, reduced to 125/3 (Tea Report)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

CAPE TOWN - Hashim Amla struck a brisk half-century but India took two wickets in the second session to reduce the hosts to 125 for three at tea on the rain-interrupted first day of the third and final cricket Test at Newlands here Sunday.

Jacques Kallis (22) and Ab de Villiers (14) were at the crease.

Under an overcast sky, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s luck with the coin finally favoured and he didn’t hesitate to put South Africa in.

The South African batsmen, however, managed well to see off the moving deliveries and counter-attacked, not allowing the Indian bowlers to settle down to a consistent line.

South Africa scored quickly after play resumed following a rain-interrupted-break.

Ishant Sharma, who was getting the ball to dart around sharply, got rid of Alviro Petersen with a beautiful fuller-length delivery, inviting the batsman to drive and getting him to edge to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Amla, who has been in tremendous form against India this season, then changed gears and was the dominant partner in the 72-run stand with Kallis.

Amla struck nine fours and one six in his 80-ball knock.

Sreesanth, who was at the receiving end of Amla’s aggression, brought India back, dismissing Amla when the latter mistimed a pull and Cheteshwar Pujara at square-leg took the catch.

Earlier, India’s pace spearhead Zaheer Khan removed South African captain Graeme Smith before early lunch was called due to a drizzle, when South Africa was at 21 for one. Play had to be suspended after nine overs due to poor weather conditions.

Smith was trapped leg before in the seventh over before rain brought in the covers after two more overs.

Petersen struck S. Sreesanth for two fours in the second over before the seamer sorted out his length and bowled some probing deliveries.

Zaheer troubled the batsmen, extracting good movement from the surface.

Earlier, India, who are looking for their first series victory in South African after an emphatic series-levelling win at Durban, included regular opener Gautam Gambhir, who sat out the second Test due to an injury, in place of Murali Vijay.

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