Sreesanth's performance propelled India

A brilliant performance from both the bowlers and the batsmen has put India in the driver's seat (03:36)

December 16, 2006

Transcript

South Africa v India, 1st Test, Jo'burg, 2nd day

Sreesanth's performance propelled India

December 16, 2006

India ended the second day right on top, with a lead of 311 runs and still 5 wickets in hand; India is in an excellent position from where they can drive home the advantage. This was mainly due to the good performance in the morning to extend the score to 249. But the star of the day was S Sreesanth - he bowled beautifully with the new ball, got the ball to swing late, got good seam positions going and it's been a long, long time since one has seen an outstanding bowling performance by India.

Sreesanth was well supported by Zaheer Khan, and the two in tandem rattled the South African top order. They were bowled out for just 84. Indian bowling deserves a lot of credit for they were much different from the South African bowlers; they got the ball in the right areas, pitched it up, got it to swing and tested all the South African batsmen. Once South Africa were bowled out for 84, all India had to do was end the day with a score in excess of 100 and have wickets in hand; and then they would be in a position to call the shots in the Test match.

Even though India lost a few early wickets, it was the partnership between VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly which changed the momentum. We have seen it twice in this match, that when there was a left hand and right hand combination batting together the pitch looked docile, runs came easily and the bowlers did not have any answers. The same was happening today till Ganguly threw his wicket away after applying himself. He looked at ease in the second innings, his footwork was assured, and he reached 25 and then got out to a pre-determined shot, a bottom edge through to the keeper off the bowling of Makhaya Ntini.

Laxman is still there, he is batting on 42 and the concentration was very good from his point of view. Also towards the end of the day the sting of the pitch seemed to have disappeared to an extent, especially the pace. Still there is enough for the bowlers, cracks will widen and spinners will play a huge role in the second innings; for India Anil Kumble will be licking his fingers to get a chance to bowl.

In order to allow the bowlers to bowl to their field, India would need to bat another session to feel safe in this Test match. If India can add 60-70 runs and set South Africa a target of around 375 then they would consider themselves in the driver's seat. No team has chased down 300 runs in the second innings at the Wanderers. The previous highest is 294 by Australia last year, and they got that losing 8 wickets. One would have to say that the South African batsmen have their work cut out for them, and it will be India who will call the shots.


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