Zaheer Khan was the allround star

An allround performance put India in the driver's seat (03:52)

December 17, 2006

Transcript

South Africa v India, 1st Test, Jo'burg, 3rd day

Zaheer Khan was the allround star

December 17, 2006

At the end of the day 3, South Africa were left fighting with their backs to the wall - 163 for 5 still needing 239 runs to try and win the first Test match of the series. The day was once again dominated by the Indians. They played professionally all through the day, be it batting in the morning, the bowling throughout or the catching, which was simply outstanding.

The star of the day was Zaheer Khan. He contributed with the bat, a handy 37, and importantly gave company to VVS Laxman. Laxman batted beautifully for his 74 but it was Zaheer who guts-ed it out there, and once he got his eye in, and once the spinners were on he struck some lusty blows. His 37 runs were invaluable because it allowed India to propel the lead to 400. His was a very good performance.

Then when he came to bowl he induced an edge from Herschelle Gibbs in his very first over. Just one over to go for lunch and Gibbs played a loose shot to be caught in the slip cordon. Later in the day he pulled out a very good fielding effort to run out AB de Villers and that was at the time when India were searching for a wicket as de Villers and Ashwell Prince had put up a good partnership for South Africa. Zaheer has put a whole hearted performance in this Test match.

S Sreesanth was simply superb. He is the outstanding bowler in the game. Shaun Pollock bowled well for South Africa but Sreesanth has upstaged Pollock in this Test. He got the ball to swing away from the right handers, bowled in the corridor and he hardly bowled a single delivery on the leg stump to the right handers. He got the ball to bounce from the awkward areas and he was once again rewarded with 3 wickets. His wicket of Jacques Kallis was an example of classic bowling. He ran in tight, close to the stumps, kept the ball up and then bowled the sucker delivery from a little wide of the crease inducing a drive, the bat away from the body and Ganguly made no mistake in the slips.

What was very impressive about the Indians what the fact that they did not look to be in a hurry. They knew that they had the upper hand in the Test match. When they took the field they were prepared to be patient, they bowled in the right areas, and even though there was a partnership going they probed away and hence were rewarded with five important wickets. There is only Ashwell Price who is there for South Africa. He has looked the most comfortable of the South African batsmen in this Test. He had concentrated hard in the first innings and he has applied himself again in this innings. He is a gutsy customer; he is South Africa's leading run scorer in Test match cricket in the year 2006 and he is still there with a half century against his name.

Still, it's a real tall ask for the South Africans from here. The pitch still has plenty in it for the bowlers; some deliveries jumped off the length even today. Even when Sourav Ganguly came in to bowl today, he got one to jump on Kallis and surprise him out of nowhere.

One has to say that India is in the driver's seat.


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