A classic case of believing in your ability

A historic win for India; they have South Africa on the mat and should now drive home the advantage (03:41)

December 18, 2006

Transcript

South Africa v India, 1st Test, Jo'burg, 4th day

A classic case of believing in your ability

December 18, 2006

India have registered a historic win, their first ever in South Africa; they have won the match convincingly and by a commanding margin of 123 runs. They had to be patient because they were stalled for a bit by Shaun Pollock who played a little cameo. He made 40 off just 39 balls and, while he was there, you could just see the Indians getting a bit worried. But the good thing from the outset was that they were patient. They have been patient right through the game and that's where they got the better of South Africa.

The Indians started of in good fashion with a couple of early wickets. There was a wicket for Zaheer Khan who dismissed Mark Boucher, someone who loves situations like this and was the ideal man there batting with Ashwell Prince. He is a kind of player who revels in situations like this and would have played attacking cricket but he was dismissed early on without adding to his overnight score. He went for 23 and that really got the Indians going.

Pollock was dismissed by Anil Kumble, who picked up the wicket of Andre Nel. All in all, it was a disciplined effort by India all through this morning. They were anxious, yet at the same time they got the balls in the right areas. In the end, the wickets were shared - 3 each for Sreesanth, Kumble and Zaheer. Zaheer had an outstanding game, and Sreesanth was awarded the Man of the Match, rightly so because he was the one who rattled South Africa's batting order and to bowl them out for a meager 84.

India outplayed South Africa in all forms of the game in this Test match. Now the South African team will be worried going to Durban. They will come back hard but they have got some problems that they have to address. Their batting order, right from Jacques Kallis, is struggling, and none of the players will be playing any first-class cricket before the Durban game and that should be a cause of worry for the South African selectors.

India have shown a lot of character. It's not easy after being battered in the one-day series and then they had that 10-day halt to get their act right. It's a classic case of the team believing in their ability. They were united as an outfit and what was good to see was that it was a collective effort and not an individual effort. There were performances by lots of players. The senior players like Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman did their job admirably. Even the youngsters, someone like Sreesanth, bowled outstandingly. It's been a long time since a young Indian fast bowler has bowled so well. The presentation of the team right through the game was something worth watching.

Now South Africa have their work cut out for the next Test in Durban. They will have to be careful what message they send, as far as the pitches are concerned. If they have a bit of grass and the surface is hard then India can exploit it as well. And that's the way Indians should think now, they should think win. They have got South Africa on the mat and it's time to drive home the advantage.


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