Indian Board President's XI V South Africans, Mumbai, 2nd day October 31, 2015

De Villiers warms up with ton but SA struggle

ESPNcricinfo staff

Indian Board President's XI 296 (Rahul 72, Steyn 3-46) & 92 for 0 (Pujara 49*, Rahul 43*) drew with South Africans 302 (de Villiers 112, Thakur 4-70)

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Moonda: AB doing what he does best

AB de Villiers scored his fourth century of the tour to save the South African side's blushes after a collapse in the morning session on the second day of their tour game against the Indian Board President's XI. De Villiers and wicketkeeper Dane Vilas were the only specialist batsmen to score more than 25 after the rest fell to the young Indian pace pair of Shardul Thakur and Nathu Singh. The South African batsmen's short stays in the middle gave the tail-enders some time to get a feel of willow on leather and allowed the side's spinners another outing before the first Test next week.

None of the Board President's XI bowlers are in the Indian Test squad but Thakur made a case for himself with searing spells on both days. On Friday evening, Thakur removed Stiaan van Zyl and Simon Hamer and, on the second morning, he added the wickets of Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla to his tally.

Thakur's strategy was simple: assault the area outside off and draw batsmen forward with a fullish length. He beat Dean Elgar, du Plessis and Amla, and also induced inside edges from them - the first one from Amla dropped short of second slip - before du Plessis fell trying to flick Thakur on the legside and played down the wrong line. The bowler's lbw appeal was successful and the Board President's XI caused some early jitters for the tourists.

Amla's lean run continued, and Elgar also edged to slip, off Nathu Singh, to leave the South Africans looking vulnerable. They lost three wickets for three runs in the space of five overs, sunk to 57 for 5 and de Villiers found himself with a job to do. Suddenly what was supposed to be a practice match became a patience game.

Thakur continued to probe outside off, Nathu reined in his pace and concentrated on discipline instead, and de Villiers and Temba Bavuma waited it out.

Thakur's morning spell ended after 7.4 overs with returns of 2 for 20, and things began to get a little easier for the visitors. De Villiers' fine form continued - he found gaps and the boundary and pushed for runs - although Bavuma's main concern seemed centered on survival. Cheteshwar Pujara could have used that opportunity to bring on the spinners but he kept the quicks on and it paid off. Bavuma was also caught in the cordon to leave the South Africans shaky at 111 for 6.

Spin was finally introduced in the over before lunch and continued after the break but Vilas dealt with it well. He shared in a 115-run stand with de Villiers, built on creative batting and strike rotation - the run he took to reach his fifty was particularly risky - to give a glimpse of what he can offer in the middle order.

The small crowd that occupied the top tier of the main stand was more interested in de Villiers, and their chant of "ABD, ABD" grew louder with each shot he played. The pull and sweep were particularly well received but the drive down the ground to bring up his hundred was, by popular consent, the shot of the day.

Ultimately, spin worked for the Board President's XI, when Vilas was bowled around his legs by offspinner Jayant Yadav but the spark had been taken out of any semblance of a contest. De Villiers looked ready to bat all day but was also bowled by Yadav, and the Board President's XI may have hoped for a quick way through the rest of the line-up.

Instead, they had to put up with Dale Steyn and his license to thrill. Steyn smacked the first ball after tea over the long-on boundary for six, and kept going in that vein. He found the boundary six times after that while Philander played a more watchful knock, as he is expected to do in the Tests. Kuldeep Yadav accounted for both of them to ensure the South Africans only had a six-run lead. With less than a session to go, however, the margin was irrelevant.

More important was the shootout the South Africans seemed to having between Simon Harmer and Dane Piedt, who opened the bowling. Both were frenetic in trying to prove their worth and searched for wickets without success. Imran Tahir and Dean Elgar took over, resulting in consequences South Africa could rue. Tahir injured a finger while fielding in his follow-through and although he continued bowling, he left the field soon after.

The Board President's XI also benefited from the lengthy last session. KL Rahul and Pujara, their two batsmen who are in the Test squad, got a good look at South Africa's attack sans the frontline seamers. Pujara made up for his small contribution in the first innings with an unbeaten 49.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Reetam on November 1, 2015, 20:16 GMT

    @Jose: whatever u say sir, but have u ever seen ANY of the regular protea posters ever appreciating other teams/players/even saying stuff like 'congrats/deserved winners, etc..' to opp on losing. I would not like to bring up the games where they lost, but I think u wd have noticed that almost all of em do not comment on those forums. Heck they dont even appreciate neutral winners as well. They talk abt hate from us but what abt themselves. I fully agree wd @DC75. I am nt saying that all Indian posters are sensible here, but there are quite a few true cric lovers like u and many others who are from India and regularly make sensible comments. Our population maybe bigger than SA, but no probability can explain the fact that none of the regular SA posters appreciate opposition players/good cricket if it is from the opposition. As a footnote, I wud dearly like to add that Kohli's 4 centuries in Aus was definitely something special, dont think there are many who have done that b4 him.

  • Darius19880701 on November 1, 2015, 17:07 GMT

    indian fans now replicating the same behaviour as bangla fans they were outplayed in the t20 and odis now india will play SA in the format that they are number 1 so now ashwin and mishra will dominate our batsman what alot of bull

  •   Jose Puliampatta on November 1, 2015, 11:07 GMT

    @THE TWO PROTEA Posters; not the others.


    Please read the following:


    "Players like ABD,Steyn,Amla don't need to prove their greatness. As far as AB is concerned he is the best I hv seen after Sachin"


    It was one among the many written by Indian cricket fans. There are always aberrations. Anywhere. Do you want to verbally hang a whole country full of cricket fans, for the idiosyncrasies of a few?

    You would have seen /heard / read about the massive reception and show of affection shown to this SA team, by Indian fans in general. At many venues. Across this vast country. It would have been nice if you had displayed a bit more sense of proportion, befitting this Gandhi -Mandela series, being played by two fiercely competing but friendly teams.


  • Muzammil on November 1, 2015, 10:01 GMT

    @ProteaBest11, Come on mate. If they aren't losing sleep then you shouldn't either. look at Amla, averages over a hundred in India has a outstanding record in all conditions and the haters say he scores easy runs.

  • Indian on November 1, 2015, 9:34 GMT

    @PROTEA_BEST11 - You have no idea about India or Indians. It's not a nation built on hostile occupation or exploitation... an alien concept to most "new world" countries. They don't have time for hatred!

  • Shanmuga Nathan on November 1, 2015, 8:41 GMT

    @Jose sir, Like Talking_Cricket said, I always admire your comments, your great choice of words and knowledge on cricket. Keep going. This wonderful game called cricket needs fans like you to continue being popular as it is now.

  • Aakash on November 1, 2015, 8:03 GMT

    @Jose Sir i have become a fan of ur comments & ur choice of words . You seem to be a true follower of this great game.Great to have people like u on this forum.

  • Pride on November 1, 2015, 7:37 GMT

    @DC75 I do agree with you that they have more fans in India than in SA but that is due to India having a population of 5 billion and SA only has 50 million. I think they have more haters in Ind than anywhere else in the world. I don't mind all the hate, I doubt if AB or any SA fan will be losing any sleep for that but calling him a flat track bully?????? Next thing India fans will be claiming that Binny is a better alrounder than Kallis or Ashwin is a better spinner than Warne & Murali or Ishant Sharma is a better fast bowler that Steyn which is brainless.

  •   Jose Puliampatta on November 1, 2015, 7:32 GMT

    @3104SAMIR ON NOVEMBER 1, 2015, 7:00 GMT:

    Your comment about AB improving tremendously over time was a good one. But, before the "ink was dry", you smudged it with a totally unfounded statement about Sachin's early days as an International.

    Ignorance is pardonable, but public display of it is like painting one's face with black paint , oneself, that too standing in a public place.

  • FAN on November 1, 2015, 7:24 GMT

    here is a child who commented that ab deviliiers has never destroyed any quality bowler... why ru bringing muralitharan here... when he played against murali he was very young back then.. now he is prime form... he could have destroyed murali now if he wanted to... grow up mate.. i am indian too.. but give respect and credit to a batsman who will be in the list of all time greats..

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