South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day

Tendulkar and Steyn sizzle in a battle for the ages

To appreciate Sachin Tendulkar's effort today - his fourth century off his first innings in each of the last four years - it is important to appreciate the most exciting bowler in world cricket at his best

Sidharth Monga at Newlands

January 4, 2011

Comments: 191 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar reaches his 51st Test century, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day, January 4, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar's 51st Test ton was made special by the quality of bowling it came against © AFP

Years later, or weeks later, or days later, when they talk about this series, regardless of the result, they will talk about two Dale Steyn spells that started the first two sessions of the third day of the Cape Town Test. Perhaps the 11 best overs anyone can bowl for just two wickets. It was perfect outswing bowling at high pace, often pitching leg, missing off, too often too good for the batsmen. And if it can be considered possible, after that wicketless first spell, Steyn came out to bowl even better. If one were to strain and look for a possible criticism, it was that he bowled just one straighter one and two bouncers in the first chunk of five overs. Everything else was close to perfect. There wasn't even a no-ball; loose balls were a distant thought altogether.

To appreciate Sachin Tendulkar's effort today - his fourth century off his first innings in each of the last four years - it is important to appreciate the most exciting bowler in world cricket at his best. It was just such a day of Test cricket. Of the 66 balls from hell that Steyn bowled in those two spells, which went for 13 runs and took two wickets, Tendulkar negotiated 48. In that mix of some masterful defending, some luck (he could not have survived that without luck), and huge responsibility, is the difference between India's being even and being woefully behind by the end of the third day.

There was no counterattack there: Steyn was too hot to touch for that. It was good old-fashioned buckling down, doing your best and hoping that the good deliveries are too good for the edge. Then again, Tendulkar played five back-to-back Steyn overs for 10 runs - six of them unintentional - and in this modern world, that calls for an injudicious shot to release the incredible pressure. He reserved the releasing of pressure for Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who bowled well too, but in comparison to Steyn he was like Mother Teresa. Calculated risks were taken: the premeditated pull and the upper-cut in Tsotsobe's first over of the day.

Tendulkar had tired Steyn down, Gautam Gambhir had done the same to Morne Morkel, and with some sort of authority established over Tsotsobe's bowling, it was time for Tendulkar to reap the rewards for the hard work in the first hour. As South Africa awaited the new ball, out came the delicate run-scoring shots, the drives through cover and extra cover, the check drives straight down the ground, the nudges, the paddle sweeps, and the steers to third man. Then, as he approached his century and also the second new ball, Tendulkar saw Gambhir get out, and contributed to Laxman's dismissal through a lovely straight hit off Paul Harris. Time, again, for the old-fashioned Test batting to kick in.

This time he was surer with Steyn, coming well forward to defend, using soft hands, and leaving better, sometimes perilously close to off stump. That couldn't be said of Cheteshwar Pujara, who got an unplayable one from Steyn, and MS Dhoni. Three of Tendulkar's four recent new-year centuries have featured partnerships with the tail - in Sydney, in Chittagong and here. It is something we don't appreciate often enough with Tendulkar, because those after him have in the past inflicted heartbreak on him.

Today, Tendulkar took the responsibility again. He shielded Harbhajan Singh from Steyn, and asked him to go after the others. It worked. And in a strange show of outdoing MS Dhoni in terms of defensive captaincy, Smith spread out the fields. That was the only downer on a perfect day of Test cricket, but Tendulkar would have taken it any day. He started manoeuvring the strike, and soon even Harbhajan saw spread-out fields. The partnership bloomed, and Tendulkar got surer, better and more severe on loose deliveries. Even through those deep fields, Tendulkar found runs, hitting Harris for a six over long-off, driving Morkel through the covers, and cutting between the third man and deep point to take couples to retain strike.

If respect from the opponent were a yardstick to measure an effort, Tendulkar came out glowingly from his examination today. Even though on the field, Steyn had a verbal go at Tendulkar, and even though the series is now getting a bit ugly as it approaches its end, Steyn has this to say about Tendulkar's innings: "Sachin is a really good player. I have heard one or two guys remark about the speed and everything I have been bowling at, but he is such a good player, there is no point wasting your energy bowling at him. You tend to save your energy and tend to bowl at other guys. If you bowl a good bowl to him, or a No. 11 batter, it's going to remain a good ball. So it was a good contest going on."

Tendulkar's role in making today one of the best days of Test cricket in recent memory cannot be overstated. But for him, it would have been a much more memorable day for Steyn and South Africa, but we would not have been entertained as much as we were. If Rafael Nadal hadn't come around, we would have remembered Roger Federer's incredible shots, not his matches.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by harshthakor on (January 7, 2011, 3:50 GMT)

Sachin Tendulkar's best effort in recent times against great pace bowling.Sachin battled like a tiger in the woods exhibiting his phenomenal temerament in all situations.Steyn's sustained fast bolwing was one of the fastest spells I have ever seen in South Afrrica in addition to superb use of seam and swing.It proves that the little genius can stand up agaisnt the best pace bolwing ,reminding you of the scraps betwen Dennis Lillee and Viv Richards.Tendulkar had his share of luck,with some decisons favouring him and almost getting out caught behind twice.

Again a superb achievement for Sachin scoring 2 centuries at 78+i in his last series in South Africa-like winning an Olympic gold medal!

Posted by Thesonofg on (January 6, 2011, 3:46 GMT)

I am sorry that I was not there to witness this. My belief is that there is nothing like two exceptional players plying their trade on the cricket field. I have never seen Steyn bowling live but from reports he is top class. So, trying to pry out Sachin would have been reason to show that pedigree. CLASSIC indeed!!

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 6, 2011, 2:29 GMT)

@Beazle: Never wanted to give you any attention (you DON"T deserve), but could not resist...Do you know Sachin personally??? LOL.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 6, 2011, 2:20 GMT)

AS on today (before today's play) the least average for Sachin outside of IND in any other country is 40.00 (in ZIM). And in swinging conditions in AUS, SA and ENG he averages 45.88, 58.33 and 62.00 respectively. In remaining other countries, he averages ***MORE THAN*** 49.00 except PAK (40.25), where cricket is almost impossible. I have no idea what other else stat is needed for Sachin to prove his greatness when some ignorants say that Sachin needs to come out of the bubble and his fans should coax him to do that or else he won't improve his oeverseas record. See now?? Now tell us, who is living in the bubble???

Posted by FAIRSELECTOR on (January 6, 2011, 1:05 GMT)

Goodness me...heck lot of pokes at me...I'm not saying that Steyn is a bad bowler. He is the best bowler at the moment...but far from being all time great ...Sachin isn't great anymore and never has been great in Tests as I've been watching him his entire cricketing career apart from his counterparts...though he will be as great as anyone in no means he can be bestowed with greatness for his prolific scoring...just happens to be, he is getting used to scoring runs which makes him a mere run machine....coming to the match the way sachin played him makes Steyn unplayable...

Posted by Taurean21 on (January 5, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

Tendulkar's inning on the 3rd day of the 3rd test match in ongoing series in an awesome display of batting skills. Equal praise for Dale Steyn for superb early morning spells. This match is going to be an an equal opportunity for both the teams.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

339 is a big total when they have only one day to chase,its a chance for SA to keep pressurize india from the start. He we have quality cricket from both teams..... c'mon SA..

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 18:36 GMT)

Dale Steyn would be in a very magnificent form tomorrow.If Indian team can get away with him tomorrow they would be able to save the match.

Paul Harris may also do well in the Bowling, though surprisingly. Morne Morkel will also be performing well.

Amongst Indian Batsmen Rahul Dravid,MS Dhoni and Sachin to play well.2nd Session not good for India as it wont suit Dhoni.

Posted by anserazim on (January 5, 2011, 17:30 GMT)

Do not compare!! just enjoy cricket where these two greats are playing against each other!! they are just brilliant and it is stupid to say anything against them in my opinion....anser azim Chicago

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 17:28 GMT)

Guys, Lets not compare Kallis with Any one in the cricketing era. He is a wonderful cricketer any country will be proud of having in the team. He is consider one among the top list of the batsmans but his alrounder skills is not comparable with any one. SA always have a cushion of playing a bowler less when kallis is in the team. In test 12K runs, 270 Wkts and 166 catches in ODI 11K runs, 259 Wkts and 116 catches and at the current age (35) he is in his lifetime peak form. No one is going to emaculate kallis records in the near future. Best of Luck kallis for your future achivements. I would like to see you reaching 50+ Centuries very soon b/c you deserve it.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 17:08 GMT)

India need another Magic Innings from LAX !!! ?

Posted by vivvi on (January 5, 2011, 17:02 GMT)

the pitch is dead now ,if india can hang on against the new ball ,with the soft ball there are loads of runs avilable ,the wicket is completely dried out cos of two days of sun,the good thing for india was smith used a heavy roller yesterday ,and it backfired in a different way by giving harbajan bounce of broken ruff ,it was almost gone when india took second new ball,dhoni will certainly go for light roller ,the pitch will be as crisp as a biscut literally simillar to sharjah or good old ma chidambaram during june-july on a 3rd day , if shewag stays we are in for a ride, even he gets out 3.7 rpo i back india to get it. remember aussies got 311 ,its the same track

Posted by LazloWoodbine on (January 5, 2011, 16:54 GMT)

I tell you what, I wouldn't want to be Sachin for all the money in the world! Don't get me wrong, it's nothing to do with his obvious talent and class. No, it's the degree of praise/ criticism this poor guy gets for EVERYTHING he does! If he gets 100 off 20 balls, there'd be cries of "Oh, it was the first innings/ He's playing for his strike rate". If he gets 0, "What an over-rated player/ Knew he wouldn't manage". Actually, he gets nailed/ hailed irrespective. How he has kept motivated with such a critical/ uncritival fan-base is amazing. I watched an interview with him after close of play today (with Dr Ali Bacher) where he spoke of the pressure Indian fans put him under. He's one man. A great? Yes. God-like? No. Give the guy a break, will ya?

Posted by Beazle on (January 5, 2011, 16:37 GMT)

Yes- Kallis is a better batsman than Tendulkar who is just a self obsessed average concerned batsman.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 16:34 GMT)

This is one of my all time best spell of bowling ever seen... Just unmatchable...

Posted by VVS.Laxman on (January 5, 2011, 15:48 GMT)

Couldn't fathom why Steyn did not appeal convincingly when SRT edged the 2nd ball of the day.

Posted by RealPablo on (January 5, 2011, 14:48 GMT)

WE have been lucky to enjoy the entire series -Kallis, Sachin, VVS, Zaheer, Steyn and Morkel - but the Sten V Sachin was something else altogether. No cricket lover would want this series to end - can we please scrap meaningless ODIs and T20s and have proper 5 test series again?

Posted by cooljack_143 on (January 5, 2011, 13:37 GMT)

This INCONSISTENT INDIAN cricket will hurt the fans a big time.SA 121/5 and now 217/6 what a pity.Indians are very good at bringing the out of form batsmen back to form , and here Boucher today.Something to do with the captaincy too not to use the right bowlerat the correct time.SA above 200 are truely on top.Let the best team win.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 13:15 GMT)

Dhoni's defensive captaincy has again ruined it for India. He has set fields that has allowed the batsmen to take easy singles and twos. Where was the control that India had in Durban ? Unless India strike soon, SA will reach 250 which will be a winning total.And Ishant bowled atleast one boundary ball every over. He is not able to generate swing and has lost his pace. India can think of Munaf Patel or Abhimanyu Mithun to replace him for the future Tests.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 13:13 GMT) Oh really!! You mean that whatever runs scored in the first innings is useless? So lets say Sachin and Gambhir got out cheaply. India would have been bundled for 150. And with a 200 run lead conceded, what would be the use of a 50 in the second innings?

Posted by jupiterlaw on (January 5, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

It's time for Sachin to convert one of these hundreds to a triple century so that he can stand alongside Lara Bnd bradman and the 18 others who have joined that club. With 51 centuries, that is really a lot of feeding at the botton. Twenty years is enough time to get to the top of the tree and savour the the sweeter fruits in the company of Bradman and Lara. Sachin we need you in the 300 club, you don't have much time left.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

To appreciate Sachin Tendulkar's effort today - his fourth century off his first innings in each of the last four years - it is important to appreciate the most exciting bowler in world cricket at his best!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

"If Rafael Nadal hadn't come around, we would have remembered Roger Federer's incredible shots, not his matches". Great Observation. What a way to end an article.:)

Posted by Johnny_129 on (January 5, 2011, 11:19 GMT)

@NRI11 - Sehwag's good BUT he really needs to make more consistent contributions in the second innings AND improve his performance over-all outside of the sub-continent! We need a bit of honest feedback in order to demand improvement or the players will happily remain in their bubble. I would be most happy if Sehwag can begin his revival in the second innings of the current match.

Posted by kdcricket on (January 5, 2011, 11:04 GMT) with this first and second innings thing...teams should stop playing first innings and start playing second ones only...if it were so easy to score 1st innings runs...remember in pitches like these the you have moisture in the pitch only for the first half and hence batting is more difficult...Batting usually gets easier(pitch dries out)...especially for subcontinental teams in the second innings...So this innings of Sachin is doubly important when compared to a second innings century...Anyways we shud not forget the century in the chase of 387 against England very recently

Posted by BellCurve on (January 5, 2011, 10:55 GMT)

I have a lot more respect for team India and for Tendulkar now than two months ago. They have already done themselves proud and proven that they are worthy of their No1 ranking. On a slightly more negative note: Sehwag has again proved that he is only effective in batsman-friendly conditions, and poor Dravid looks old and tired. SA need to consider replacing Prince with Duminy, Petersen with Rudolph and Tsotsobe with Philander.

Posted by TheBigFatFlapjack on (January 5, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

Mr. writer, did you originally mean to write a fair and unbalanced article on two current greats of cricket and how both each of them have shone through despite inconsistencies among their team mates - and then after the 3rd paragraph totally got carried away with the 'best ever sportsman" aka Sachin Tendulkar and went on and on glorifying his innigns while totally forgetting Dale Steyn too has performed brilliantly?

Posted by Chona on (January 5, 2011, 10:40 GMT)

@Harish Gowda I think STEYN is already by far the best fast bowler in the world.........he does not need anything more to prove in future........he will just add up laurels...........

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 10:38 GMT)

OMG if people are saying the tendulkar (our lord) is playing selfishly then they should try and face steyn at 145km per hr and swinging it more than any1 could spin it and survived to tell the tale, omfg people omfg.....

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 10:35 GMT)

@ koushik hit the nail on the head mate....that's absolutely right, back in the days of richards and gavaskar and border, the excellent bits of play used to be when express pace and swing bowling was up against stoic defence and intelligent shot selection...which is what happened here...too bad some people lack the general know how of how things work....

Posted by Dr.Vindaloo on (January 5, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

Steyn bowled a similar spell against England last winter when SA were trying to bowl England out on the last day. Collingwood resisted him in much the same way that Tendulkar did yesterday - ie with courage and good judgement and not a little luck. England ended nine down and saved the match. Who knows whether SRT's knock will be a matchwinner. We'll find out soon enough.

Posted by thecardiacnerd on (January 5, 2011, 10:20 GMT)

A compellin stat.. below is a list of the avg, 100's and inn/100 at an equal stage and currnt stage for da 3 modrn gr8s. the list includs 145 compltd matchs fr tendulkar n ponting and 145th fr kallis. kallis finally is gttin sum long due credt. His avg is da bst among al 3 at an equal stage. i am real big fan... bravo kallis

nw fr sachin stats... he has the bst inn/100 ratio of 6.07at the 145th match stage whch ha nw cum dwn to 5.66...hurray. sachin stands scnd only to da DON who is at 2.41...freakish huh.

as for ponting as much as luv his a playr of such elite category he really isnt dat rspctd.

long live da DON.. n Long play the MASTER..

name mat inn NO runs HS Avg 100 inn/100 inn/100 at prsnt

ponting 146 247 27 12026 257 54.66 39 6.33 259/39 = 6.64 Tndlkar 146 237 25 11782 248* 55.57 39 6.07 289/51 = 5.66 Kallis 145* 245 37 11838 201* 56.91 39 6.28 245/39 = 6.28

Posted by StJohn on (January 5, 2011, 10:19 GMT)

@swaroopjammula, @the_dynamite_kid - thanks for clarifying, I didn't see the match, just clips on the news and Cricinfo commentary, so didn't know the ball had not carried {interesting, Cricinfo commentary didn't seem to say it didn't carry!). @iluvtest - call me old fashioned though, but if the batsman knows he has edged it & there is no doubt that it carried/was taken cleanly & it's not a no-ball, then I think it's good sportsmanship to walk. That doesn't arise in this scenario as the ball didn't carry. But I'd like to think that we could retain a stronger code of sportsmanship in cricket (it's been eroded in recent years), because that's one of the things that sets cricket apart from other sports. Just look at some of the frankly disgraceful conduct by footballers to see what can happen when sportspeople lose that moral compass - diving, fouling, blatant handballing, an attitude that if the ref doesn't spot it then it's OK even though they know it's wrong... Not a good way to go!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 10:12 GMT)

@Vizhal.... Come on man, if Sachin hasn't played sucha innings,Indiawill be downlike first test match. so dont go n tell that he is selfish. He is a great player.

Posted by anonymousfan on (January 5, 2011, 9:04 GMT)

SA being roasted slowly by Bhajji. 74/4 lol.

Posted by ttk_2007 on (January 5, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

Apart from a gutsy innings SRT showed awesome maturity. So many times Steyn tried to provoke him and Bhajji. Bhajji's reaction is just predictable, but SRT was just smiling. His job is much more meaningful than responding to Steyn verbally. It is impossible to uproot an old banyan tree with an air blower. Hope Indian dressing room and the young stars are watching this very closely. It is a chance of a lifetime to watch, learn and appreciate the little (big heart-ed) master. Kudos...

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 8:34 GMT)

It was truly a great contest and thats the best thing about test cricket. Dale Steyn is the best bowler in the world at the moment, and to face such a bowler and to score a ton against such a team .....Only the best batsmen in the world can do it. Sachin showed his class once again. He is the modern great.

Posted by crazycuts on (January 5, 2011, 8:31 GMT)

nobody can compare kalis & tendulkar..tendulkar is class apart..he is genius..truely no 1 batsman...

Posted by Pathiyal on (January 5, 2011, 8:30 GMT)

finest display of cricket from the little master and from the best bowler in the world. steyn was able to put pressure on sachin throughout his spell and thats something very rare to see. i thought oh, there is some one in the world who can keep the legend quiet for a while. having said that, it was just the experience of the batsman which made him survive the difficult situation to an extent. kudos to both o them.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 8:26 GMT)

smith must be criticised n removed as captain for tiring styen(which will only shorten n spoil his career n his talent) by not using a 1 more pacer like mclaren. instead he's using harris n 7 batsmen.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 5, 2011, 8:25 GMT)

I only hope ICC considers the fans' request here on this page and scraps the limited-overs matches in this series and inserts a Test or two. NOW.

Posted by Proteas123 on (January 5, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

@ Nampally - Sachin has played exceptionally well and is great but why do you need run down Kallis. He is also incredibily good and if one is a better batsman than the other it is not by much. Saying he wouldn't be able to take on Steyn is very short sitted, maybe he would have the same luck, maybe he wouldn't. Looking forward to a close finish.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 5, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

Please ignore those Sachin-haters. They won't show their faces now. AT LEAST not today. Not today when we have witnessed few of the greatest moments of test cricket on the third day of this amazing test. Who cares about them when the Real Men who matter - Donald, McGrath, Warne and a few more - AGREE and ADMIT that: Sachin was the Best they ever bowled to. Lara only comes second.

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 5, 2011, 8:10 GMT)

It's an illusion that Steyn dominated Sachin. Let's remember that Sachin is playing in his Last-quarter of his career. NOT HIS PEAK. He is playing at a stage when most other good and even great batsmen retire and enjoy milk-shakes on sunny beach.

Posted by prashant1 on (January 5, 2011, 8:09 GMT)

Replays clearly showed the ball grounded before it went into Boucher's gloves. Which match are these people watching anyway?

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (January 5, 2011, 8:05 GMT)

The MOST credit goes not only to Steyn (5-wicket haul) and Sachin (century) but to the PITCH-MAKERS would made such a beautiful pitch where it is possible for a match to enter the 5th day inspite of so much thrills and ups and downs. That is how a pitch should be. Where every run and every wicket MUST be EARNED.

Posted by on (January 5, 2011, 7:49 GMT)

What a waste of an innings by world's most selfish batsman. Firstly, it came up in the first innings of the match, so no great deal. I would accept his greatness if he had scored half of these runs in the second innings. As everyone here knows, runs in the second innings are more important to the team's cause.

Posted by Apolloniac on (January 5, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

This has to be one of the greatest bat/ball battles I've ever seen. Both Sachin and Dale did the great game of cricket proud today and vindicated my stubborn (if archaic) belief in the fact that the real beauty of cricket is in tests. GO CRICKET!

Posted by mohamed1984 on (January 5, 2011, 7:44 GMT)

Can any one say that sachin played for himself today or he played to boost his average ? Friends no can play on all days which includes sachin as well. circumstances some time go against you. If not he played that innings today india should be well out of the game. So please dont say that sachin doestn't play when the team demands atleast after watching this game!!!

Posted by nuzrai on (January 5, 2011, 7:38 GMT)

Both sachin and steyn are superb..... SA lacks a quality spinner and a good third seamer to win all the matches....They have to consider imran thahir soon.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

@FAIRSELECTOR you seem to be from a different planet, if you don't think what you saw was Godlike. True, everyone is entitled to an opinion... but you don't seem to appreciate the best in test cricket. If you call this 'normal' bowling/batting, I suggest you try and take up cricket yourself and see what it feels like.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 7:26 GMT)

St John

The ball bounced before it got into Boucher's gloves. Why would anyone walk if the ball was not even caught in the first place? :p

Posted by moBlue on (January 5, 2011, 7:25 GMT)

@ srikanth_d wasn't *that* something to behold? i mean, we all saw how steyn had a hypnotic magnet pull dhoni from the line he fully intended to play and instead chase the ball as it curved away, thus managing only to edge the ball which was too quick for him to cover the line of the late swing! tendulkar made the same mistake on ball #2 of the day, but was lucky that the ball didn't carry to boucher, and instead bounced in front! but *that* is what makes sachin great! he learned, stood outside the crease by a foot or so, strode forward, and most importantly, never made *that* mistake again of trying to play the "curving" line! that discipline he showed - when he decided *not* to shoulder arms, as he did to the obvious "earlier" outswingers - is why he survived and scored a hundred! did you notice that pujara was doing the same thing pretty well too? too bad he got an unplayable fast ***late*** outswinger pitching on leg stump, and straightening to middle! pujara could be special!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 7:23 GMT)

Steyn, what a magician! I LOVEDD watching him bowl although i was supporting India..haha. He will easily become one of the best fast bowlers to have EVER played the game.

Steyn, there are easily a few million admirers of you in India! Now,please dont take any more wickets in this match so that we can win! :P

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 7:21 GMT)

Great piece Siddharth..and food for thought...Who is Rafael nadal in the piece !!!!

Posted by moBlue on (January 5, 2011, 7:11 GMT)

you know how they have art interpretation and classical music listening classes? maybe i should start a "how to watch cricket on TV and comprehend what you are watching" class! :) :) :) some people here need it! i see that a mindblowing day of test cricket on which i didn't miss watching even one ball- with a super-high quality, once-in-10-years-if-we-are-lucky battle between a ridiculously talented late outswing bowler determined to take all the wickets with a new ball and an intelligent master batsman determined to survive and score however many runs his team needed has actually *underwhelmed* a few people! a few fundamentals today, then. :-) pujara was done by *late* outswing from a ball which straightened at high pace on leg stump to hit middle! repeat after me: *that* is exceptionally rare! to counter such unplayable balls, sachin played one foot outside his crease, strode forward, but showed immense discipline to play *only* the apparent line of the ball right under his head!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 6:55 GMT)

I am not for walkers it is umpires decision to give out. Sachin's nick had a lots of ifs and buts i am sure if it was referred he would have got benefit of doubt. To me Steyn, Kallis and Sachin are equally good players but where Sachin beats the other two is his temperment and longevity. It is hard to find players who play with so much passion and devotion without getting into controversies. Obviously Kallis is THE ALLROUNDER anybody would like. I have seen batsmen getting bowled and wait for umpire's decision why for that matter Alviro Petersen did crib even after getting a huge nick and with ball deviating. Secondly it is sick listening to commentators doing a real lop sided job.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

Legends are born out of men who play against great oponents.If Rafael Nadal hadn't come around, we would have remembered Roger Federer's incredible shots, not his matches. Thank you Steyn for getting the Best out of our GOD.

Posted by moBlue on (January 5, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

@fairselector what?!? how could the two of us have watched the same game?!? *that* was the finest exhibition of ***late*** swing bowling at pace that i have seen since the late 1990s, probably, and i have been watching test cricket since 1983, religiously. it was matched by the finest exhibition of thinking, judgment and discipline by the master batsman of our time! be more aggressive? "needless to say, he has lost most of his fast reflexes?" ?!? did you see how steyn ate pujara up for lunch? pujara is 22 with pretty quick reflexes! well, a painter, or two of the best painters one has ever seen, in fact, in this case, may paint a beautiful painting, but if the viewer can't see beauty - or understand complexity - i suppose even the best painting would look "normal as always"! sachin stood outside of the crease, edged one which did *not* carry, learned quickly, and played the apparent line of the ball *right under* his head, didn't "follow" it, and survived! then he scored a hundred...

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 6:48 GMT)

To people who whine that a batsmen should walk if they knew they nicked a ball, let me ask this how many times have a bowler or a fielding captain have called back a batsmen who is given out wrongly after they watch it on the big screen. As Steve Waugh said leave it to the umpires. And talking about SRT, he has never whined against umpires or their mistakes, have always accepted the Umpire's decisions good or bad.

Posted by adamgilly on (January 5, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

hats off to master!!!! you make cricket watch even for an aussie like me!!! salute to you.... may you play for 5 more years atleast :)

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 6:38 GMT)

This was one of the best I have seen of SRT...nobody can ever argue he doesnt have the technique...criticism around him stems from chasing personal milestones at the team's expense but here he was perfect...protecting Bhajji against Steyn initially, stepping up the tempo when needed, getting most of the strike and attacking Harris when he had the chance. If India do win this, it would definitely be to a large extent due to the little man.

Posted by Vijay_MatchWinner on (January 5, 2011, 6:36 GMT)

Pure Geniusness displayed by two great players, super treat to Test Cricket fans, It rules forever. What a game of cricket. Hope to see Indian win this game,... Love these kinda tough and exciting contests...

Take a bow Steyn and Sachin!

Posted by Maruthi_Pavan on (January 5, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

Someone below said Kallis could have played Steyn better than Tendulkar, it would not have been a battle then. But Kallis could not play Sreesanth in Durban. I am sure he will be no match to tendulkar when playing steyn and would need similar luck. Both are no doubt good batsmen, its waste comparing them, but they will be found wanting against steyn in his current form. But they are the best batsmen and they are the best to face steyn compared to other batsemen around the world currently.

Posted by gazelle79 on (January 5, 2011, 6:18 GMT)

@Fairselector , Ever played top class cricket before ? Steyn WAS close to unplayable . For any batsman , the first instinct is to play the line of the delivery . Steyn would regularly send down balls which would force the batsman to play at it by appearing as if its heading for off or middle and then leave the batsman at great pace late enough to take the edge of the bat . To adjust for that late movement is close to impossible . The only way a batsman can avoid getting out is to play very late and very close to the body and hope the ball doesn't hit the off stump - something which Sachin did beautifully all day long . If you want to know how deadly this ball is , I suggest you search Youtube for an unplayable ball from Agarkar ( surprise ! ) to Kallis ( yeah , that's the reason I suggested it ) .

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 6:17 GMT)

its funny to read that sachin was poor against stayn by not considering state of pitch...ALSO GOD will not give everything to anyone...for the some extent sach is not match winner...think that if he was match winner ALWAYS!!!!....also is rediculos some foolish guys comparing 1st innings and second innings...HA HA HA

Posted by anver777 on (January 5, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

Sachin is unstoppable & going great guns ................. certainly it was a good battle between Sachin & Steyn for supremacy !!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

Agreed with Nampally's comment. India's batsmen have faced tougher bowling compare to any other country's batsmen. It is quite understood that since we never had threatening bowling options at our disposal. Indian batsmen will be considered one notch up against their counterparts from rest of the world.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

Steyn is the best bowler in the world right now. However, SA is not the best bowling attack because it still lacks its traditional weak-link of not having a quality spin bowler.They are not a all-surface expert yet and have never been.Sometime back it was second to Aussies and they are second to maybe England in bowling and second to India in batting.

Posted by iluvtest on (January 5, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

@ St John I didn't see the match. But is it not the umpire's job to decide whether one is out or not out.Let the umpires do their job.That is not the duty of batsmen to walkout if he feels he is out because he cannot stay when he pronounced out by umpire even if he feels not out. Let every body play their role.Let's not get into unnecessary arguments about this walking out business and enjoy the cricket as it is.

Posted by LateralThinking on (January 5, 2011, 5:50 GMT)

Give me a break! When you score 362 on a pitch like this, you need to having attacking fields even if the opposition is at 250/2. At 250/6, it was only a matter of 4 good deliveries or 4 pressure induced mistakes. I felt that India was feeling the heat. They were looking at hitting their way out than slug it out with classical test match approach. So much of pressure. And to see that Smith took more pressure than we did at 250/6 is amusing!!!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

Steyn is the best bowler in the world right now. However, SA is not the best bowling attack because it still lacks its traditional weak-link of not having a quality spin bowler.They are not a all-surface expert yet and have never been.Sometime back it was second to Aussies and they are second to maybe England in bowling and second to India in batting.

Posted by LateralThinking on (January 5, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

The article makes a great point. Smith's defensive field placements. How true! And well said. Even with a lead of 50 runs India would still not have been in the driver's seat. God knows why he chose to spread the field fearing Bhajji's counter-attack, while he should have gone for the KILL! I am somehow getting this feeling that SA are getting more defensive and possibly going to CHOKE in their QUEST to not lose the series. Hey, you need to be going for the KILL. But, yes, the observation about the field placements in this article is great. Kudos. Such a subtle thing to note, but talks a lot about the fears in the mind of SA which are more of their own making than reality. A big mistake!

Posted by tendlya14 on (January 5, 2011, 5:38 GMT)

Steyn vs what happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object.....FULL-STOP!!

Posted by vpk23 on (January 5, 2011, 5:31 GMT)


Posted by shoonyam on (January 5, 2011, 5:28 GMT)

As an ardent fan of the game, I am yearning for the day when South Africa will do justice to their talent and emerge No.1 in the rankings. I actually hope they win the Cup. If any team deserves it, it is them. I just cant understand how a team with the best and most consistent fast bowler in Steyn, arguably among the finest all rounders the game has seen in Kallis, a solid opener and middle order bat in Smith and Amla respectively and a safe pair of hands in Boucher has failed to dominate the game completely. I suspect that, much like New Zealand, they suffer from an inferiority complex and lack of self belief.

Posted by cricfannmann on (January 5, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

@cricfannmann till now Kallis have not dominated any of the top rated bowler from any country but he is solid as u said, how can you say he would have dominated Steyn and that also during at his best

Posted by LateralThinking on (January 5, 2011, 5:25 GMT)

FAIRSELECTOR. How many bowlers have you seen in the last two decades swing the ball the way Steyn does at 145 kph. His strike rate is 39. And you think this is no big deal? Am amazed. He is the best in the world. In fact the best fast bowler in the last 15 years. And will end up being an ALL TIME GREAT. What more you expect a fast bowler to do, to be the number 1. Bowl at 170??? Please see his videos on youtube. He is unbelievably talented. And you think Kallis is more solid than Sachin? He is no doubt an GREAT batsman. But remember Sachin has played well in Seaming Conditions and he has dominated the spinner of the century - Warne. Murali thinks he is the best. So does Lara. So do the Aussies. So did the great DON. At 37, he still can manage a 146. Wow! You say Kallis would have dominated Steyn. Oops! He averages low 30s in England (swinging conditions). And against Warne, please check the stats. And then look at Sachin. Kallis is a great. No doubt. But dont compare.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

Hey FAIRSELECTOR, It seems you don't understand cricket at all or else getting mad after watching Sachin Tendulkar scoring tons, that is too against SA.

Posted by Aussasinator on (January 5, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Steyn is a great fast bowling gentleman. Very admirable and likeable sort of a guy.

Posted by LateralThinking on (January 5, 2011, 5:17 GMT)

Sachin was under some pressure to prove he is no mug in South Africa. He had an average of only 39 in SA before the tour. I really appreciate Craig Mathews' (SA fast bowler) comments when he said that people seem to undermine Sachin's skills because of his average in SA. He said that India always got the most Seamer friendly conditions in all their tours and to average 39 under such seaming conditions was great! What a remark from an SA bowler. And how true. It is easy to criticize and find flaws with the little master. He comes under a lot of such mindless scrutiny. Someone in this forum said that till 1999, he average only 32 against Pak and only after that (which means post Waqar and Wasim), he got into 40s against Pak. How stupid! He had played only 4 tests till then and that too in his debut series as a 16 year old kid in 1989! He has played his best knocks in seaming conditions like in Perth, in SA when India were 55 for 5 and many more. This series he averages 75! PERIOD.

Posted by truebleue_cricfan on (January 5, 2011, 5:16 GMT)

FAIRSELECTOR, I agree with you. All the comments seem to be either over the top praising the Sachin Vs Steyn battle or seem to be emotional ones, as is the case with most Sachin discussions. I thought Sachin struggled against Steyn yesterday, and the battle was won by Steyn. If he had counter attacked Steyn and tried to dominate, that would have made a statement, but Sachin was content in playing it too safe. The point here is that Sachin didn't even try to dominate. The match situation, responsibility of taking India to safety are all arguments that will be made against my point, and they probably are fair arguments. In the overall context of the game, Sachin did great but against Steyn he was clearly second best.

Posted by stormy16 on (January 5, 2011, 5:10 GMT)

This as good a test as one would want between 1 and 2 and what great skills on show but I feel the skill that will decide the game is how the spinners bowl and how the bats handle them and how much damage Steyn will do with the new ball. Strangely he seems deadly in his follow up spells and not his opening. Sachin was awesome and I see some of us are still compairing Sachin and Kallis V Steyn and Zak. Its a fools argument guys - they were both awesome against what was before them. I fell SA need to bat out the day to ensure they dont loose and probably put in India with 5 overs left. India need to ensure the target is 250 max and have a day to get it - could not hope for a better decider for a series.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (January 5, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

Steyn and Sachin are the only two players in this match who would have not been out of place in the glorious generation of 70's and 80's, where i think the toughest cricket was played.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

Wonderful metaphor used to compare Tsotsobe, with Mother Teresa!! I could not watch the battle between these two world class performers, but I am sure it would have been revetting!!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 4:36 GMT)

moBlue u r absolutely right actually this is the way to tackle moving ball esp in test cricket.or even better strategy sometimes is to only assume every ball coming towards stumps so u will automatically miss every outswinger that is not aimed at stumps............................I was thorroughly impressed today by SRT's strategy

Posted by cric_lover143 on (January 5, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

Incredible... it was absolutely incredible to watch some one bowls like that... Dale was just amazing... one of the best i've seen recently... but let me ask all those sachin bashers one thing, let us think the same scenario in a different way like Sachin facing the indian bowlers in this pitch and kallis facing SA bowlers in this pitch. Who would it be certain to hit a century??? not kallis... Even though i respect him a lot... not him.. not against Dale steyn in this pitch.. If sachin can negotiate Steyn in this pitch, he can easily handle others.. yes he did it with some luck... but who didnt... Kallis was really fortunate not to get an edge in the first innings.. Last but not the Least... We have witnessed some Great umpiring decisions in this match.. hats off to that guys... very difficult to be spot on when some one like Dale bowl with such swing and speed...

Posted by ahlawata on (January 5, 2011, 4:31 GMT)

@FAIRSELECTOR I am following cricket since 1971. I dont think you watched the game (go and watch the highlights if you missed the game) I have watched fast bowlers from Dennis Lillie to present but honestly today the way Steyn bowled I have never seen any fast bowler bowling so many perfect deliveries in one day. I dont remember a poor delivery bowled by him though he got hit for boundaries. The way Steyn bowled it is hard to breath but if you survived you played and excellent innings. Sachin did survive though I think luck was involved as the bowling was next to perfect. I can tell you now, this match and especially Indian Innings will be in discussion for the years to come only because the way Sachin and Steyn played. If there is a result in this match then this game will go in the books as one of the most interesting test in the history, in case it is a draw all sachin haters will have one more reason to say he score hundreds only in drawn matches.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 4:27 GMT)

Tendulkar did get a century but was really lucky. He got beaten several times, was struggling almost right through. Have seen him play better, to put it very mildly. He was a shadow of the shadow of his best self. And many of his swipes at the ball would have shamed a no. 11.

Having said this, and mainly to put in perspective the content of this article calling his effort one of the best, there were some of his classic shots through the off side that were vintage Tendulkar.

He is one of the all time greats of Cricket for sticking with it despite being less than his best. And it makes me sad to think that we will not be seeing him around in the next few years. Hopefully, he will pass on the baton to one of the youngsters in the wings and they will at least show the grit and the skills to keep Test Cricket alive. To emulate Tendulkar is an impossibility. We have been blessed to watch him in action for more than two decades.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 4:25 GMT)

SRT seem to haven't liked the presence of side hero who has been stealing a few shows so he simply removed him by aiming at his stumps...if u look closely SRT was not aiming at any gap when he smashed Harris back, that resulted in Laxman dismissal instead he was quite visibly aiming at stumps at opposite end and so he succeded........He removed Laxman !!

Posted by KrashNBurn on (January 5, 2011, 4:23 GMT)

Sachin has got another ton, he even shielded Bhajji from Steyn, wonder why he didnt do that in Centurion. Steyn is awesome but I still feel Asif and Amir are a better new ball pair simply because Amir being a leftie is too much of an davantage, too bad they were so stupid. Anyways this series has been terrific for test cricket much better than the farce going on in Aus. Dont remember when was the last time I heard 250 for 4 being a good day for the batting side. Rock on

Posted by muski on (January 5, 2011, 4:15 GMT)

Can we please stop this comparison between Sachin and Kallis. Sachin is the greatest modern bastmen and Kallis the greatest ever allrounder the game has seen. The word modern is used for Sachin because of the complication Bradman brings into the scheme of things. By the look of things, if Sachin continues in this fashion, 20K test runs is a distinct possibility with about 60 Test Hundreds before he hangs up his boots.

Posted by Hema_Adhikari on (January 5, 2011, 4:13 GMT)

Top performance against a quality team with quality fast bowlers on a pacy wicket. What can one say about Sachin Tendulkar that has not been said already! I mean after all the hype and hoopla, he has scored two very high quality centuries against top quality pace bowling on green pitches already in this series. He is the best bastman since Don Bradman without any doubt and I think it is very possible that he is even better than him. We romanticize batsman of the past but this guy right here and right now, performing in front of our eyes, carrying the expectation of billion people, playing on all kind of surfaces and against all kind of bowlers, is arguably the very best we have seen and probably we will not see another one like him in our life time. Savor the saviour's feat, leave your narrow mindedness for a day and enjoy the sheer greatness of this miracle man. What a great innings by the little master.

Posted by Agni_25 on (January 5, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

@StJohn - u r really missing something - THE BOUNCE before Boucher took it. I really want to appreciate the umpires for their wonderful job, they had a hard time than the batsmen.

Posted by RajatRath on (January 5, 2011, 4:03 GMT)

I had not seen such hostile spells of bowling by a fast bowler since a long time,may be after Akram and Mcgrath. What a magnificent display of dexterity. It can only be concluded that Tendulkar survived there due to sheer luck rather than the Technique he possessed. Mr FAIRSELECTOR, do u play cricket anyway ????

Posted by SoftwareStar on (January 5, 2011, 4:01 GMT)

oh ok. thanks for clarifying this guys.. coz i couldnt see the video of the bump catch feel much better (and free) now since i know (through all of u) it was a genuine century i have good ammo. to argue my case with the one who told me it was out now.

Posted by uglyhunK on (January 5, 2011, 3:37 GMT)

Few here are complaining here that Sachin should have attacked Steyn. They can't be more wrong. Given the match situation, a wicket at that time would have shut doors on India's chances. Sehwag has shown in this series that attack always will not take him or team anywhere, esp on these tracks. It is really commendable performance by Sachin, I doubt any attacking batsman (even Sachin of 90s) surviving that spell from Steyn. No one ever talked about Bradman's defense, I'm sure Bradman would not have survived had he attacked

Posted by Raju_Iyer on (January 5, 2011, 3:36 GMT)

We live in the Youtube, twitter and facebook era so everyone seems to have such short memories! Of course it was a fascinating day's cricket (frankly what else should you expect with two of the best teams in the world on a good wicket?) but suddenly everyone seems to suffer from collective amnesia about various other, equally fascinating contests. You don't have to go back too long - just rewind to a couple of months to recall Chris Martin's great spell at Ahmedabad; I mean every dog has its day.. And are contests with spinners running through a side on a turning pitch with close-in fielders, less attractive? So, ladies and gentlemen, let us appreciate the contest but not go overboard, there is still the small matter of a test series to be decided..

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

i was very excited to see world 1 and 2 fight it out. but it seems like we r watching a useless game,after what happen to sachin, i realy beleived he shoiuld have walked,how would u call this a close game, when one player was out 100 percent and was allowed to play and have scoore a century, pathetic very pathetic.. but stil if u wanna watch real game watch Ashes the real cricket.

Posted by swaroopjammula on (January 5, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

@Abhijit Punje:out of the 51 centuries sachin scored 11 came in the loosing cause.sacin averages 69 in the matches which India wins.coming to odi's 34 of sachin's centuries came in the winning cause.he averages 56 when India wins in odi's. in the loosing cause of India his average is 32. this shows our dependence of sachin.not now perhaps with everyone performing.but definetely in 90's when our batting revolved round the master and we were given a tag by the world as "one man army"and afetr sachin's dismissal our batting is just a "cycle chain".dont the sachin bashers see the period when India depended heavily on sachin?now the remaining team is performing as sachin always does and so u forget sachin and what all he does? i still say it is sachin's effoerts whichmade India reach sf in 96 wc and finals in 2003 wc.

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (January 5, 2011, 2:48 GMT)

Only Tendulkar could have scored the way he had done against such a hostile exhibition of fast bowling.Steyn is fasling becoming a fast bowling legend.

Posted by The_Dynamite_Kid on (January 5, 2011, 2:25 GMT)

@ StJohn - The ball bounced before Boucher caught it.

Posted by swaroopjammula on (January 5, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

@StJohn:tendulkar got a nick but that did not carry to the keeper as shown in the replays.if at all he walked that would been a wrong decision.even steyn did not appeal because he thought that the ball did not why should sachin walk?

Posted by Chris_Howard on (January 5, 2011, 1:30 GMT)

On career thus far, particularly on strike rate (39.6), the most telling number of all, Steyn rates as the greatest bowler of all time. Better than Waqar, Marshall, Hadlee, McGrath - and even Barnes. In fact, no other bowler with 25 or more Test, has a strike rate under 40. And to give some perspective, McGrath and Lillee sit around 52! So yesterday we saw the greatest bowler versus Tendulkar, who many say is the greatest batsman (even exceeding Bradman). And what a contest it was. I hope they release it on video.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 1:24 GMT)

People compare Styn with Waqar here, but one thing Waqar had and Styn hardly tries is the lethal toe-crushing yorker. Waqar unleashes yorkers at whim and he would fold the tail in a jiffy. Hope Styne add this lethal delivery to his armour soon. Had he bowled some yorkers yesterday, Harbhajan and Zaheer wouldn't have added that valuable runs that could make the difference in this decider.

Posted by Nampally on (January 5, 2011, 1:01 GMT)

Many SA fans have placed Kallis above Sachin. While the 2 top ranked fast bowlers in the world are playing for SA, Kallis's innings is not against the best bowling in the world. In this regard, Sachin's century on Day 3 was certainly one of his best innings against Steyn at his best.Sachin certainly is #1 bat in the world and will remain so for long time. It was unfortunate he got out to Morkel which appeared due to be lapse in his concentration.But Steyn on the form of Day 3 was simply the best.It would have been interesting to see if VVS and Sachin together in a big stand which did not happen due to unfortunate VVS run out.The game is still in balance and the first session of Day 4 will be crucial. Can Harbhajan produce his best on Day 4 to counter Steyn at his best on day 3? That will be an interesting situation and if it happens India may pull off a win. In his 3 overs Harbhajan looked good on a pitch amenable to spin & uneven bounce. Can he do it against the top SA bats?

Posted by Srikanth_D on (January 5, 2011, 0:52 GMT)

@moBlue - You are spot on. I thought I was the only one who noticed it. He was playing for the ball to hold the line and so was not chasing the out-swingers...

Posted by StJohn on (January 5, 2011, 0:51 GMT)

Perhaps I'm missing something, despite all the praise heaped on him shouldn't Tendulkar have been out off the 2nd ball of the day? Maybe he should have walked?

Posted by FAIRSELECTOR on (January 5, 2011, 0:36 GMT)

C'mmon...please don't try to create god out of these two....Steyn was normal in his bowling as always while Sachin was struggling (needless to say he lost most of his fast reflexes)....this wasn't a contest at all.....Neither Steyn is Unplayable nor Sachin is Unbeatable...just have to be more aggressive...I'm not saying to hit through the line...but atleast show an intent to be aggressive...Sachin is overcomplicating things here....Kallis was more solid than Sachin....if Kallis was to face Steyn this wasn't a battle anymore (obviously Kallis would have dominated him)...I thought very few of the deliveries were unplayable...Sachin was bogged down with his defence rather hitting out of the oddsss....

Posted by   on (January 5, 2011, 0:35 GMT)

sachin is the best the rest just follow

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 23:34 GMT)

@SoftwareStar.. I have been watching cricket for 16 years.. sachin is the only batsman i have seen who walks to pavilion irrespective of the umpires decision if he feels it is out.. I was not able to see today's play so i don't what has happened.. He might not be clear about the catch is taken properly or not.. I have watched atleast 15 to 20 times he walked out of the ground before the umpire give his decision and out of them umpires were not sure atleast for 10 times..

Posted by xjoburg on (January 4, 2011, 23:24 GMT)

Time for Smith to go. Can't bat anymore and can't seem to captain anynmore either. Can't have a "specialist" Captain.

Posted by moBlue on (January 4, 2011, 23:18 GMT)

@indianpunter "admittedly not his best?" did sachin say *that*?!? i am so-o-o surprised if he said that! i have seen all of his hundreds in SA starting with the terrific one in T1 in 2001, as well as all of his hundreds against other countries since 1999, and *i* would have rated this hundred his best outside of india! not only because of his runs alone, and the degree of difficulty involved in surviving, let alone scoring, yesterday, but also because of the fact that he "protected" all tail-enders from steyn until IND were really close, and so had to face even more lethal steyn balls than he would have wanted to... and he used tremendous creativity in scoring against the others; also, it was a near-chanceless knock, despite the degree of difficulty involved - i guess the one false "catch" that boucher claimed (on one bounce) would constitute a chance... and i have a vague memory of perhaps one chance in the slips the day before?

Posted by mak102480 on (January 4, 2011, 23:15 GMT)

Wow...what a superb day of test cricket......I am an Indian fan but those two spells by Steyn were the best round of bowling I have ever seen in test cricket. Amazing stuff......some people here bringing up Mcgrath are just plain ignorant......mcgrath is not even in the same league as Dale Steyn. Steyn has a chance to become the GOAT: Greatest (bowler) Of All Time.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 23:13 GMT)

For all the appreciation I have for Tendulkar today was just a sight for sore eyes, a near perfect display of fast bowling in batting friendly conditions. That barring injuries, Steyn is possibly the only one of the present lot who will finish as a "great" pace bowler shouldn't be in doubt. Make no mistake, it is rich compliment for Tendulkar to have grafted out and survived his spell - calling upon every bit of experience and his considerable skill. Like Waqar or Marshall in their pomp - Steyn sustained his fire through the day conjuring unplayable balls by dozen - and it goes to show for detractors that even at this age and after 21 years only Sachin could (with some luck) weather the storm. What a day of Test cricket! This was high-octane stuff meant for men, not boys!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 23:10 GMT)

Sehwag opening in these conditions against Steyn is stupid. Sehwag can still murder this attack down the order!Dhoni's captaincy lacks a lot.. like for instance only 2 slips for Prince as he came out to bat that too against Zaheer? Absurd. Dhoni's tactics dont make sense. Bajji bowling so many overs when the conditions were crying for seam. NOW Bajji should bowl a lot of overs as the wicket is breaking. Sachin is completely drained after one of the greatest fighting display seen so VVS and Dravid need to score big. Dravid ,this is the last chance , if he fails he should walk out before being hustled out ingloriuosly. VVS has to do it once more, as this is the final frontier, and nobody like VVS to shephard us thru'. Sehwag at #6 will do it, but Dhoni's captaincy....?

Posted by Koushik_Biswas on (January 4, 2011, 23:08 GMT)

@MaruthuDelft: let me try to answer your question, seeing that nobody cared to put you out of your misery. First an analogy from soccer: how would you pick the best soccer team? One that scores a lot of goals? Or one that does not let any opponent score any against them? Think about it. Here's the answer: it has to be both - any one without the other would cause the team to lose and no more be the best. Batting, by definition, is similar: you have to both defend like a fortress and attack like a missile. There are guys out there who are very good at any one of these - in fact, better than SRT in that area alone. Eg: Gavaskar is probably a better defender. Viv is probably a better attacker. But combine the two: you will see nobody jointly better than SRT. That is why he is the best "batsman". Your usage of the word "whack" is suggestive of lack of proper cricketing education - especially when the context is test cricket. When the #1 bowler cannot get you out, you must be the #1 batsman!

Posted by moBlue on (January 4, 2011, 23:04 GMT)

you know, all this hoopla about dale steyn being the best bowler in the world [which i totally agree with, by the way] made me do some "research" on IND's zaheer khan (with a max. speed of 130-135 kmph occasionally) simply for comparison yesterday. what i found was interesting. in the entire calendar year 2010, zaheer has been a mindblowingly good bowler, statistically speaking. he played 9 tests, out of which one was the last (durban) test, 2 were in bangladesh and 6 were in IND. so 8 out of 9 were on subcontinent pitches which generally don't help fast or medium-pace bowlers. yet, he got 47 wickets from 9 tests in 2010 at an astonishing average of 21.97! that used to be mcGrath/pollock territory! he took 313 overs for his 47 wickets; so he had a superb strike rate of less than 40 balls per wicket [*that* strike rate happens to be dale steyn's *career* strike rate! the best SR by any bowler in the history of cricket, apparently...] i didn't know zaheer was *this* good! did y'all? :-)

Posted by NRI- on (January 4, 2011, 23:02 GMT)

Yes yes yes, SRT can play with tailenders. But Sehwag is still the best batsman in the world today. Behind him are Kallis, Tendulkar and Sangakarra and they are all about the same.

Posted by indianpunter on (January 4, 2011, 22:44 GMT)

What a majestic innings form the little master. Admittedly, not his best ( he dint even celebrate it much !!). But he stuck it out there and was ready for a scrap. he never let the "playing and missing" affect him one bit. this hundred has grt value when you consider that the best bowler in the world was at his supreme best, but couldnt move the master. No one in this forum, though, is talking about the elephant in the room. Dravid does not look like making another run. He will put pressure on the team in the 2nd innings chase.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 22:28 GMT)

+1 to MOBLUE. IAN CLOUD was impressive today, and the one which hit the stump and bails didnt dislodged that was a great decision too

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 22:25 GMT)

I really hope that India wins this match. If it happens it would would one of the few occassions when Sachin's test century batting had literally snatched victory out of oppositions grasp.

Posted by Madhavan.Varun on (January 4, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

Steyn has easily placed himself among the likes of Waqar, Wasim, McGrath, Donald, Ambrose and Walsh...

Posted by moBlue on (January 4, 2011, 22:10 GMT)

i've watched sachin play since his debut in pakistan in 1989... yet i had not noticed something about sachin's batting until i watched dhoni get out "following" a bamboozling near-perfect steyn outswinger yesterday. [i think i heard kepler wessels allude to *this*, as well...] it was not "luck" alone that saved sachin yesterday under the onslaught of that amazing spell of perfect late outswingers [and alternately cross-seam no-swingers]. what sachin did was that he simply played the apparent line of the ball under his head... *that* was it. he didn't chase the ball [or chase it too much] when/if he noticed the outswing and change the line he was gonna play, and he didn't try to reach out for the ball and open the blade. he simply tried to make contact under his head! *that* monumental restraint and mental discipline made sure that when he was beaten he was beaten by a mile! ...and thus he survived! this restraint may have come after he edged the day's second ball and was not caught.

Posted by zizek-10 on (January 4, 2011, 22:02 GMT)

@ Hemant. I agree with You about Styen.But i think Laxman no way nears Master SRT in tackling outswing.Laxman may produce a inning or two of brilliance defying all norms but his nearly Zero feet movement and uncomposed stance is alarming incase he would have played against Legendery IMRAN and Akram.Malcom is too big for Laxman. Reason being variations of these Legends which Styen lacks.Even Gavasker was very succeptible to Outswing. Anyway Master has played against all with maximum degree of certainity in camparison to other Batsman. How Lara used to struggled against Akaram and SRT was equal to task against Akram is reminder not to write off SRT against a Mercurial VVS.

Posted by STLA on (January 4, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

What a match! In the first match Smith made a "somewhat" comment on Sachin as SRT made it easy for them to take wickets by exposing the tailenders to their bowlers.. Today Sachin Showed Smith by negotiating 48 of 60 lethal balls of Styen... Sachin knows how to answer the critics!!!!! He also shut the mouth of some people who said he exposes tailenders to remain himself not out! c'mon guys.. he has a brain even commentators and greats of cricket fail to understand what games and approach he takes to be there and score runs.. he understand cricket and the mind of the bowlers from core!

Posted by hatrick26 on (January 4, 2011, 21:57 GMT)

If India had a bowler like Steyn, the match would be over in India's favor handily. SA would be 52 for 4 or 5 instead of 2 wkts.

Posted by brishti_pore on (January 4, 2011, 21:53 GMT)

people who remember waqar at peak, almost every test one 5 wickets. looking at styne, i remember the memory of waqar. but, at the end i guess, wasim and ambrose, even glen macgrah is better than them as a whole package. lets not forget donald in the same category of styne.

Posted by _Oracle_ on (January 4, 2011, 21:51 GMT)

Great showing.. I missed some of the bowling display, but watched second new-ball bowling.. It was awesome.. Tendulkar sometimes didn't have a clue.. that saying a lot.. Ball would pitch on leg and swing outside of off.. Crazy... I think, India will have hands full trying to save/win this test.. The only way India wins this test if chasing over 200 is to have Sehwag score a century before everybody else get out at the other end..

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 21:42 GMT)

I can say it without doubt that this has been one of the best days cricket i have EVER seen in Test cricket !!!!! Amazing.. And Game?? Still in balance ! Anyone can grab it... First session - crucial tomorrow, if Indian seamers can get 2-3 wickets in first session than bhajji can finish it off ! If not, its SA's game to take !!

Posted by mrgupta on (January 4, 2011, 21:36 GMT)

Wow! what a contest this has been. I remember in 1992 it was mcdermaut vs Sachin at Perth, then it was Ambrose and Walsh vs Sachin, then it was Donald and Pollock vs Sachin, then it was Wasim and Waqar vs Sachin, then it was Mcgrath and Warne vs Sachin, then it was Murli vs Sachin then it was Brett Lee vs Sachin, and now its Steyn and Morkel vs Sachin. Have you noticed out of all these contest since 1989 Sachin has been the target of World's best bowlers and they have all retired along with batsmen like Lara, Inzy and Steve Waugh and with Ponting also looking his pale shadow it has been only Sachin who still stands tall, still good enough to be targeted and frustrating the world's best bowlers. Steyn actually summarized it well. On the other hand hats-off to Steyn, he is a class bowler. In the time when the pitches have become batsmen friendly its bowlers like him and Zaheer and Anderson who have kept the Test Cricket alive. Well Done Steyn, Well Done Sachin Sir!!

Posted by moBlue on (January 4, 2011, 21:28 GMT)

@SoftwareStar and others... i haven't missed one ball of this test [nor one at durban]... i stayed up all night last night and watched it live! it was a riveting once-in-a-lifetime contest, of course, between sachin and steyn! now, about your statement. you seem to be implying that sachin was *actually* out and that the umpire incorrectly gave him "not out". well, you are wrong. umpire ian gould was *perfect*, yesterday, in all the out's - and not out decisions - that he gave yesterday, as was umpire simon taufel whose decisions were easier and more straight-forward. neither umpire made one error yesterday. read that again. *that* is a fact acknowledged by the SA team at the end of the day, including by the commentators. sachin edged... yes! so he should have been given out? what if the "catch" was not caught *cleanly*? *that* is exactly what happened. ultra-slow-motion replays ***confirmed*** that the ball bounced in front of boucher and then went into his glove! did you know this?

Posted by Anand on (January 4, 2011, 21:25 GMT)

@SoftwareStar - When Sachin was on 49 he edged a Steyn delivery, however replays showed that Boucher took the ball on the bounce - hence Sachin was not out.....furthermore, Steyn and Boucher did not appeal convincingly - only Smith did seem pretty sure (or desparate). Notice any complaints from Steyn and Boucher after the umpires decision? Didn't think so.....Should a batsman, any batsman, walk if the ball is grassed???? What about role models claiming a catch that wasn't...... BTW - great contest between Sachin and Steyn - test cricket at its very best !!!!

Posted by raghu1122000 on (January 4, 2011, 21:25 GMT)

Often we talk about the greats of the game , the lillees, the marshalls , thompsons and how great they were with hardly 20% of the people actually having seen them bowl and in doing so somewhere undermine the greats of today.. Dale Steyns bowling today shows that quality cricket was just not played in that era, it is played in our times as well.. how I wish time ceases to exist and we could see(know it isnt possible) a dale steyn vs bradman and a lillee vs tendulkar

Posted by Utkarshn on (January 4, 2011, 21:24 GMT)

@SoftwareStar: Yes he Did edge it my friend but later it was shown that the ball did not carry. Weren't you watching? Robin Jackman CLEARLY said that even if UDRS was there, that would've been not out as the ball could've bounced before reaching Boucher. So relax :)

Posted by zaheerfan on (January 4, 2011, 21:19 GMT)

@ Softwarestar.. I do not agree with u on the 2nd ball of the day . Replays clearly showed later that though he nicked the ball but bounced before entering Boucher 's gloves. So why should Sachin WALK when there is also doubt about the catch not taken properly. On field umpire could have easily given that out ( 99% of the time) but he is RIGHTLY given not out ( the same umpire gave 2 other awesome decisions later on.. which most umpires could have given other way). All the commentators also agreed with those decisions ..

Posted by svenkat02 on (January 4, 2011, 21:18 GMT)

@ SoftwareStar: The ball where Sachin edged to Boucher and Boucher took it behind the stumps, THE CATCH WAS NOT CLEAN!! It was a brilliant piece of umpiring for Ian Gould to spot Boucher taking the ball on one bounce. Close-in slow-mo replays showed the ball bounce just in front of Boucher's right arm and so Tendulkar was not out. Had Tendulkar walked, SA would have got a bonus wicket. Why have umpires when batsmen should walk? Umpires are there to give decisions. A batsman is completely within his rights to take advantage of an umpiring blunder and go on and make more runs.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:57 GMT)

Its all about showing character and Sachin did.. Probably played and missed more than he had whole of last year... Its this desire/hunger for achieving more that keeps him going..I rate this as his most difficult century.. Steyn is the greatest fast bowler to have played this game in modern era IN these conditions.. He's no Imran or Akram in subcontinental, nor is he a Lillee or Thomson or Holding on fast bouncy tracks...But give him some grass and cloud cover and he's lethal. Only Macco was better . Unbelievable piece of bowling by him today and with luck he'd have crashed India in an hour. Laxman has to be alert maan!! Ridiculous waste of a wicket. If anyone can bat better than Sachin in these conditions its VVS! How? He plays back and can control the edges better than anybody in the game. Sunny used to stand outside a yard to counter the seam while VVS stands all the way back and plays it afterwith soft hands. VVS is the key to this test!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:47 GMT)

It's really what we crave for in Test Cricket. I remember a very good bat and ball contest between Brett Lee and Sachin Tendulkar couple of years back and now this time its even in a better show came against Steyn. This is the difference between Sachin and the rest of the batsmen. His technique and ability against top class bowling! I thoroughly enjoyed it like all of you.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:47 GMT)

one of the all time classic contest between the best in the world!

Posted by KENNETH2007 on (January 4, 2011, 20:42 GMT)

yeah!! wow!! good piece of outswing bowling from steyn ..out of which only tendlukar ...., bhajii, gautam..could breath a bit.... ( of course laxman if he would not have gone out) all the others like she-walks, and dra-ids,really had no ..answers for his outstanding bowling.....

Posted by the_blue_android on (January 4, 2011, 20:37 GMT)

Would have loved to see Steyn of now VS Sachin of 96'!!!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

A very high quality article! I loved the way you ended true! Legends are appreciated more when challenged by quality opposition and Sachin got one of very high standards today. How he showed his class to the world...take a bow!!

Posted by SoftwareStar on (January 4, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

a mouth watering contest! it would have been a no-contest had the umpire given Sachin out when he edged the ball on 49. Maybe the situation of the match would have been completely different. no complaints about it coz we wouldn't have seen this great contest had he gone!

one thought lingers in my mind though, why does he behave like an ordinary cricketeer (the 99% of others) who wait for the umpire after having edged the ball. He is an a league of his own, so it is very easy for him to set an example. he need not prove anything anymore. i feel bad when someone (fellow Indian) casually mentioned, "yeah yeah, he was out on 49 and he didnt go. century - big deal" Sachin, please don't give room for that. Walking is important. Why? Because, the millions of kids playing street-cricket usually play on trust. The main reason for street-cricket fights are cases like these. Let them enjoy the game and play it with an honest and free spirit

Sachin, ur role in this is important!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:23 GMT)

exciting test macth between two strong teams

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:21 GMT)

test cricket at its thrilling best !!

Posted by ACHILLES_FZX on (January 4, 2011, 20:19 GMT)

what a match this has been ,absolutely brilliant stuff from steyn and a great innings from tendulkar ,hoping for another enthralling day of cricket tomorrow

Posted by Bhatin on (January 4, 2011, 20:15 GMT)

The best bowler in the world at the moment against the best batsman of the generation in a battle of nerves and sheer class and temperament... and both come up as winners... the statements made by Dale Steyn really speak for the class of Sachin... Now there are many people around saying that he plays for his personal records and all his hundreds are pontless bla bla bla... what about this innings ?? What they have to say about this ?? He had drawn level with South Africa in first innings against hostility of Styen and Morkel in top form in South African conditions, not to forget.. Its good enough answer for them to keep quiet now.

Posted by RanjithShettyJordan on (January 4, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

It is really a contest between bat and ball,more than that a real cricket.Lady luck will be always with great people.Some people commented yesterday about sachin regarding his batting with tail and compared with kallis,within 24 hours he replied to all his critics.Go sachin go.Styne is better than indian bowlers, he bowls 140+ and swings like a spinner.Even if kallis faced styne today,he would have been scored not more than 50.

Posted by East_West on (January 4, 2011, 20:05 GMT)

"...but in comparison to Steyn he was like Mother Teresa". That's the best one SID:)) well, I do rank this century from SACHIN way better than his 50th! I know some of you readers were angry at my remarks [during his 50th], but the way SRT played those unplayable balls of the "beast" STEYN was a treat to watch! By looking at this test, I can very well say that TEST MATCHES ARE STILL THE BEST TO WATCH!!! Sachin is a class act! Laxman was unlucky but pujara had NO CLUE!! DRAVID's body language says a lot about his misery at the crease!! I wish we can have a STEYN like bowler for INDIA! oh! well! wishful thinking! Come on India! wrap this up ASAP! Will ya!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 20:01 GMT)

I am truly blessed to be born in an era where i am lucky enough to see the likes of Tendulkar and Steyn.. along with some super hitting by Harbhajan.. what a day of cricket it was.. :)

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (January 4, 2011, 19:58 GMT)

Why people keep saying Tendulka the world's number one batsman? He hardly played like one for more than 10 years. If you are the world's best batsman you would whack the world's best bowler; any bowler. Until Viv Richards played he was such a player. Brian Lara if in form would whack McGrath. Tendulkar was like that for a few years but he became ordinary by the 1999 worls cup.

Posted by cricPassion2009 on (January 4, 2011, 19:58 GMT)

This test will go down the wire, and India is carrying the momentum and psychological advantage and luck from here ( see how Harbhajan's off-stump bail did not get knocked off by a terrific Steyn ball ! ). Sachin played incredibly well. SA have to make sure that they don't choke if they have to hold India now.

Posted by Dr.K.H.Iyer on (January 4, 2011, 19:56 GMT)

Had it been the Sachin of the late 90s it would have been woefully one sided Steyn would have been taken to the cleaners!

Posted by vmp78 on (January 4, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

It was a g8 day for test cricket. Steyn and Tendulkar showed how to play hard test cricket for their respective teams. I dont know how many innings sachin has constructed when all others fail. Invaluable to the team and hopefully the team delivers victory to India to make sachon's hundred the so called match winning hundred. For sachin bashers they will still blame sachin for not sheilding gambhir from harris, hitting the ball back to harris to runout laxman, not shielding pujara & dhoni from steyn and getting out when he could have taken his team beyond 362. If India lose this match they will point out that the century shud have come in the 2nd innings and little will they realize that if lax, dradiv, shewag or dhoni could have scored a hundred wiht sachin, India would have not had to bat again. As for the little champion, he will continue to produce such innings for his team and hopefully the team gives him something in return by winning this test

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:51 GMT)

This is the awesomest bowling I've seen lately.. The only other thing that strikes me is the 1 hour of Ishant bowling to Ponting. Great job by Steyn.. I believe SA is on top here..

Posted by LazloWoodbine on (January 4, 2011, 19:50 GMT)

That spell of Steyn's, for me rivalled Alan Donald's spell against Mike Atherton at Trent Bridge in (?) 1998. Superb to watch. That is what Test cricket is all about - the best batsman up against the best bowler. A wonderful match so far!

Posted by RealPablo on (January 4, 2011, 19:50 GMT)

What a crackerjack of a test match - it has been a real privilege to watch skill and endurance of such high quality. Thank you test match cricket - T20 eat your heart out.

Posted by Kurapati on (January 4, 2011, 19:49 GMT)

Nothing to Say...Just in One Sentence!! it's a treat to eyes to see such a beautiful piece of test cricket!!! Take a bow Steyn and Tendulkar!!

Posted by sweetspot on (January 4, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

For the sake of Test cricket and the love of the man and his craft, even though I am an India supporter, I will say this - I wish Steyn never gets injured. One of the true great sights in cricket today, watching him bowl.

Posted by Rakeshr90 on (January 4, 2011, 19:43 GMT)

Sachin is always the best batsmen in the world. Its so clear from the words of steyn. Go Sachin goooo

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:42 GMT)

spare a thought for 'unlucky Laxman' who today, for me, appeared to be more sure of playing any ball that was being bowled at him by any one.., than any other batsman.. including Tendulkar.. but unfortunately got out like Kallis in Durban.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

people can say many thing about sachin,s inning but he just survived(hail lot of luck)..Only thing was stayn's bad luck and sachin+gambhir were enjoying every body else luck..I really enjoyed stayn bowlling...Sachin was not looking like a master batsman in front of stayn...stayn was too good for him. Sachin's luck was at it's best.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (January 4, 2011, 19:41 GMT)

It was a fantastic battle. A great vs an upcoming great. Steyn deserves a little more credit for as far as fast bowlers who one can say will be an all time great, he is the ONLY one carrying the beacon.

Posted by Bamarolls on (January 4, 2011, 19:36 GMT)

Mesmerizing. However If Bhajji gets going (with the ball), there might not be a day 5. Given what the captains are facing in the heat of the battle, sniping at their field placement leaves an unsavory taste. The commentary was absolutely riveting.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:33 GMT)

"And the Man of the Series award goes to........... Dale Steyn!!!!"

Posted by vparisa on (January 4, 2011, 19:31 GMT)

All that Sachin was doing today was trying to see off(staying not out)Steyn. Thats all any batsmen in the world could have done today. It was a perfect spell from Steyn. I saw cricinfo commentators say Shane Warne at 135 kmph such was the out swing. The best part was Sachin did not score of Steyn and Steyn did not get his wicket. Their contest was even and the match is also placed so well that both the teams have to overcome their perceived weaknesses, SA against spin and the tag of choking at big moments in big games, Ind against hostile pace and the tag of poor fourth innings batsmen-ship. This will be a real strength of character and skill.. What a game!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:30 GMT)

Sachn shows his class against CLASSY bowling on a BOWLERS it is Styne vs Sachin....On a spinners wicket, it was Sachin against Warne (India); At perth, it was Sachin against a RED HOT Brett Lee......this is good for cricket.

Posted by FinchAtticus on (January 4, 2011, 19:29 GMT)

What an awesome testmatch. I say scrap those 5 one-days and make this a 5match series. Steyn was too good to be true. If I have nt seen it ball-by-ball, I would have never believed that happened. I was hoping some journo would talk to Tendulkar about the adjustment he made in facing Steyn. apparently, he moved forward a foot to negate the effect of swing. It was brilliant bowler vs brilliant batting. I thought laxmans 90 was hightlight of the series but this beats it.

Posted by pointofViv on (January 4, 2011, 19:29 GMT)

India will regret any thing beyond 250-300. Wise thing to do now, is to play attacking cricket and take at least two wickets as soon as possible. S. Africa doesn't have deep batting line up even though their first four are pretty solid. India have a advantage here for sure, but bowlers again have to work hard. Hope the first inning Shree will come out tomorrow. Nevertheless, great day of Test cricket.

Posted by Quazar on (January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

Not to forget...this is the master's 4th 100 vs SA in the last 5 Tests against them. No wonder Steyn was gracious enough to acknowledge his opponent.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

Sachin does what he always does, lets his bat do the talking. Time and again he has provided the Indian team the much needed impetus for getting India in a situation where India can either win or draw the match. Batting last could prove difficult but a target of 250 and then a in form VVS and Sachin the Great with the wonderful support in staff like Sehwag(a big quick score is ominous), Gambhir in form and of course Dravid the Wall and the skipper himself should put India in a slight advantage over the Proteas. Whatever the outcome may be, the Indian Master has once again proven that he is the only Indian batsman who is consistent for more than 20 years. May his tribe increase.

Posted by Quazar on (January 4, 2011, 19:20 GMT)

World cricket is privileged to have these 2 geniuses performing at the same time. Capetown was blessed today!

Posted by venky_singapore on (January 4, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

One other thing - it's curious that the Day 3 Bulletin and Plays articles both wrongly depict the incident in the first over of the day. As replays have shown clearly, the ball took Sachin's bat's edge but clearly bounced before going into Boucher's gloves. Very curious that this was not mentioned in Cricinfo's live report even when it was repeatedly shown on TV replays and confirmed by the commentators!

Posted by zaheerfan on (January 4, 2011, 19:16 GMT)

where r all those Sachin haters ?.. what do u say now.. Steyn himself acknowledges how great he is .. but some of our own Indian supporters talk rubbish about him..He is a master class (even if u do not appreciate him dont hate him and compare him with others)

Posted by mk49_van on (January 4, 2011, 19:16 GMT)

Nice piece - but I would invert the Nadal vs. Federer reference. Steyn bowled superbly. By taking India to parity from 247 for 6, Sachin was the eventual winner. And even though he beat the bat many times (aces), Dale "Federer" Steyn eventually lost the match.

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 4, 2011, 19:15 GMT)

What a day, I was hoping to watch the first session and go to sleep. Ended up watching right through to Tendulkar's dismissal.

Steyn is just incredible, I don't recall any bowler getting as much outswing from an old ball ever. Only grit from Tendulkar and Gambhir saved India from being blown away. Finally someone in the Indian camp figured out the idea of batting outside your crease to negate the swing. I have seen Gambhir and Dhoni do that, but here they were too timid against the pace of Steyn.

Posted by Quazar on (January 4, 2011, 19:14 GMT)

World cricket is privileged to have these 2 geniuses performing at the same time. Capetown was blessed today!

Posted by dyogesh on (January 4, 2011, 19:12 GMT)

It is just that kind of a day one doesn't want it to end. One thing that Tendulkar ( or Laxman in Durban) showed when facing this kind of hostile spell is to stay in the present. They didn't tamper their game plan too much after the play and misses or try to counter attack in a foolhardy fashion. They accepted that play and misses were inevitable in the face of hostile bowling just that one should not throw away the wicket with a rash shot.

But knowing Steyn and the new ball can be dangerous, India should have scored a little more of Harris yesterday evening to budget for such eventualities. I think they should have scored at least 30 more of Harris.

Posted by cheeseburgers on (January 4, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

No 1 Fast bowler vs No 1 Batsman in the World. A great advertisement for Test Cricket. Treat to watch!!!!

Posted by phoenixsteve on (January 4, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

This is test cricket at it's best a full credit to India for their batting performance against some hostile and superb fast bowling. Tendulkar was sublime and really showed fighting spirit and classy batting. How many will the Proteas score on day 4? If they set India any more than 300 it'll be their series anything below 250 and we could see a shock result? ' My gut instinct is to go for South Africa but we know they are chokers.... so who can tell! What a game.....

Posted by venky_singapore on (January 4, 2011, 19:08 GMT)

Today was truly Test cricket at it's best! The two best test teams slugging it out at the top... Gritty batting by the world's best, in the face of top quality pace & swing bowling from the world's best! And at the end of the day, all results are still possible! Dare we expect more ?

Posted by sonjjay on (January 4, 2011, 19:08 GMT)

Yup that was an awesome display by Steyn.Specially I thought he was more fired up with the Second new ball.Pujara got an unplayable one for sure.I also enjoyed his spell in Nagpur although our batsmen were at the recieving end you got to give credit where its due.

Posted by Hema_Adhikari on (January 4, 2011, 19:07 GMT)

What can one say about Sachin Tendulkar that has not been said already. I mean after all the hype and hoopla, he has scored two very high quality centuries against top quality pace bowling on green pitches already in this series. He is the best bastman since Don Bradman without any doubt and I think it is very possible that he is even better than him. We romanticize batsman of the past but this guy right here and right now, performing in front of our eyes, carrying the expectation of billion people, playing on all kind of surfaces and against all kind of bowlers, is arguably the very best we have seen and probably we will not see another one like him in our life time. Savor the saviour's feat, leave your narrow mindedness for a day and enjoy the sheer greatness of this miracle man-child.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:06 GMT)

A bowler forged in the fires of hell,spitting venom and fire. A batsman manufactured in heaven. When they do clash on a battle field lurking under the shadows of a mountain, under azure skies, on a hot sunny day...the poetry that ensues is an Iliad, an Odyssey , a Steyn vs Sachin....LONG LIVE TEST CRICKET

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 19:06 GMT)

Whataplayyyyyaaaaaaaa The two are? Take a bow - Tendulkar and Steyn!!!

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 4, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

What an amazing day's cricket with two great players at their best. I love pitches where batsmen have to earn their runs and the centuries by Kallis and Tendulkar in this game were pure class. Steyn is incredible. The limited overs games after this will struggle to match up - wish they could cancel them and play two more tests instead! All the best to both teams, with a bit of variable bounce and turn in the pitch now this could be an epic conclusion to the series.

Posted by   on (January 4, 2011, 18:58 GMT)

Sachin is a really good player. I have heard one or two guys remark about the speed and everything I have been bowling at, but he is such a good player, there is no point wasting your energy bowling at him. You tend to save your energy and tend to bowl at other guys. -- What a day for Test Cricket, remember its Steyn at his peak and Sachin @ his 21st peak :D

Posted by khurramsch on (January 4, 2011, 18:56 GMT)

for me this test is only 3 people to watch:kalis, tendulkar & stayn. all 3 were realy a treat to watch. i think india in good position to win /draw this test and get their 1st series win/draw in SA. 2 days remaining & SA just 50 runs.SA doe not have a good spinner like harbbajhan. in recent series SA was hesitant to declare & set target against weak pakistan batting. so i dont see them declaring sooner than a good indian batting lineup. Harris is a disapointment in these tests.

Posted by cyniket on (January 4, 2011, 18:51 GMT)

incredible spell of bowling. It was like watching one of those spells where a fast bowler is bowling to a tail ender and the rabbit isn't good enough to nick one and get out.

Posted by SnowSnake on (January 4, 2011, 18:50 GMT)

Awesome test. Nothing can be said about the outcome of this one until the 5th day is over. It won't be easy for India batting last.

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