South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day January 4, 2011

Harbhajan the right man for a scrap

50

Harbhajan Singh has come in for criticism for his bowling over the last year, not unjustifiably, as his average of 40.69 suggests. However, when it comes down to a scrap, you want him in your corner. And whether he was batting or bowling today, it was a scrap all right. There was no use hanging around with the bat, for Dale Steyn would have surely got him with one of those amazing outswingers, and Harbhajan took the sensible approach, getting his body out of harm's way and slogging.

To the day three years ago in Sydney, in another scrap, he gave Sachin Tendulkar similar support in securing India a first-innings lead. Today, he set South Africa thinking with one four down the ground off Morne Morkel and another huge hook off Lonwabo Tsotosbe that nearly ended up in the Newlands Train Station. That 76-run partnership with Tendulkar, 40 of which Harbhajan scored, set India on the road to sharing control of the game.

"I always enjoy my batting," Harbhajan said at the end of the day's play. "I don't have the technique to bat like Rahul Dravid or Sachin Tendulkar or Jacques Kallis. This is the way I play my cricket, and I knew [if the ball was pitched in certain] areas, it was going to disappear. I did hit a couple of big sixes today, but I am happy about it. Would have been nice to get another 50-60. I am always greedy."

He spoke about that Sydney partnership too, and how it has been great for him to have batted with Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. "When I have batted with Sachin and Laxman, they have been helpful. In Sydney I batted with Sachin and again today. They have a lot of things to tell me. When I was batting, Sachin told me to play my natural game and counter-attack was the best option. With the kind of technique I have, I could have got hit on my ribs or somewhere else. He told me just to play my shots. I felt I should play my shots, and they would try to do something else. I think that worked, and they didn't bowl the right line to me."

When India came out to bat, South Africa got off to a solid start, but Harbhajan emphasised his presence with two late wickets. Given the way the pitch has behaved, Harbhajan could be a crucial factor on day four. "There is a bit of bounce, and it's not even. Some balls are going down and some are bouncing little bit more than you expect. It's good if you keep on hitting the right areas, you still have a chance of getting good batsmen out, like [Jacques] Kallis and [Hashim] Amla. Those are the two key wickets we need to get, and then we will be in the driving seat."

Another scrap where Harbhajan has been influential is in keeping Sreesanth calm. Sreesanth has courted controversy with his sledging and been taunted by the crowd, but Harbhajan has made a conscious effort to keep him in check. When Sreesanth got Amla's wicket in the first innings, he seemed to want to run towards the crowd. Harbhajan, though, held him back. Physically. And mock-clapped at the crowd from afar.

"Crowd tried booing me in Australia, it doesn't affect me," Harbhajan said. "Let them enjoy. They have come to see the game. And obviously Sreesanth is getting more famous with this. I have enjoyed in Australia, let him enjoy here. It is not a bad thing."

Regarding the general heating up of tempers in the series, Harbhajan suggested he was enjoying it. "This is how the cricket is being played. When No.1 and No.2 sides play, there's a lot of competitiveness, but I think everything is under control. Yes, you have to play with aggression. You can't just be quiet there and waiting for things to happen. If you feel this is the way to play, why not go out and express yourself? This is Test cricket, not some match in the park. You have to have aggression, and you have to have that thing inside you to win games for your country. They are trying to win games for their country; we are trying for our country. Whatever trouble it takes we will go ahead and make sure we get the result we are looking for."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    It's nice to have characters like Harbhajan around! Itl spices up proceedings!

  • MadMonk on January 5, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    @NRI11 Every bowler needs a reasonably helpful wicket to take wickets... Steyn and Morkel got tonked around in Abu Dhabi against Pak, in India and more memorably by Sangakarra and Mahela during their world record stand. Please point me out to a bowling unit that can get 20 wickets on a dead, flat, batting track... even Bangladeshi and Zimbabwean wickets at that!!! And the system does take into account the number of test wins besides series wins... please review your comment on that. Nobody says India is as dominating as WI and Aus were... but they sure as hell aren't getting beat. What's more... they're winning series after series :) That to me is reason enough to be ranked up there. For anyone else to stake a claim... they need to beat India first, home or away!

  • DC75 on January 5, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    @NRI11: Now you want India to beat other team by huge margin just to prove that they are No.1 team? Why? Is it not enough that they defeat opposite teams at home and away regularly to prove that they are at present the best team in the world.

  • vin10 on January 5, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    @NRI11 - Guess you should write to ICC to change the ranking method...It's the series win that every team strives for & when one teams dominates the other to win the series, that's what counts..

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    THis is the closely contested series between the two countries so far and i think after the series a lot of changes would be made on both sides, Dravid seem to have lost his touch with the bat and on the other side Smith needs a solid opening partner as Peterson can't seeem to get a big score>Dumminy needs to come back at 5 and Prince open the batting with smith.

  • on January 5, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @NRI11, You have a misunderstanding about the point system for sure. Every match carries points, even if it's a draw.The points & ratings a team gets after a match, depends on the opposite team they're playing against. You get less points if you beat a team rated lower than you,but get more points if you beat a team higher rated than your team.Also, if there's a draw, then lower rated team's ratings increase,but higher rated team's ratings decrease.So for a team who's at the top of the table, it's necessary to win everytime to maintain their position,because even a draw will reduce their ratings.& one more thing, ranks are decided on the basis of ratings,not points.

  • hellraiser9 on January 5, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    wow bhajji is so funny hehehee.. he enjoyed in australia with all that booing and now sreesant is enjoying in SA hahah.. wow hats off to the way he is thinking and taking it in his stride.. first he slaps sree infront of everyone..and again big brother coming to rescue..wow.. come on bhajji.. go for the kill rip apart SA batsman.. all u need is amla and kallis.. thats it ..match will finish quickly.. in all the three tests.. it is kallis and amla who are holding this SA side together..otherwise sA side is pretty weak in batting dept.. bowling .. yes agreed Steyn, morkel are very very dangerous.. still Indians negotiated very well.. All the best to Sreesanth- he is the key.. today 5th of Jan is his lucky day ..and Zak - too can be equally dangerous.. ishanth might go for few but hopign he might take wickets..bhajji has def chance to take more.. 5 is lucky for many of our cricketers..especially gambhir but he doesnt bowl so hoping SA is bundled out quickly and gambhir bats..

  • U.A.1985 on January 5, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Enough has been written about Sachin's dismissal; an edge caught by Boucher but not given out. All Indian here are saying "ball dropped short of Boucher" and blah blah. For God's sake please read bulletin of third day where its clearly written Tendulkar edge the bowl and was caught by Boucher. But Tendulkar did not move an inch; what sort of a great he is I wonder? My question to Indians is; do you think umpire gave it not out bcoz it dropped short of Boucher? My own version on that is that umpire gave in not out bcoz he did not hear the edge. And Tendulkar kept on standing. What s shame!!

  • rohanblue on January 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    NRI11, few people cnt see india no.1, simple reason they r jealous, u said win or lose no one thinks india no.1, very stupid coment, only oz managed to beat proteas at their home so far, and plz dnt rate engalnd no.1, its a team full of south africans, irish, asians and 3-4 british, let anderson, broad , bresnan, bowl in indian wickets, sehwag will send them to high school, see u in world cup.....

  • rajneeshamin0101 on January 5, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    @NRI11. I think you have no idea what you are talking about. You talk about 4 great batsmen and leave out RD at no 3. Then you say that Dhoni is good. Yeah he comes in at no 6. That makes a good top 6. That leaves Bhajji & Zak as two good batsmen. So what 4 weak spots are you talking about? Check you stats as well before you comment on anything. In the game at Durban, Zak showed that you dont need to bowl at 140-145 to take wickets. This team can perform, regardless of the conditions. Like everyone says after losing to India "They are not No 1 for nothing!"

  • on January 5, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    It's nice to have characters like Harbhajan around! Itl spices up proceedings!

  • MadMonk on January 5, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    @NRI11 Every bowler needs a reasonably helpful wicket to take wickets... Steyn and Morkel got tonked around in Abu Dhabi against Pak, in India and more memorably by Sangakarra and Mahela during their world record stand. Please point me out to a bowling unit that can get 20 wickets on a dead, flat, batting track... even Bangladeshi and Zimbabwean wickets at that!!! And the system does take into account the number of test wins besides series wins... please review your comment on that. Nobody says India is as dominating as WI and Aus were... but they sure as hell aren't getting beat. What's more... they're winning series after series :) That to me is reason enough to be ranked up there. For anyone else to stake a claim... they need to beat India first, home or away!

  • DC75 on January 5, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    @NRI11: Now you want India to beat other team by huge margin just to prove that they are No.1 team? Why? Is it not enough that they defeat opposite teams at home and away regularly to prove that they are at present the best team in the world.

  • vin10 on January 5, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    @NRI11 - Guess you should write to ICC to change the ranking method...It's the series win that every team strives for & when one teams dominates the other to win the series, that's what counts..

  • on January 5, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    THis is the closely contested series between the two countries so far and i think after the series a lot of changes would be made on both sides, Dravid seem to have lost his touch with the bat and on the other side Smith needs a solid opening partner as Peterson can't seeem to get a big score>Dumminy needs to come back at 5 and Prince open the batting with smith.

  • on January 5, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @NRI11, You have a misunderstanding about the point system for sure. Every match carries points, even if it's a draw.The points & ratings a team gets after a match, depends on the opposite team they're playing against. You get less points if you beat a team rated lower than you,but get more points if you beat a team higher rated than your team.Also, if there's a draw, then lower rated team's ratings increase,but higher rated team's ratings decrease.So for a team who's at the top of the table, it's necessary to win everytime to maintain their position,because even a draw will reduce their ratings.& one more thing, ranks are decided on the basis of ratings,not points.

  • hellraiser9 on January 5, 2011, 7:43 GMT

    wow bhajji is so funny hehehee.. he enjoyed in australia with all that booing and now sreesant is enjoying in SA hahah.. wow hats off to the way he is thinking and taking it in his stride.. first he slaps sree infront of everyone..and again big brother coming to rescue..wow.. come on bhajji.. go for the kill rip apart SA batsman.. all u need is amla and kallis.. thats it ..match will finish quickly.. in all the three tests.. it is kallis and amla who are holding this SA side together..otherwise sA side is pretty weak in batting dept.. bowling .. yes agreed Steyn, morkel are very very dangerous.. still Indians negotiated very well.. All the best to Sreesanth- he is the key.. today 5th of Jan is his lucky day ..and Zak - too can be equally dangerous.. ishanth might go for few but hopign he might take wickets..bhajji has def chance to take more.. 5 is lucky for many of our cricketers..especially gambhir but he doesnt bowl so hoping SA is bundled out quickly and gambhir bats..

  • U.A.1985 on January 5, 2011, 7:40 GMT

    Enough has been written about Sachin's dismissal; an edge caught by Boucher but not given out. All Indian here are saying "ball dropped short of Boucher" and blah blah. For God's sake please read bulletin of third day where its clearly written Tendulkar edge the bowl and was caught by Boucher. But Tendulkar did not move an inch; what sort of a great he is I wonder? My question to Indians is; do you think umpire gave it not out bcoz it dropped short of Boucher? My own version on that is that umpire gave in not out bcoz he did not hear the edge. And Tendulkar kept on standing. What s shame!!

  • rohanblue on January 5, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    NRI11, few people cnt see india no.1, simple reason they r jealous, u said win or lose no one thinks india no.1, very stupid coment, only oz managed to beat proteas at their home so far, and plz dnt rate engalnd no.1, its a team full of south africans, irish, asians and 3-4 british, let anderson, broad , bresnan, bowl in indian wickets, sehwag will send them to high school, see u in world cup.....

  • rajneeshamin0101 on January 5, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    @NRI11. I think you have no idea what you are talking about. You talk about 4 great batsmen and leave out RD at no 3. Then you say that Dhoni is good. Yeah he comes in at no 6. That makes a good top 6. That leaves Bhajji & Zak as two good batsmen. So what 4 weak spots are you talking about? Check you stats as well before you comment on anything. In the game at Durban, Zak showed that you dont need to bowl at 140-145 to take wickets. This team can perform, regardless of the conditions. Like everyone says after losing to India "They are not No 1 for nothing!"

  • Nadeem1976 on January 5, 2011, 7:06 GMT

    Bhaji has improved a lot in last two years. His temprament is improving and by far he is best off spinner in the world now. His bating technique is not good but scoring back to back 100s need batting and he has skills to score now. Salute to bhaji to talk about aggression and that what #1 team posses. You cannot stay at #1 spot if you are deffensive. Got to attack and show aggression like Aussies used to do. Good job team india.

  • on January 5, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    @NRI11 WOWW!! What observation!! So that means a man with 12000 runs ain't a good batsmen for you. You might be telling because of the recent form, but then 3 matches before he had scored a massive 191, and yeah, I am talking of the wall, Rahul Dravid! And your thoughts on bowlers bowling 140-150, well at how much pace did McGrath, Pollock bowl in the later parts of their careers? Not more than 135 i bet and its not pace that matters, its accuracy. Sreesanth's spell at around 130 was as unplayable as Steyn's one at 140. So its not pace, but the other things that matter. And India has just one quality spinner? Tell me one team which has more quality spinners? Or maybe, tell me one team which has at least one quality spinner? Just Swann, Vettori and to some limits, Shakib Ul Hasan are the only world class spinners now. And again, when was the last time England,Australia,SA when they won a series 4-0/5-0?

  • KENNETH2007 on January 5, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    @ big_cheese-If you see bhajii's last games you can find why i am confident on his batting now then on his bowling ... But i am not arguing about his capacity...but his quality has gone down from where he was...at the starting... Let's see if who win the battle Bhajii or Amla & co

  • PradeepSrikant on January 5, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @NRI11:Going by your logic, Pakistan should be the No.1 test team as they have Shoaib who can consistently bowl over 140kmph. And last I saw even S. Africa and England too have only 1 world class spinner and Aus have none. And teams can win 5-0 only if a 5 match series is played.

  • bolthaa on January 5, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    @NRI11--- How does it matter if you have 150 kmph or 140 kmph bowlers or 135kmph bowlers if it is a flat deck.. All it matters is right combo for right pitches. India did not win second test on crumbling pitch but on a gud seaming fast track. India has the bowlers for occations and conditions (swing, seam,spin) and that has been proved multiple times all over the world. The same question can be asked "How can a team be NO1 if it does not have a world class spinner". But I dont want to ask bcos it is a stupid question to ask. No 1 spot does not mean they are dominant team. It means they can prove themselves in most of the conditions.. Win some and lose some... At the end of the day point system proves which is number one. And FYI, I guess even SA will not be comfortable taking 20 current Bangladesi wickets on a flat deck.. They possess some decent batsmen. Make up your mind as to what you want to say before writing.

  • on January 5, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Bhajji's batting may not look copybook or soothing to eyes, but the runs he made are useful for India. His technique is not good like the best batters but he has that run scoring capability which makes him a distinct from a mere tail-ender to some sort of All Rounder.

    Many are talking of his bowling now a days. But during the days of Kumble, he got support from the other end. But, now what you see? We have tried lot of spinners - Ojha, Mishra, Piyush Chawla - but no one is capable for giving proper support from the other end. But in Durban, which is called a Seamers paradise, what Bhajji did? 7.2-2-10-4 !!!! Fabulous. Isn't it?

  • Vineethkn on January 5, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    I am having great fun reading these comments. At the start of the series comments were like "Indians are flat track bullies". Now comments like "India can only win on bowler friendly or crumbling wickets" are coming. LOL..Can't wait to see what will be posted if India wins this test.

  • Srini_india on January 5, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Not sure why people are jealous in India performing this way?..Is Australia and West indies-who had wonderful pacers to be considered as great teams?...certainly they were...but pace has not be core strength of indian team...but it has got wonderful seemers like Zaheer...spinner like Harbajan...who are very consistent...not to mention world class batsmen...India had its rough patches..now when it is doing...lets appreciate rather than criticize....its a gentleman's game...Not because of accepting team wont take away its greatness...wish India agrees for UDRS removes this blot as well.

  • cricfannmann on January 5, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    @NRI11 SA without Steyn is much worse than Indian attack, now talk about No1 Spot

  • Htc-Baseball on January 5, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    the passion baji has got for cricket and his country s awesome and greatly appreciable..hope he does the trick with the ball today

  • shoonyam on January 5, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Is it just me or has 'Bhajji' gone past his prime. The time is gone when one felt that he could turn around the game when the ball was thrown to him. The edge and zip is missing. Very often, he seems to be going through the motions. He is at home in a pitch that offers turn AND bounce (key being bounce) but is otherwise withdrawn. What is disturbing is his attitude, something very laid back about his approach. That is where Kumble stands above him, head and shoulders. It was Kumble's fire, persistence and passion for the game that made him standout and lead to his success despite being what some may call a "a medium pace occasionally spinning the ball" bowler.

  • revelationme on January 5, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    its been a fantastic test match. As even as any 2 teams could possibly get. With the pitch crumbling, bhajji is certainly going to be crucial. and @NRI11...from the looks of things only you are the one who doesnt really consider India number 1. and fyi, the points you get depend on the individual test matches, series wins and the margin of series wins. India is ranked 1 with a lead of 13 points over SA. As for bowling out oppositions on feather beds, SA with one of the best bowling attacks around couldnt do so against Pakistan in the UAE either. So when you do express your opinions, try backing them with some facts....and i hope this test goes down to the last over of the last session. Its definetly one of the classics.

  • k2ibegining on January 5, 2011, 5:06 GMT

    @NRI11, In today's scenario no team deserved to be at no 1 as Australians used to be 4-5 years back, do not compare with that team now, no 1 ranking does not mean that a team which is no 1 right now is an all time greatest team, this ranking is as simple as in current scenario whoever is no 1 team, is the best team, and tema India has gone to SA in order to prove same thing, Now it does not matter whether India wins or loose, they have shown to the world India is no more a team which can only win in Indian conditions, but if you look from the SA aur England or Austraila perspectives they can not play that good in India, as India is playing abroad, so do not say that no one regards India as no 1, its your personal view and please do not generalize it.

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Bhajji's 40 was worth a Ton.... Given the conditions he was batting and with the ease in which he was stroking the ball...... Hats-off to the "TURBANATOR"...... SINGH IS KINNG

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    Harbhajan has indeed proven himself, that he is the man to rely upon in tough times, with bat or ball. And in reply to' NRI11' comments,Ii would suggest him to brush his knowledge about Realiance ICC Ranking system. It's counted match by match. If India would have won 3-0 vs SA, they would get +3 points. But now if India manage to win 2-1, India would get only +1 point.

    It is possible for a team to win a series yet for its rating to fall. This will happen if a stronger team wins a series but by a smaller margin than the respective ratings suggest should be the case. For example, when Australia played England in a five-Test series in 2002-03, Australia needed to win by a margin of at least three Tests just to maintain its very high rating.

  • Nampally on January 5, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    Harbhajan said India has the edge. He is right because he took 2 wickets with the ball doing tricks - turn and uneven bounce + dust. He has to continue to exploit the pitch with accurate spin bowling similar to what Steyn did with pace bowling - controlled length, swing & pace.If Harbhajan can take early wickets of the 2 bats at the crease + Kallis & de Vellier, then India has a chance.So Harbhajan put your money where your mouth is and show how it is done - i.e., Indian Victory. Only by actions you can convince people. India might have edge now but unless you take all SA 10 wickets at a low total it is anybody's game. Get SA out within 200 then India has a chance.

  • on January 5, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    @NRI11: U seem to have lost it......:(.....I dont agree with u..TI is doing exceedingly well from the past year & a half....Fast bowling with pace above 145kph is more effective,but that doensn't mean that bowling below 135kph isn't good enough...Zak has picked up wickets in the subcontinent with flat pitches...When a weak Aus team gets beaten 2-0 in Ind from where cn u brinhg Bangladesh' 20 wickets into picture??

  • mits6 on January 5, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    @ NRI 11 . I think ur comment is full of frustation or u commented for others to respond 2 ur comment . Regarding ur comment , why SA failed to win Abu Dhabi matches against pakistan ???? becoz the pitch was not favouring bowlers & there the world's best bowler failed too.conclusion u can draw urself . BTW cricket is a team game what individual cricketer does or ranks d not matters ,but how the team performs do matter .an example WI of 80s do not have a world class spinner ,then does it matters ? or u say the team was incomplete .they won , & that makes them no.1. thats the case with india they are no.1 becoz comparatively ,they are better. u supporting england are U a non-resident Indian (NRI) residing in england.

  • on January 5, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    @NRI11: I think u never follow cricket properly.... a team is never ranked because of the individual performances or by comparing man to man with other teams.... a team is judged just on the success of the team as a bunch of 11..... look at the way a team bounds back after losing a match....no matter whether u win a series 1-0 or 2-1, every match has its weight when it comes to rating them..... and at the end of the day what counts is win or loss, i think u should follow test cricket first before making such funny comments.........

  • on January 5, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    @ NRI : India of today is n't a force as Aus or WI had been. But that never makes them not a No 1. Its n't easy to not loose 9 series on trot and again 10th undefeated series in on Cards.

  • on January 5, 2011, 3:34 GMT

    why is India's number 1 rating getting so much hostility? Nobody in their right minds is saying that this Indian team are world beaters like the aussies were or the windies before them? all that the rating is conveying is that Team India over the last 2-3 years are better and more consistent than the rest - SA is second for the same reason. Yes winning at home is a strength but can't be ignored and taken for granted. If it is easy then every team or team that loses at home should be penalized with negative points. And really besides SA & OZ India has won/drawn series everywhere - and really have run OZ extemely close in their last two series. If not India WHO IS NUMBER 1 and WHY? Only SA comes close - but they could not win at home against OZ & England - and are justifiably at 2 - close. And Sri Lanka is not even in the frame as far as winning abroad.

  • pankaj7tripathi on January 5, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    India should knock out SA for 260-270 and then will just about knock of the required runs with 2 wickets left.. what a series..!! Well thats the ideal as far as us Indians are concerned but whatever happens India can be proud of their cricket this time around..Well done SA and India for a great test series.

  • Waterboy_sixs on January 5, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    To Mr./Miss NRI11 after all these performances are you still underestimating the No 1 team, so please do change your idea, I too was like you but now I am changing!

  • on January 5, 2011, 2:42 GMT

    SA never had a quality Spinner in their ranks and could never play spin confidently which prevented them from conquering the No.1 Test Ranking.Otherwise,Hansie's SA had a better bowling line-up ,as good a Pace-playing batting line-up and far more superior fielding unit than Steve Waugh's Aussies.Even today, you will see Harbhajan eating up the wickets like biscuits just like Shane Warne did to SA during his days and their lack of proficiency in playing spin will prevent them from conquering India which is slightly a better overall unit.

  • 11Noobs on January 5, 2011, 2:09 GMT

    Bhajji could teach a thing or two to Dravid and Sehwag about batting! Agree with ash0602.

  • on January 5, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    the way Bhaji starts his innings makes a difference. He starts with attacking the bowlers with some unorthodox shots. So opposition changes their plan, & then Bhaji just plays cool & calm. Sometimes it works & sometimes not. y'day it did worked.

  • on January 5, 2011, 0:44 GMT

    Whenever Bhajji does good with bat..he grows in self-confidence and he does well with the ball too!

  • gaithersburgman on January 5, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    The below was posted by me while commenting on the Newlands Track article by Firdose Moonda on (December 31 2010, 18:34 PM GMT)

    "Neither side would like to lose this series after being evenly poised. It won't be the pitch alone that will ultimately decide the result. It can be the weather, or injuries or even the changing strategies of the captains, depending on the circumstances. Cannot predict the outcome now, but will know during the 3rd session of 3rd day, which way the match is tilting. After that session in particular the outcome will be predictible with no big surprises to follow."

    Now SA is adopting a safety first strategy, Jacques Kallis is injured and may not bat, and India has already bagged two wickets in the 3rd session of Day 3. SA will be under a lot of pressure.

    Only Amla & AB stand in the way of India's victory.

  • NRI- on January 4, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    Win or lose, no one really regards India as no 1. It's a nonsense, they always win their series 1-0 or 2-1 and that gets the same marks in the system as when you win 5 nil like the dominant WI or Australia used to. If each test match carried points, SA or England would be no 1. SA, Eng, Aus and India - they are all equal. India has 4 great batsmen - Sehwag, Gambhir, VVS and SRT, 1 great allrounder (Harbhajan) and 1 decent swing bowler in Zak. Dhoni is very good too but the other four spots are weak spots. How can you be no 1 when there is not a single bowler who can consistently even bowl 140, let alone 145 or 150? And only one spinner of real class. India can only win on bowler friendly or crumbling wickets, otherwise they will struggle to get 20 Bangladeshi or Zimbabwean wickets.

  • Vicious87 on January 4, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    Harbhajan has matured as a player overall.. I think his effort to "stop sreesanth" from getting too aggresive is a maturity level within itself. He is a great bowler.. bowling really well at the moment. I think harbhajan will be the difference in this 2nd innings and the result will depend a lot on how well bhajji bowls! GAME ON!

  • RameshSubramaniam on January 4, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Smith was reluctant to declare against Pakistan with 350 on board with one day to play. Definitely he is not going to declare with less than 300 against India.

  • ash0602 on January 4, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Law of averages says, bhajji will perform with bowl, sehwag, dravid & pujara with bat and India will win provided they get around 3 sessions to play... if same rule is applied to SA, alviro & boucher will play with bat, while morkel & harris bowling will be the key, but again with these players they cannot win against India ;) Let's watch 2 most exciting days!

  • indianpunter on January 4, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    spin them out, Bhaji ! your next 7fer today.

  • STEAM_ROLLING_XI on January 4, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    Only two possibilities from hereon....... INDIA wins it handsomely or a draw....... Smith has a defensive mindset owing to which he won't make a sporting declaration!

  • moBlue on January 4, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    @kenneth2007 you haven't liked harbhajan's bowling in this series? i think centurion offered him no help at all... but starting with durban, and now so far at cape town, he has bowled very well as a classic off-spinner. this pitch offers reasonably quick turn and bounce and variable bounce to him, more than enough for him to never have to bowl a single doosra, and still get a ton of SA wickets! what am i missing?

  • TeamINDIAWins on January 4, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    First session with Sreeshanth/Ishanth/Bhajji will Rule SA batting line-up .......

  • big_cheese on January 4, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    @KENNETH2007 - More confidence on his batting than his bowling? Obviously we both don't follow the same sport. As for me, I follow Cricket. Harbhajan is a fighter and that remains a fact. Kudos Sardar, you did well with the bat, now is the time to show the world some spinning. I feel, with Smith gone, Amla remains to be the key wicket. If they can get Amla out early, India will have clear advantage. However, if Amla stays for a session or two, that makes it much tougher for India to win from there.

    Steyn - the best bowler in the world bowled like the best bowler in the world.

  • Champ2000 on January 4, 2011, 20:59 GMT

    he is going to get 5 for this inning...

  • lakshya1 on January 4, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    bhajji will be the key tomorrow. also, sehway needs to score some more runs (than he already has) and pujara needs to back his place with a good knock. all the best team india.

  • KENNETH2007 on January 4, 2011, 20:34 GMT

    Now i have more confidence on his batting then on his bowling....hope he bowls his doosras back again tomorrow...that might help India a bit .....in bundling the SA batsmen ......

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  • KENNETH2007 on January 4, 2011, 20:34 GMT

    Now i have more confidence on his batting then on his bowling....hope he bowls his doosras back again tomorrow...that might help India a bit .....in bundling the SA batsmen ......

  • lakshya1 on January 4, 2011, 20:46 GMT

    bhajji will be the key tomorrow. also, sehway needs to score some more runs (than he already has) and pujara needs to back his place with a good knock. all the best team india.

  • Champ2000 on January 4, 2011, 20:59 GMT

    he is going to get 5 for this inning...

  • big_cheese on January 4, 2011, 21:12 GMT

    @KENNETH2007 - More confidence on his batting than his bowling? Obviously we both don't follow the same sport. As for me, I follow Cricket. Harbhajan is a fighter and that remains a fact. Kudos Sardar, you did well with the bat, now is the time to show the world some spinning. I feel, with Smith gone, Amla remains to be the key wicket. If they can get Amla out early, India will have clear advantage. However, if Amla stays for a session or two, that makes it much tougher for India to win from there.

    Steyn - the best bowler in the world bowled like the best bowler in the world.

  • TeamINDIAWins on January 4, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    First session with Sreeshanth/Ishanth/Bhajji will Rule SA batting line-up .......

  • moBlue on January 4, 2011, 22:31 GMT

    @kenneth2007 you haven't liked harbhajan's bowling in this series? i think centurion offered him no help at all... but starting with durban, and now so far at cape town, he has bowled very well as a classic off-spinner. this pitch offers reasonably quick turn and bounce and variable bounce to him, more than enough for him to never have to bowl a single doosra, and still get a ton of SA wickets! what am i missing?

  • STEAM_ROLLING_XI on January 4, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    Only two possibilities from hereon....... INDIA wins it handsomely or a draw....... Smith has a defensive mindset owing to which he won't make a sporting declaration!

  • indianpunter on January 4, 2011, 22:45 GMT

    spin them out, Bhaji ! your next 7fer today.

  • ash0602 on January 4, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Law of averages says, bhajji will perform with bowl, sehwag, dravid & pujara with bat and India will win provided they get around 3 sessions to play... if same rule is applied to SA, alviro & boucher will play with bat, while morkel & harris bowling will be the key, but again with these players they cannot win against India ;) Let's watch 2 most exciting days!

  • RameshSubramaniam on January 4, 2011, 23:03 GMT

    Smith was reluctant to declare against Pakistan with 350 on board with one day to play. Definitely he is not going to declare with less than 300 against India.