South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day

Gambhir defies pain to grind down South Africa

For an attacking batsman, Gautam Gambhir shows a surprisingly liking for situations where dour defending is the need of the hour

Sidharth Monga at Newlands

January 6, 2011

Comments: 68 | Text size: A | A

Gautam Gambhir jumps as he defends a short ball, South Africa v India, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 5th day, January 6, 2011
Gautam Gambhir defied the South Africa bowlers and his injured elbow to save the Cape Town Test for India © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Gautam Gambhir
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Gautam Gambhir loves these situations; situations which attacking batsmen such as himself should find difficult in theory. A match to save, no thought of scoring runs, no release of pressure through boundaries, just grinding the opposition down, and boring the hell out of them. It is not as easy to do as it is to say. Not when your injured hand has combined with a fresh hit to your elbow to put you out of cricket for a few weeks. Not when you decide to come out to bat one last time against Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel on an uneven pitch, with that crazy swing from the first innings still on your mind. Not when the third ball you face hits you on the same aching elbow that needed icing for a whole day.

During an equally important innings he played in Napier in 2008-09, where he batted longer in terms of time (close to 11 hours), but faced a lesser challenge from the track and the bowlers - VVS Laxman noticed that Gambhir hadn't said a word for a very, very long time. Gambhir told Laxman he didn't want to come out of the zone he was in. That innings, he went at 12 runs an hour. Today, as he went at 14 runs to the hour. He had found a similar zone.

Gambhir repelled everything the fast bowlers threw at him. There were judicious leaves either on line or length, or both. When the bouncers were at him, he rode the bounce well. When the leg gully came in, he managed to fend the ball down into the ground. When Steyn went round the wicket and looked for a repeat of the dismissal from the second innings in Centurion, he managed to clip him for four.

Paul Harris provided him with a challenge, even though Gambhir is one of the best players and dominators of spin in the world, because of the rough outside the left-hand batsman's off stump. When Harris bowled from the Kelvin Grove End, the ball kicked and turned and snarled at him, but Gambhir swallowed his pride and just kept kicking away balls pitched in the rough. Some of them reared up towards his hurt elbow, some even higher, but he resisted the urge for release. Balls and minutes went by, and Gambhir looked more and more entrenched.

The only time he got anxious to score runs wasn't a surprise. He gets a little fidgety in the 40s and the 90s, wanting to reach the landmark as quickly as possible. Even in Napier, where he put the rest of the world out of his head like a monk, he got to his fifty and his hundred by steeping out to a spinner and lofting him over the infield. He got more enterprising in the 40s again, punching Steyn down the ground for four, and driving him over point with what was not a controlled shot. He then played and missed one, charged at Harris again, and was not steady until he had square-cut Steyn to bring up his 11th fifty-plus score in the 30 attempts he has had to bat in the second innings.

The steadiness was deflating for South Africa, especially after Rahul Dravid got out just before tea. Gambhir had made 62 from 142 when Dravid got out, and then just to make sure South Africa were completely disheartened, he scored only two off the next 42 deliveries. For those who respect stonewallers, it was a beautiful passage of play that started just before Dravid's dismissal: Gambhir added five runs in 58 deliveries.

By the time he got out in an unfortunate manner, gloving one down the leg side, Gambhir had made sure the series had been saved. India were not surprised at the source of this particular kind of resistance. "We saw the Napier innings, which was very special," MS Dhoni said. "We all knew he was one guy who could do it. It was really good to see him take those big heavy blows on the body and still continue. You need plenty of courage to do that, and it was good to see the bat the way he did. Unfortunately he got out. If he had stayed till the end, it would have been much better, but still happy because the team needed that and one of the individuals stepped up and said, 'Okay I will be the person to do that.'"

Now that the game has petered out to a tame draw, Gambhir's effort might look easier than it was, but it took all his concentration to bat and not do what every batsman loves to do: score runs. Gambhir didn't get a century on the tour that was to be his biggest test as an opener, but he looked good for one on three occasions out of the four times he batted. Quietly during the series, Gambhir has walked away with a lot of credit.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by notspot on (January 7, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

I think Indians shoud name their own Man of the Match after every Test, just for the Indian Team. That is the only way to give some recognition to the tremendous fight put up by Gauti in the third test match.

Posted by praume2001 on (January 7, 2011, 19:07 GMT)

i guess...murali vijay shud open the batting with gambhir...as they both r specialist openers... pujara at no. 3 and sehwag at 5...by doing this we can fill dravid's position... and can use sehwag better against old ball... but the only problem wud b...dhoni and sehwag are almost run a ball player and laxman wud hv to shoulder much more responsibility then...but still its worth a risk...

Posted by sandunk on (January 7, 2011, 18:47 GMT)

Why do people even argue who is the no. 1 team? It's really none of their business. It is decided by point system as established by ICC, whoever is at top is the no.1 at that point of time. Is it that hard to follow? A true no.1 is decided over a period of time, not by a single game or series. And that is true across all sports, whether its tennis, soccer or kabaddi.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 17:35 GMT)

@A.Afker

And you forgot to mention the same India that defeated England in their backyard the last time they met.

The order is as it is

India 1 SA 2 ENG probably 3(they beat the number 5 side gosh!!! SL are better)

And dont you worry you will get the answer once India travels to England after the WC.

Posted by sachin1111989 on (January 7, 2011, 16:45 GMT)

A fair result, but wonder what would have been the outcome if only there was a practice match. India, certainly created more winning opportunities than SA. Apart from one bad day at Centurion, it was a splendid performance by India. SA, on the other hand, have some problems. The batting, apart from Kallis and to a lesser extent Amla, has looked vulnerable against a weaker attack. And, as ever, SA struggle to find a top quality spinner that could have won them the final test. India, on the other hand, cannot find a suitable partner for Zaheer Khan, without which, a series win in SA seems impossible.

Posted by Jithinvsjj on (January 7, 2011, 15:50 GMT)

@A.Afker...Its not that you deciding the ratings... Kindly avoid such comments plssss

Posted by kdcricket on (January 7, 2011, 15:35 GMT)

@Afker...dont forget England lost to Aussies in a test match(got whipped pretty bad)...India did not

Posted by DaisonGarvasis on (January 7, 2011, 15:31 GMT)

@A. Afker - You wish!!! There is a correction buddy. For your information, India is the Number 1 and thats it - you like it or not. England Beat Australia and that is a team on a slide down. Well, the last time I checked India beat Australia 2-0 in the series. You might think it may have been 1-1 "IF" australia had beaten India once. But the "truth" is Australia did not beat India.If the win was for one wicket or not. There are other "ifs" on England's win too. "IF" Mitch Johnson got back his swing on other matches like he did on the third test, the result of ashes would have been different. So you can say all "ifs and buts" as much as you like. But the result stands. When Australia and SA were number 1 sides there were no complaints. Why you got a problem now? You must have expected India to be blown away in South Africa but the "truth" that too didnt happen. So calm down and watch india play. Let england also play win more tests and get their Number 1 position if they deserve it.

Posted by Rushikey on (January 7, 2011, 14:25 GMT)

Don't judge England team by Ashesh performance.. Player from both the sides play in Ashesh series with their heart out.. some succeed some won't, Its similar to India Pakistan matches, Every player gives their 200% in these clashes.. They can repeat these kind feeling and playing efforts in any other tournament.. So don't judge Englands prolific performance in Ashes only.. Take a look at their performance in other series also.. Then you will realise why England is not No. 1

Posted by Rushikey on (January 7, 2011, 14:18 GMT)

Hi A.Afker, Well I liked your statistics, But you forgot to mention the playing conditions, England won the matches against Aus on spitches which have some support for the bowler..not the flat batting friendly wickets like IND.. You will get your answer who is no. 1 in a comming world Cup

Posted by Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on (January 7, 2011, 13:06 GMT)

@Mr. Afker, good joke! :D

Please we request england to become no 1 by the might of its team. I have a lot of respect for straussy, swanny, jimmy & pieterson's capabilities. but rather than this kind of twisted talks, I believe they would like to take the crown by fighting it out at the ground. so let's stop talking and wait for the next series in England and we shall see who's the boss! B-|

Posted by Hindh on (January 7, 2011, 12:54 GMT)

@afker For england to be no 1 they will have to beat india in india in a test series. Until then sadly for afker england cant replace india from the pole position.

Posted by Vilander on (January 7, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

@A.Afker , you make me laugh India beat Eng home and away. Ind drew SA home and away India Beat Aus at home. Eng has got Aus away, and drew SA away. But where is their India performance.

India 1, SA 2, SL 3,Eng 4 till Eng proves themselves in india :)

Posted by Harry0009 on (January 7, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

I would not go by rankings. This Indian team is the best in the world at the moment. Performing well against SA in SA proves anyone beyond doubt about this especially after the thrashing received in the first test. Eng is playing well no doubt and credit to them but Aus is definitely not a team to compare against SA at this state, and hence the Eng's margin of victory rightly states that. India dominated well in the last two test matches despite an excellent piece of fast bowling you would ever see in Steyn. The team should not be judged by the fact when things are going well for them. They should be judged by the fact that how many times they have come out of hole from a disastrous situation. India has done that time and again over the last two years across the tests played. They have come out of situations when all you can expect is a defeat staring in their face. 1-1 is a fair result considering the fact SA played in their own backyard.

Posted by bipulgrishma on (January 7, 2011, 11:58 GMT)

Lot is being said about England the No.1 team in the world.. And I can understand the reason why - they have played a fabulous series in Australia thrashing them 3-1. England fans are even more vocal and euphoric, after all, the Ashes retaining victory and a victory on Oz soil has come after 24 years. They were bruised in between 1989 - 2009, with just 2 victories in 2005 and 2008 in England. England's sole and only International trophy triumph (World T20) has also come this year. Hence, they have a reason to believe that they have finally arrived, although a lot late I would say. India - used to defeat Oz and square series with them when Oz were in prime. They had players from the Golden Era i.e. Warne, McGrath, Waugh brothers, Hayden, Langer, Martin [I dont need to harp on 1999, 2001, 2004 and the recently concluded series 2010 series]. India lost a series in 2007 in Oz, which was highly skewed because of the Sydney test dubious episodes. India has always been a conqueror. IndiaIsNo1

Posted by backwardpoint on (January 7, 2011, 11:51 GMT)

nskaile - just wondering: r u just a front for Gautam Gambhir or Gambhir himself? From some ppl who know nothing abt cricket or are not cricketers? Mmh. I used to like Gambhir till now but stupid comments like this makes me think twice.

Posted by IMObserver on (January 7, 2011, 11:15 GMT)

Shewag needs to take some lesons from Gautam. Dravid should retire.

Posted by Soham_soni on (January 7, 2011, 11:13 GMT)

Come July-August and we will beat England too.. :) We have done that in past, in 2007, with same bowlers England has now.... So lets wait and watch.. India will prevail...

Posted by A.Afker on (January 7, 2011, 10:49 GMT)

@Balaji Viswanathan. True ENG beat dead snake at their back yard by 3-1 margin.But all 3 victoies came by an Innings margin in AUS.But against the same dead snake IND sturgle to win even in IND.The results could have 1-1 but unfortunately it goes other way.Finally IND won 2-0 one match by 7wkts & other one by just 1wkt.So now tell me who is the more strong team.Definetly ENG but not the IND. @Mann007 SA bowled out IND 5 times out of 6 innings,whereas IND only managed 4.Not only that SA atleast managed one time each all the 3matches and IND only twice.That is the truth.At the moment ENG is no1,SA is 2 and IND is 3 and so on.

Posted by faisalmdvm on (January 7, 2011, 10:10 GMT)

For those who question indias no.1 status please get your facts right . This may not be the best team India has ever produced but this team has got in it the talent to put up a tight fight against all teams at their own backyards. And no team is greater than India unless and untill they win a series against the current Indian team in In dia on the so called flat batting tracks where batting is supposedly easy for any team and getting 20 wickets is tough. Folks be a little realistic when you post your comments. True, England had a great series against Australia and they are on their way to no1, untill they reach there it's India. And for that matter england is yet to win a series in India. And let's see how india fares in england. A draw there would still be good enough to prove india no1 given the quality of competitiveness b/n the top 4 teams.Precisely India is no-1 at the moment and that's a fact no matter how hard it is to digest for my brothers of other respected cricketing nations

Posted by Cool_Jeeves on (January 7, 2011, 10:03 GMT)

It doesn't matter that we are #1 and England #3. They have thrashed Australia after a significant improvement in bowling strength relative to the team that hung in against South Africa. The only material consideration is whether we are going to be good enough to beat them in July.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 9:36 GMT)

Get your history right before commenting. Napier is in New Zealand is in Australia. It is Gautam and not Veeru.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 8:56 GMT)

@Bharadvaj Podduturi : Get your history right buddy.. Viru was the one who saved a test in Aus.. I am damn sure he was given order not to go after bowlers.. otherwise he would have tried to win the game

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 7:10 GMT)

bhajji has become too defensive playing too much one day and t20 cricket . Why was he bowling with a long on and deep square leg the whole series I have no idea. kallis almost took 30 singles nudging it too square leg in second innngs.I guess playing on road tracks in India has also a bearing in the mindset of both dhoni and bhajji

Posted by iluvtest on (January 7, 2011, 6:44 GMT)

@Nerk So you think India should go after a total of 340 in 90 overs(almost 4 an over) on a last day pitch against Steyn & co in a test where in the first three innings run rate is only near 3 even by South Africa against lesser bowling attack and comprehensively lose.No way.It is definitely important to win but it is more important to not lose and India has done that excellently and proven that they are no bunnies outside sub continent any more.Any way all are pointing out about indian batsmen are flat track bullies and only good for sub continent may i ask one humble question?What is preventing other teams to win in India on so called flat tracks and how India are keep winning by taking 20 wickets on the same flat tracks?It is common that the home country will have advantage and any visiting country to draw a series against strong teams is good enough to say that they are a better team and with a hint of luck things may be better.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:59 GMT)

fab. innings by gautam....he consistently gets all those imp runs and stil doubters about his game pop up after his single failure.shame..

Posted by nskaile on (January 7, 2011, 5:37 GMT)

I hope from now on i will never read comments like "Gauti should be kicked out and M, Vijay should take his place" from some ppl who have no knowledge about cricket or cricketers.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 5:32 GMT)

Don't question Sehwag's ability out side sub continent. He is not an opener, He is a middle order batsman and JUST A MAKE SHIFT OPENER. HE has done his job so perfectly that he is considered to be a genuine opener. He should come in at No4 or NO5. Then when the ball stops moving around or when it is old imagine a bowlers frame of mind to see Sehwag roaring in. India should find a good opener and allow Sehwag to go back to his middle order position. Also some one like Badri should definitely be playing in Indian side. Look at the runs he scored against the hostile Rajastan attack for Tn in Ranji Semis.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (January 7, 2011, 4:18 GMT)

@ Nerk. If India got a flying start from Viru, say a quick fifty from him, things would have been different. We saw it in the past too. But he went early and then there is no chance to chase 300+. But at the end of the day it is a moral victory for India as SA bowlers were not able to take 20 Indian wickets in their home. And the under rated Indian attack bowled them out twice in the match.

Posted by   on (January 7, 2011, 2:03 GMT)

For those who think England are no. 1 should remember what happened to them 2 years against India. They lost ODIs 5-0 and Tests 1-0 with a lot of the same cast as the current team. And India has improved since then. Just because they defeated a dead snake they cannot be considered as No. 1. They have to beat India.

Posted by Umamahesh_Srigiriraju on (January 7, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

@Nerk, mate I shudder to think that you are a person who is just concerned about a result regardless of who wins it. If result is all you wanted, you could have easily seen that it was the South African Captain who made a win for India an impossibility. One guy played it safe to start with. No, you can't equate the other guy with the first guy for choosing to play it safe. Smith never believed in South Africa's ability to take 10 Indian Wickets in 100 overs with a target of 270 to 300. Thanks to the Sehwag factor. If Graeme thought of instilling that element of doubt and greed in the Indian camp with an alluring target, we both would be talking something different now. Don't forget that South Africa took more than a day to make 341 for 10 against Indian Bowlers. Draw or Indian loss are the only results possible and Indians took the logical route. Thanks to Graeme for asking us to play it safe. Dhoni and Gary are not blind or desparate to jump for a non-existent Cookie.

Posted by Jacobite on (January 7, 2011, 0:35 GMT)

Young players do not need to replace the older gentlemen straightaway. Blood them by giving them some, but not constant, exposure to test cricket. Get them to play in the occasional test match, especially in situations where the series has been decided, until they are ready to take over completely from the current illustrious group of batsmen. It would also be ideal if the BCCI would look at playing an older batsman and his proposed replacement in the same match. Don't worry about the apparent absurdity of having, for example, two number 3 specialists in the same game. Just imagine the amount of learning and teaching that could happen between the two.

Posted by Dr.K.H.Iyer on (January 7, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

Next tour of SA: Sachin/Dravid/Laxman may or may not be there ! But what about the pace attack! Zaheer is already 32 and can't expect pacemen to last till 36/37 or even 34! I don't see a single bowler worthy of taking over from him! Whatever, BCCI should look at conditioning camps for the current crop of pacers and should start fast bowling clinics to nurture new ones! time is nearing for Zaheer to take the role of mentor like Srinath did late in his career! BCCi should take care of his physical conditioning because he is the only one who knows his trade!

Posted by Srikanth_D on (January 6, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

Gambhir is a class act and this innings just goes to show that. @Bharadvaj Podduturi: dude, Sehwag averages 59.5 in Australia.. Just because he didn't score in this series in SA, you can't just pass such comments. Yes, he is Tiger at home.But don't brush off his efforts away from home..

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (January 6, 2011, 23:50 GMT)

For all those of you who are either biased SA supporters OR over optimistic Indian supporters, as a cricketer myself I can safely stick my neck out and tell you that batting on the 5th day chasing 340 runs against arguably the world's best fast bowling pair is a NO NO. It's simply impossible. Had India put SA in similar conditions they wouldn't go for the win either because of the Harbhajan factor. India did VERY WELL by fighting out for a draw and ensuring they share the trophy in what's a VERY TOUGH country to tour. Only Australia in their prime managed to beat SA and then again both countries have similar conditions.

Inda is clearly the BEST and ONLY sub-continent team to win games in SA, AUS etc. So we must give them that due. I still feel Dhoni and his boys will celebrate this draw like WIN because of the history of Indian tours to SA. Dhoni is a successful captain and will continue to shepherd India forward in years to come. Well done INDIA !!

Posted by FMatt on (January 6, 2011, 22:56 GMT)

@Nerk, Oh, so India should have chased down 340 on a 5th day deteriorating pitch against the vaunted attack of Steyn and Morkel, sure..... I can see that logic as a South African fan looking to win a test that Smith and Co. played safe to begin with on day 4!!! How come Smith didn't want to declare after tea on the 4th day if he was so confident about his bowlers? OR maybe you mean India should have done what South Africa didn't manage to do with more than 1 day and 37 runs fewer to score in the 2nd test at Durban. I see the logic of that as well... come on, give me a break... If SA is not going to take risks to win this test, don't complain about India's approach to draw the test - the most logical thing to do. Would I have slowed scoring down completely like Indian batsmen did? Probably not. In fact, I commented here y'day that it would be disastrous to try and just play out the 90 overs against such good SA bowling attack. But India managed to do that so many kudos to our batsmen!

Posted by nmaniar on (January 6, 2011, 22:45 GMT)

This was the best chance for India to beat SA in SA. Because, next time India tours South Africa, Sachin/Dravid/Laxman might not be there. India's bowling let them down, they seriously have to think about getting some real quality pace bowlers to support Zaheer Khan. I would say South Africa, gave away opportunity to win the match by declaring so late. The kind of pitch it was even 250 runs was a big task. And if they had given a total that would have tempted Indian batsman to go for, Indian batsman would have lost wickets in the process of scoring those runs. Nevertheless, everybody is praising Kallis's batting, but I feel Indian batsmen played better than the South Africans on South African soil against the best bowling pair in the world at present. Well played India but we fell short of bit discipline and tactics in bowling. By the way, one thing to notice, Harbhajan didnt bowl a single doosra in the entire series.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

Why do we even send Sehwag to places outside the sub-continent. He will be pretty much a failure, instead we should opt for some steady opener, who might not be as exciting to watch as Sehwag, but can at least get 30+ runs in each innings. Sehwag is a Tiger in the Sub-Continent, but looks completely lost outside. Going and failing outside the sub-continent might also hamper is self confidence.

Posted by Vice-Captain on (January 6, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

Totally agree... Gauti is a rock star. Hope Sehwag comes good in the one-dayers. His confidence will be critical for the WC.

Posted by Nerk on (January 6, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

166 in a day. After such a riveting contest throughout this series, such a let down on the final day. It was like neither team wanted a win, and would be happy to draw. True, Gambhir's innings was a supurb show of grit and determination. But this was not a great draw, as some claim. Great draws happen when a team survive a last day with no chance of winning. 340 in a day is a chance of winning. A big chance of winning. Especially with India's middle order of Tendulkar and Laxman. No offence to Gambhir's innings, or Dravids, but it would have been good to see India go after the total. It was not unimpossible by any stretch. But well done to India on their first drawn series in Sth. Africa.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:02 GMT)

It kind of makes sense that this might be India's best chance to win the test but I thikn we have to look at the other side of the coin here. Do South Africa have a replacement for Kallis? Furthermore, throughout the series Peterson and Prince looked rather disposable except one good inning from each. India have an excellent replacement for Dravid and Laxman-- Pujara and Kohli. If SA can brush up JP Duminy, he can be a great player just like Suresh Raina. So I think both teams will face the same problem. Perhaps India slightly more.

Posted by rohanblue on (January 6, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

gauti is d man.............

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

When India Grab No 1 Ranking, Everyone started to Say Aus is the Real No 1. Once Aus has been beaten by different teams. Then people started to Say SA is the Real No 1. And again India drawn a series in India. Even though people said that that's their own backyard, they should have won. ok, Finally here in SA, India has 1-1 Draw the series. Now the So called commentators started to talk Eng is the real No 1, they have the firework(If they have the firework against aussie then that doesn't mean that they are No 1). Please wait couple more years, win more series against diff countries then say this, that would make some sense, otherwise that's meaningless talk. I don't really know why this much curse against Indian Cricket Team.

Posted by crazyuddie on (January 6, 2011, 22:01 GMT)

He also played very well in the first innings. It was a crucial partnership with SRT.

Posted by sitaram58 on (January 6, 2011, 21:25 GMT)

should have been a TWO match series and a 9 ODI series.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 21:22 GMT)

Really well fought series! Zaheer Khan was turning point for India, otherwise it could well be the same old tale.

Posted by ironmonkey on (January 6, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

Good article. If Napier and this innings are any indication, then Gambhir is the man to take over from Rahul Dravid once the great man retires. This bodes well for Indian cricket.

Posted by cooljack_143 on (January 6, 2011, 20:32 GMT)

Great job Gautam!! You deserve all the credit to level the series,infact you were my man of the match.I wish it was shared between kallis and Gautam, the wounded tiogers, but still fought to see victory for either side.India did a very good job as compared to other times this team is really th ebest one ever.Batting through the whole day isnt a joke, it takes lot of hard work and determination which India has showed in this test match.As though this match is drawn but for a fine performance from both the sides.No regrets whatsoever.A perfect test match to show the players skills.Please dont forget VVS contribution in this series,without whom India would have ended up loosing it.

Posted by MasterClass on (January 6, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

In a different context Gambhir's innings was just as important as Kallis'. Thank You Gauti!!! I love the last line: "Quietly during the series, Gambhir has walked away with a lot of credit." SO VERY TRUE.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

Gambhir is a naturally attacking player whose efforts tend to get overlooked (sometimes with reason) by Sehwag's at the other end. Time and again though, he has shown a steel beneath fidgety exterior where he has let his ego take a backseat. He has toned down his fiery temper and aggression to realize that grafting to save a test match is as much an opener's USP as is belting the leather to set it up. Napier, and this effort speaks as much of his mental resolve as does the his top score to set up the World T20 win. And the experience he carries back from this tour would serve him well to become a more rounded opener ..

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 20:09 GMT)

Great series...it was fantastic to watch through out...What a gritty knock by Gambhir again to save the match....I think this match is not a tame draw...there were tremendous fight backs one from Kallis on 4th day and other from Gambhir on 5th day...It was nt soo easy to bat on that pitch....Centuries from Tendulkar and Kallis are class acts..Looking forward to more series b/w these 2 teams....What a bowler Steyn is...He is the best I have seen...Though would have loved if India won the series..

Posted by MasterClass on (January 6, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

Gauti's THE MAN!! I had piped Gauti to be KEY and he proved me correct when there were many detractors on here that questioned his ability, techinque, grit and heart. Unfortunately Sehwag disappointed, although I was pleased to see his approach in the last inning, even though he got out cheap. If he had applied himself like that in previous innings (with measured aggression to see-off the new ball) India would have had much better starts and greatly improved the chances of winning. PLEASE Sehwag temper your aggression. A measured approach is what Ind need from you in oversea matches. You can still play your aggressive game in sub-continent matches!

Posted by VickGower on (January 6, 2011, 20:00 GMT)

With all due respect to Dravid for what he has achieved in his career, I think Gambhir in SA sat down and cleared an exam Dravid never could. Gambhir really is Wall X. A bunker that can withstand the sort of brutal shelling Dravid might not, while retaining the ability to morph into a Destroyer like Sehwag. A guy who is pretty good in all forms of cricket - he is the model for India's upcoming cricketers.

Posted by green_jelly on (January 6, 2011, 19:50 GMT)

Prime example of how a drawn test can be riveting! India and SA showed how test cricket should be played, unlike Australia who like to lose by an innings and say "at least it wasn't a boring draw".

Posted by kriskini on (January 6, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

Its good that series is drawn since the Indian critics still have something to say. Poor Indian critics donot worry a time will come when India will go down completely. But understand everything has begin and end. Look at Australia. a crushing 3-1 defeat is unavoidable at their own backyard.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 19:37 GMT)

Great Job GUYS!!! Test cricket at its best. WOW! What a Test series...Thanks to both the teams to show this kind of stunner...

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 19:25 GMT)

Amazing batting effort from Gambhir..He really learnt the art of saving the test matches back in New Zealand two years ago I guess. He along with Laxman have been the two saviors in the second innings. I think he has much more to offer for us in the coming years. Let's wait and watch about what he does in the future.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

I think South AFrica miss the plot in the morning..... when they bowled too wide out side off stump... to both the openers.... they should have gone for bowled and LBW instead they were going for cought behind... and catches in the slip... that allowed Sehwag and gambhir... to set.... if in the morning... they would have bowled straight... and on the stumps... situation might have been somewhat difference.....

Posted by dr.jha on (January 6, 2011, 19:22 GMT)

RESPECT.................................

Posted by cricPassion2009 on (January 6, 2011, 19:18 GMT)

It was India at its competitive best in first innings and professional best in second. Full credit to Kallis and Boucher for pushing the target to 340, effectively changing India's strategy to defensive one. Neither deserved to lose. True cricket fans will love this test series. It is fantastic to see these two sides play positive cricket and get along well.

Take a bow, Tendulkar, Kallis, Laxman.

Posted by Nipun on (January 6, 2011, 19:16 GMT)

Virender Sehwag averages about 25 in South Africa after 3 tours there,& similarly low in New Zealand after 2 tours there....that shows the worth of the man when the pitch has pace & bounce & the ball moves a bit.On the other hand,there's Gautam Gambhir,who had performed excellently in New Zealand in 2009,& frankly,has been really good in this SA tour against the hellish pair of Steyn & Morkel.I had doubts about Gambhir's calibre,to be honest,but when you succeed against Steyn & Morkel to score 3 50+ scores out of 4,you've got to be really good.A much better & proper opener than Sehwag.

Posted by gooey_kablooie on (January 6, 2011, 19:04 GMT)

I should emphasize the vitality and difficulty of this innings to all those who think India played cowardly. If it would have been SA batsmen playing on this 5th day they would have struggled. Apart from Kallis none of the SA batsmen tasted success in this tour. We saw how AB deVilliers dismissed the Indian bowlers in the first Test but when under pressure his faults became highlighted. I think this series showed where the teams stand. I should say India were the better team. Take Kallis out of the equation and the SA batting looks very vulnerable. Instead of Smith and Co. trying to talk and blame they should look to improve. I mean no home series wins since they played Bangladesh in 2008. Are you kidding me ??

Posted by Angad11 on (January 6, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

There it is guyz, its over. All the talk, all the hype, all the predictions have come to an end, finally series drawn 1-1. It was a great series, justyfied result considering both teams were equally matched. Got to watch some great cricket, intense cricket. Apart from kallis, sachin, steyn was a treat to watch. Its a shame that this is not a 5 match series. Lessons to be learnt for India, kick out Ishant Sharma from the team, fire the bowling coach whoever it is. Start to find replacement for Dravid. ANY PREDICTIONS FOR THE ONE-DAYERS??? My support as always for India, GO INDIA. JAI HO.

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 18:58 GMT)

It was evident that even when he struggled in the first test he wasn't walking towards square leg at the prospect of facing Steyn and Morkel. Way to go...

Posted by RealPablo on (January 6, 2011, 18:56 GMT)

Could not agree more with Dalok Babu - this has been a fascinating contest, with great amount of skill, courage, endurance, fitness and concentration on display. The art of fighting to save a match is as compelling as the art of winning one - the so called 'fans' should try and learn to watch the game and catch all its complex nuances on display

Posted by sonjjay on (January 6, 2011, 18:49 GMT)

It was a good knock by Gambhir!! Should have been a 4 match series though.

Posted by karthikfromchennai on (January 6, 2011, 18:45 GMT)

GREAT JOB gAUTAM.........

Posted by   on (January 6, 2011, 18:37 GMT)

Those of you who complain that this match was boring really don't apprecite test cricket. Great series and good match.

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