South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day December 27, 2013

Steyn six brings South Africa roaring back


South Africa 82 for 0 (Petersen 46*) trail India 334 (Vijay 97, Rahane 51*, Steyn 6-100) by 252 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dravid: India should not be sweating just yet

The second day began with grey skies and a persistent rain that wiped out the morning session but when play began, more than three hours behind the scheduled start, it was in blazing sunshine with the fans reaching for the sunblock. Dale Steyn's mood similarly brightened as he ended an unprecedented 69.2-over wait for a wicket with a triple-strike that brought South Africa right back after the first day was dominated by India's batsmen.

Steyn returned after tea to roll over the lower order in a pumped-up spell and finish with 6 for 100, his 22nd five-for, as India ended on 334. It was a high-class display on a surface that offered little for quicks, and showed his adaptability. With his usual outswinger not working, he relied on express pace and hostile short balls.

In between, India had a couple of sprightly partnerships involving Ajinkya Rahane, another young batsman whose reputation has been bolstered on this tour. First, he put on 66 with the in-form Virat Kohli and then 55 with MS Dhoni to ensure India didn't keel over without resistance.

M Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, utterly in control all day yesterday to take India to 181 for 1, had a couple of nervy moments early on against Steyn as both batsmen edged past the staggered slip cordon. On the sixth over of the day, Steyn broke through. After a bunch of short balls, Pujara only went half-forward to a pitched-up delivery and nicked through to the keeper.

For Vijay, the early stumps yesterday came at the worst time, as he had a night to ruminate over a possible first century overseas. He spent 47 deliveries in the 90s - including that edge past slip for four - before a Steyn short ball had him gloving to the keeper, three short of a milestone to cherish.

The next delivery was one that will likely haunt Rohit Sharma for a while. With Steyn reversing the ball in, Rohit had a brainfade and decided to not offer a stroke and lost his middle stump. Cue a flood of Nohit jokes, a derisory nickname he'd thought he had left behind with the golden run back home leading up to this series.

A fired-up Steyn kept up the short-ball onslaught, hitting Rahane twice with the second new ball, signalling to the batsman that he was keeping count. Virat Kohli was less troubled by that strategy, authoritatively pulling Steyn to midwicket for four. Kohli was in the form that brought him a century and 96 in the Johannesburg Test, and he showed that off with a series of defensive pushes down the ground, several of which reached the rope.

With Vernon Philander getting nothing from the new ball, Rahane was settling in, the partnership grew and India were slowly asserting themselves again. Morne Morkel, though, changed that with a short ball ten minutes before tea that Kohli guided to AB de Villiers, who reacted rapidly to collect that chance.

The runs came quickly after the break with Dhoni in the middle and Rahane latching onto anything short. For the third innings in a row, India had batted out more than 100 overs, not something that was predicted before the tour began. The pair added 32 in five overs and just as India seemed to be taking a firm grip, Steyn returned.

He had Dhoni chasing one outside off to nick to slip to break the stand, and expose India's lower order. Ravindra Jadeja became the first victim of spin in the game, as he gave Jacques Kallis his 200th Test catch to exit for a duck.

A leaping, acrobatic take from de Villiers to send back Zaheer Khan left Rahane wondering whether he would reach his maiden Test half-century. He got there but soon after the innings ended, with the final five wickets going down for 14 runs.

South Africa's batsmen had to negotiate 20 overs before stumps and they began at a T20 pace. India's new-ball bowlers couldn't get the ball to deviate, and offered some easy putaways which Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen pounced on. Like Philander, Zaheer Khan was taken off after just three overs. The introduction of Ishant Sharma made it tougher for the batsmen, as both Smith and Petersen were left groping outside off.

There was more excitement when Jadeja came on, as he first got appreciable turn off the footmarks when bowling to Smith and then off an unblemished surface to Petersen. There was no breakthrough, though, as Petersen kept dispatching the bad ball on offer and South Africa maintained a punishing pace.

By stumps, South Africa's openers had reduced the deficit to 252, and ensured their team dictated the second day as much as India had the first.

Match Point: 'South Africa have their noses ahead'

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • r on December 28, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    Poor selection has hampered india in this series - picked the spinner for the Wanderers greentop instead of 4 seamers ( should have been Kumar), and dropped the spinner for the turning Durban pitch. That and picking rohit sharma for an overseas test series

  • Android on December 28, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    hmm Peterson and amla was out twice, if that counts India should have 5 wickets lierally... and none speaks about these howlers.... commentators were shouting that Peterson was out so many times and our 3rd umpire just blind folded himself for few moments..

  • Aamir Shehzad on December 28, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @pommy80 A white wash is a white wash whether its 2-0 or 1-0 :P But seriously credit to India they haven't bowled out for less than a 100 like other teams visited SA including our team. Conditions of this pitch is different yes but previous pitch wasn't that easy to bat on and they played according to the game plan as India must have seen that strength of SA is bowling outside off stump allowing batters to edge it to the slips and they neutralized it but leaving so many balls outside off stump. Great fight by India and if they lose it well other teams lost in SA too but no one criticized them but India people are criticizing because Indian themselves believe they can win in any condition only Windies and Ausis dominated whole world long ago but gone are the days now all teams are good in there own home environment.

  • Rahul on December 28, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    India have proven that they have the technique, guts and determination to bat on these "greentop pitches". Dhawan, I've noticed has a very top handed grip which means he tends to go hard at the ball. It's probably why he keeps nicking to slip. He needs to be patient, because once bowlers get tired, you can score heavily. Dhoni despite all the great things he's done, cannot cut it in overseas conditions (in Tests). You need a player like Matt Prior, and whilst he's had a torrid Ashes series, has shown previous times (like in NZ when he saved test match) that he can survive and then attack in testing conditions. India need to find a wk/batsman like him! The only notable moment of Dhoni performing overseas was that drawn test match at Lords (2007), where he scored 72. Ashwin is not a potent bowler outside India. You need control, so Jadeja is sufficient. But I'd rather have Ojha, who is a classical left arm spinner. Ishant and Zak are past it. Yadav, Aaron & Shami should be pace attack.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Partisan Crowd..It is surprising and frustrating to watch the crowd (who ever bothered to make it) looking like zombies when Indians were playing shots, especially Pujara and Kholi..As if the match is not played in front of them. This series has generated no interest in the public for whatever reasons and which ever crowd make it to the stadium likes to applaud only their players. Much like or worse than what we see in the subcontinent stadiums. Even the commentary from Dravid and co is much to be desired..

  • Sharoon on December 28, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    @Harmony111... its just awesome how your team underperforms in EVERY away tour (SL being exceptions) and yet you always have something to say to exhalt this team, inexperience, wayward stats, anything of these sorts..hope you keep this going till the end of 2014..cuz Ind have a lot of away tests to play...promise?

  • Kieran on December 28, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    @truecric_fan: India playing like true World #1? True No. 1 arent 0-8 overseas mate.

    Whats happening to Khan? I thought he just needed to "show up"? He hasnt gotten Smith a single time and this series shows how poor he is and is ruining is figures.

  • Michael on December 28, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    @Harmony111 I was talking about the wickets he got in the UAE, I misread your comment and I apologize. You can't expect any bowler to get wickets every single innings. With such a good pace attack every innings somebody is going to get left out in the wickets column. Just like Steyn in Joburg, Philander had a bad day, which is part of cricket.

    Only 70 overs were bowled on day 2, not the usual 90. They also finished at 18:30, when half the pitch was in the shadows. Show me any bowler who doesn't try to intimidate batsman. I can guarantee you all the great sides, such as the dominant West Indies or Australian teams of old, would've adopted the same tactics. That's also cricket buddy, no need to take out your frustration on Steyn.

    Like @Protears said, all the breaks are part of the game.Batsmen are well aware of them and should bat accordingly.

    The South African pace attack has proved itself time and time again all around the world. Please find another bowling attack to criticize.

  • Dummy4 on December 28, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    I think this is the last test for Zaheer, he looks so tired bowling 125 kph which is not acceptable at all. Even out of those 4 wickets in Jo'burg 2 were of tailenders, and second Inning's only wicket of Kallis was a lucky one.

    He needs to be dropped for upcoming tours and we must have faith in our upcoming young bowlers, just like we showed faith in our young batsmen and they are delivering.

    When Sachin, Dravid and Laxman were prolonging their career all expert said if tehy will retire who will bat for India? and now our young batsmen making a strong statement, just like that our bowlers can do well to, but we have to show faith in them.

    Varun Aaron, Parvinder Awana, Ishwar Pandey are few who can bowl consistently with some serious pace.

  • Vinod on December 28, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Indian selectors have a tricky situation. MSD is poor in overseas tests. i am sure, DK will fare much better than him while playing overseas. other young players have done much better than the former senior players. why can't DK?

    when it is the captain himself who doesn't lead from the front while batting, it must be difficult to inspire others to do good. and it is not as if he is taking some game-changing tactical decisions on the field either. selectors would not mind replacing him but unfortunately they don't have any seniors in the side who can replace MSD the captain. it looks as if we are stuck with MSD in tests until Kohli plays 20-30 more tests.

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