South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day December 29, 2013

Test of character awaits after testing day

The work on the India quicks' legs finally began to show, but their fate in this series now depends on how their batsmen fare on a challenging final day
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India can't have gone into the fourth day thinking of a win. Their plan would have been to delay South Africa's attainment of a sizeable lead as much as possible. The Ravindra Jadeja threat in South Africa's minds would have helped India. It had showed in how the hosts didn't push for quick runs towards the end of the third day. However, there were two ways of going about it.

The first was to actively try to take wickets. The second was to bowl with an old and soft ball for as long as they could because it would be hard to score off on a slow and slightly two-paced pitch. There was no right or wrong decision; it was a matter of having a feel of the conditions, the fitness and the intensity of the quicker bowlers, who would have to bowl with the new ball, and how much threat the possibility quick runs posed.

As it turned out, India bowled with the old ball until they were literally not allowed to use it anymore. It was an extreme step, but MS Dhoni must have felt that was the way to go. For 146 overs, India went on with a scuffed-up ball that did almost nothing for the bowlers, except not travelling off the bat.

You wonder if India thought they should have done otherwise when they saw Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander do things with the new ball, but you also wonder how much the workload of the fast bowlers at the Wanderers played in this decision. They came into this Test having had only three days' recovery, saw India bat first and weather delay their turn a bit, but the intensity - especially from Zaheer Khan, from whom you could not snatch the ball at Wanderers - was visibly lower.

When Graeme Smith was asked before the second Test whether South Africa would look to bat first to put the India bowlers back on the field as soon as possible, he didn't sound too desperate to do that because he expected the tired legs to show up at some point in the Test. "I think that workload will be in their legs somewhere in the Test match," Smith said. "I think especially if we can get a good partnership somewhere in our top order."

The three India quicks bowled 86 overs at Kingsmead for 315 runs and three wickets, two of which were lower-order batsmen who had already done the damage. It wasn't easy. Durban has been hot and humid when it isn't raining, and the wicket is not as helpful as the one at Wanderers, but it still has something in it, especially as it deteriorates.

Most of India's work was done by the unwavering Jadeja. He bowled 58.2 overs, a rarity for a spinner in South Africa. No spinner has bowled more than 50 in an innings here in the last seven years. Jadeja was difficult to get away even when South Africa showed more intent on the fourth day. As the ball grew older, though, Jadeja got less and less bite from the pitch. The big debate around the new ball was whether India should have taken it as soon as a wicket fell, to not allow the new batsman time to settle in.

Robin Peterson, who teed off for 61 off 52, said the old ball was much more difficult to get away, and that all the new ball did was give the quicks some extra bounce, but not much in terms of sideways movement. It probably didn't make too much of a difference to India. Had they taken the new ball as soon as Faf du Plessis came in, they might have taken a wicket or two and slowed South Africa down. The new ball might also have flown to all parts, and they might have been looking at a deficit of 200 as opposed to the eventual 166.

The difference, though, was in how the South Africa quicks bowled with the new ball. They were clearly fitter and more intense. The two wickets taken before stumps would have buoyed South Africa, and India now need a good third innings, after their hard work on both their previous tours was undone by ordinary third innings' efforts. They would hate to lose the series after having done so well in Johannesburg and having got a pitch in Durban that arguably suited them more than the hosts.

It will be a tough examination on the final day should rain not intervene. It is not just about batting time, even runs will come into the picture if they come close to wiping off the deficit. Their two best batsmen are at the wicket. It won't be a bad call to promote Ajinkya Rahane, who can bat time, ahead of Rohit Sharma, who must be low on confidence and has shown previously his ability to bat with the tail. The tail, though, is almost non-existent on the evidence of the first innings. It will be a test of character for this young team should there be a full day's play on Monday.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sachin_vvsfan on December 30, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    I did not like the way both Dhoni and Smith used their tactics. But Smith at least does something with the bat. Dhoni's position as batsman should be questioned.

  • on December 30, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Innings defeat by 20 runs cannot be ruled out.

  • premendrasinghal on December 30, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Smith has been so negative in his approach in the series. In the first match he didn't go to win the match even in last three balls where he had three wickets in hand they just blocked the balls. In second match on day one he didn't show faith in his spin attack which is far better than the last match he refused to bowl spin in last session and lost 30 overs' match. And on day four he delayed the declaration just because he doesn't want to bowl spin to India but fortunately got Dhawan on Duminy's spin. His captaincy is totally dependent on Dale and Morkel. In past he was dependent on Pollock and Ntini nothing good in his captaincy. He is an ordinary captain of Great Team on other way Dhoni is great captain of an ordinary team.

  • on December 30, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Don't get me wrong because I like MS Dhoni and Indian cricket but I think that this game has shown up a few cracks in Dhoni's captaincy. It also shows that when push comes to shove most teams will play for the draw. Dhoni started playing for the draw on day 3 already.

  • philvic on December 30, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Althought this wicket is more subcontinental then typical South African, the Indian's can be proud of how their batsmen have acquitted themselves against the best pace attack in the world. Even if they lose today, at least they have fought hard and not just rolled over like the English in Oz.

  • T20Fun on December 30, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    It was unfortunate to see Dhoni be behind the game for quite a while in this test. He took Jadeja off for way too long on Day 3 when the fourth wicket partnership was flourishing. On Day 4 India would have found it easier to save the game by restricting the lead instead by not using seaming conditions with a new ball SA were allowed to progress slowly but steadily at an imposing lead. The old ball strategy also back-fired because Petersen and Faf added 110 at run-a-ball. I think too much is being expected of the batsmen now.

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Technically,Dhoni's recent record overseas is only 0-7 & not 0-8 as many people believe.It was Sehwag who captained India in the Adelaide test match.

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Dhoni is doing his best with the team he has got. If bowlers cant get 20 wickets in the previous Test match. what option has he got. Smith is being so defensive in his approach too. Smith is a ordinary caption who has great team. Dhoni is by far a better caption than most. Better than Cook and Smith. People talk about replacing him, replace him with whom? Any candidates?

  • fairfan70 on December 30, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    @bKrish282, completely agree with you with everything you said!!

  • fairfan70 on December 30, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    That Dhoni is a conservative captain is proved time and again. Even with a batting line up as good as he has, he still goes into tests with 4 bowlers, none of them world-class. Given the traditional fitness levels of Indians (due to diet and various other factors), it is only a matter of time once the match gets underway that the opposition begins to cash on the weak Indian bowling. One additional specialist batsman is not going to save the game, if 6 others can't do it. For this team to even aim to be #1, either Dhoni needs to shed his safety first approach and go with 5 bowlers (one of which can be an allrounder) or it is time for the team to have a new leader who shows that boldness of approach. SA is loaded with all-rounders and that helps their fast bowlers to stay fit and fresh and go hard at opponents. That is why they are #1.

  • sachin_vvsfan on December 30, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    I did not like the way both Dhoni and Smith used their tactics. But Smith at least does something with the bat. Dhoni's position as batsman should be questioned.

  • on December 30, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    Innings defeat by 20 runs cannot be ruled out.

  • premendrasinghal on December 30, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Smith has been so negative in his approach in the series. In the first match he didn't go to win the match even in last three balls where he had three wickets in hand they just blocked the balls. In second match on day one he didn't show faith in his spin attack which is far better than the last match he refused to bowl spin in last session and lost 30 overs' match. And on day four he delayed the declaration just because he doesn't want to bowl spin to India but fortunately got Dhawan on Duminy's spin. His captaincy is totally dependent on Dale and Morkel. In past he was dependent on Pollock and Ntini nothing good in his captaincy. He is an ordinary captain of Great Team on other way Dhoni is great captain of an ordinary team.

  • on December 30, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Don't get me wrong because I like MS Dhoni and Indian cricket but I think that this game has shown up a few cracks in Dhoni's captaincy. It also shows that when push comes to shove most teams will play for the draw. Dhoni started playing for the draw on day 3 already.

  • philvic on December 30, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Althought this wicket is more subcontinental then typical South African, the Indian's can be proud of how their batsmen have acquitted themselves against the best pace attack in the world. Even if they lose today, at least they have fought hard and not just rolled over like the English in Oz.

  • T20Fun on December 30, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    It was unfortunate to see Dhoni be behind the game for quite a while in this test. He took Jadeja off for way too long on Day 3 when the fourth wicket partnership was flourishing. On Day 4 India would have found it easier to save the game by restricting the lead instead by not using seaming conditions with a new ball SA were allowed to progress slowly but steadily at an imposing lead. The old ball strategy also back-fired because Petersen and Faf added 110 at run-a-ball. I think too much is being expected of the batsmen now.

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Technically,Dhoni's recent record overseas is only 0-7 & not 0-8 as many people believe.It was Sehwag who captained India in the Adelaide test match.

  • on December 30, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Dhoni is doing his best with the team he has got. If bowlers cant get 20 wickets in the previous Test match. what option has he got. Smith is being so defensive in his approach too. Smith is a ordinary caption who has great team. Dhoni is by far a better caption than most. Better than Cook and Smith. People talk about replacing him, replace him with whom? Any candidates?

  • fairfan70 on December 30, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    @bKrish282, completely agree with you with everything you said!!

  • fairfan70 on December 30, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    That Dhoni is a conservative captain is proved time and again. Even with a batting line up as good as he has, he still goes into tests with 4 bowlers, none of them world-class. Given the traditional fitness levels of Indians (due to diet and various other factors), it is only a matter of time once the match gets underway that the opposition begins to cash on the weak Indian bowling. One additional specialist batsman is not going to save the game, if 6 others can't do it. For this team to even aim to be #1, either Dhoni needs to shed his safety first approach and go with 5 bowlers (one of which can be an allrounder) or it is time for the team to have a new leader who shows that boldness of approach. SA is loaded with all-rounders and that helps their fast bowlers to stay fit and fresh and go hard at opponents. That is why they are #1.

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Dhoni's sportsman-like generosity to persist with the old ball & spinners, (when poor light did not allow pacers operating with new ball), alas, may boomerang!

    In a similar situation when umpires asked Smith to use spinners in fading light, he declined and 'stumps' for the day was called. Moral: Generosity & sportsmanship do not seem to pay, in this cut-throat competitive world!

  • on December 30, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    poor reading of the wicket has led us to such a position that resulted in wrong selection ashwin should have been in the team with jadeja coming for either ishant or zaheer and the results must have been different

  • on December 30, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    I guess, playing time will make us more & more vulnerable. We have seen time & again, where ever we are stuck, runs not coming, we have lost wickets and lost them in heaps. I am not saying play rash, but little bit positive. We need to wipe out 166 as soon as possible, then it will be SA who will be worried about time. weather and runs needed to be scored. And from the evidence on display both the captains are no-risk captains, they attack only when risk of losing is not there. Smith is attacking because he had 166 in bank (even then -ve lines with spinners). And Dhoni, we have poorest captain in test cricket (brilliant in limited overs), he will find solace in overseas not 0-9 yet and will be happier if it remain 0-8 by end of series.

  • ashok16 on December 30, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    The team selection by India for this test makes it appear like they are not interested in winning the test match. Why go with only bowlers while three of them are still supposedly tired from the first test. And why go on all these tours when you have no aim of winning them?

  • khs_shk2000 on December 30, 2013, 4:10 GMT

    What a shame to use old ball so long. ICC should change the law that in test match ball should not be used more than 100 overs or like 50 overs match new ball from both ends. People already losing interest in test cricket. Dhoni and Smith like captain making thing more worst.

  • rajuramki on December 30, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    Dhoni has made quite a few mistakes in this test . 1. Ashwin should have been played instead of Rohit . After all , he could have been more useful as a bowler at Durban in combination with Jadeja . He would certainly have delayed the closure of the Indian innings as a batsman .2. The captain should have confidence in his bowlers . The delay in taking the second new ball was entirely due to Dhoni's lack of confidence in his pace bowlers . 3. As a batsman , Dhoni has a poor defence and hence he should have played an attacking innings rather than prodding . It is entirely upto Pujara , Kohli and Rahane to save this game if rain god does not come to India's rescue .

  • vakkaraju on December 30, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    More you see Dhoni outside India, it is becoming very clear he has one plan. Never seems to have a plan B. It may be time to replace him as captain and hand it to Kohli.

  • sray23 on December 30, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    Regardless of the outcome of this match, this series shows that Indian cricket still has a long way to go when it comes to bowling. Only when the bowling is top notch can India hope to compete consistently with the top nations. And, as has been the case for the last 70 years, watch a domestic game in India and one can clearly see why our bowlers dont have the stamina for tests - flat, lifeless pitches where fast bowlers jobs are just to turn their arms over and bowl at 70-75% - and compare that to the last day of the J'burg test where Indian bowlers had to bowl 30-40 overs at nothing less than 100%...and then do it all again in another test match. THIS is international standard bowling and it is the reason why India always and will always struggle to win matches consistently overseas. Why this basic flaw in our cricket still has not been corrected will always be mystery to me.

  • on December 30, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    334 in the 1st innings and the opposition scores 500! No Sir Dhoni's strategy was all wrong! Why have fast bowlers in the team...you could have chosen 3 spinners! This strategy has helped SA to put pressure on the Indian batsmen on the last day of the match. We let them off the hook in the first and are killing ourselves in the second. Some things have become very clear - a.Zaheer is past his prime (all task about being lean fit etc. etc. is nonsense). 125 odd speed is just not enough b. Rohit Sharma is a failure...I do not understand all that talk about class and elegance when this is visible only on batsmen friendly pitches c. Dhawan has learnt the hard way that he needs to buck up with his technique- all wham bam does not work all the time on all pitches. c. Kohli and Pujara have proven their worth. With support from good fast bowlers and better captaincy we could have won the Ist test. Summary: We need good fast bowlers... what we have is military medium pace - good only in spurts

  • ProdigyA on December 30, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    I was shocked to hear from Sanjay Manjrekar that it is only the job of the top six to get runs and not the bowlers. This is unbelievable coming from a guy who has played so much cricket. This is not a government job where u can say I did my job and I'm done, time to go home. This is a team game, each and every player must contribute to the success of the team in every possible manner.

    The Indian tail is hopeless in overseas conditions. It hurts to see them just come and throw their wicket away without any sense of responsibility. Wonder what the coach is telling them.

    The first innings collapse was started by Dhoni playing a careless shot and it's his responsibility to see the team through now. Else his role in the team will be questioned.

  • moBlue on December 30, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    why is no one mentioning the obvious?!?

    duncan fletcher and his support staff made a crucial mistake in not reading this pitch right! if they had read it right, they would/should have gone with ashwin for nohit, and this would have been IND's test match!!!

    these guys are supposed to be professional experts! ...and we are talking about durban! go figure!

    i don't blame dhoni for this monumental mistake!!! let's face it: this mistake cost us a rare away test series - that too one in SA!

  • InsideHedge on December 30, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    In the JoBurg test, MSD took his pads off and bowled when bad light threatened play, SA helped themselves to a good dozen runs which went a long way in almost securing a historic win. Again in Durban, near the close of the 2nd day with poor light, he kept the pacers away resulting in EASY runs for SA, runs which the Indian batters now have to score to save this Test.

    MSD messed up on our last tour to SA in the deciding Test match at Cape Town with passive captaincy, his record in away Test Matches is simply embarrassing as both a captain and a batsman. He can thank his lucky stars that the media is not as harsh as the English for he would never have survived the end of the tour to Oz, never mind a home defeat to England for the 1st time since 1984.

  • InsideHedge on December 30, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    So what happened to all that super training in South of France? It didn't do Yuvi any good and it's made no difference to Zak, a bowler who is well past his prime. In 2014, we cannot carry players on sentiment esp those who are overrated in the first place. This isn't the 1st time Zaheer has let us down on a tour of South Africa.

  • InsideHedge on December 30, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    So what happened to all that super training in South of France? It didn't do Yuvi any good and it's made no difference to Zak, a bowler who is well past his prime. In 2014, we cannot carry players on sentiment esp those who are overrated in the first place. This isn't the 1st time Zaheer has let us down on a tour of South Africa.

  • on December 30, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    India should have gone in with 5 bowlers, Ashwin in place of Rohit. Ashwin + Jadeja > Rohit at least in these conditions,

  • TheUltimateTruth on December 30, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    @drnaveed, you must be kidding! The Indian bowlers didn't almost win the 1st test, they almost lost it for India. How can Dhoni rely on them? The batsmen are saving face for India.

  • AidanFX on December 30, 2013, 1:06 GMT

    Bowlers fatigued? It is a two test series; what nonsense!

  • glen1 on December 30, 2013, 0:37 GMT

    Well, it was clear as daylight that Zaheer Khan would not be able to bring intensity to a back-back test. But then it is India's (Dhoni's ) way of letting go of seniors, just allow them to wither away. Bhuvaneshwar should have played instead; it is left to the batsmen now to save the second test. The bowling failed to win the first test, despite 450 runs and several sessions.

  • Nampally on December 30, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Dhoni made 2 blunders in XI selection: 1. He went with just 4 bowlers again despite knowing that India blew a winnable first test due to tired legs in the second innings. 2. He went with the same 3 seamers knowing that their legs are too tired after the marathon second innings + 3 day recovery time is insufficient. Any captain with some common sense would have brought in Yadev for at least one of the tired seamers + not take another chance with just 4 bowlers by including a 5th. Dhoni did neither. Result: Severe punishment from the SA batsmen which included 43 & 60 from Bowlers Steyn & Peterson! He deprived the tired seamers even to try their luck with the new ball even to get Bowlers Steyn & Peterson Out. A series of wrong tactics/blunders. The field placing when jadeja bowled to Kallis had no deep cover or long off. Instead he had a silly mid off. Similarly Ishant bowled the first over with no deep third man. That is where you save the runs - proper field placement to save 4's.

  • bKrish282 on December 30, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    I have a feeling MSD carries this limited overs mindset to test matches and waits for things to happen. That mindset reflects in every aspect including team selection, field placements and bowling changes. Maybe time for Virat to take over Test captaincy and try other keeper batsman like DK or Sanju Samson.

  • 3Cents on December 30, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    It is very hard to win a test match with just 4 bowlers, especially of the quality that India boasts on non sub continental pitches. In the past, we always preferred playing 6 batsmen versus 5 bowlers, as the value that the 5th bowler brings was perceived to be lower than the value that 6th batsman (VVS) brought, understandably so. But with the advent of Ashwin, who is not only a genuine allrounder, but has shown that he is one of the better batsmen on these bouncy pitches (remember Aus) and has already scored 2 hundreds on the other pitches, we found the silver bullet. Especially if we combine Ashwin, whose bowling is a bit inconsistent (not withstanding the fact that he is the fastest to 100 wickets in a long time in the history of the game), with Sir Jadeja. Playing these 2 by dropping one extra batsman (Nohit or Rahane) would provide the team with the balance that we desperately need. It will genuinely give us a chance to win more matches.

  • SydneyIndi on December 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT

    @drnaveed, U R correct. Dhoni's negative captaincy was very painful to watch. I thought India loves to win O/S more than SA hates to loose at home. Instead of taking the new ball and try knocking over steyn,etc in the morning, he opted for very negative tactics. I don't mind India losing while trying to win. We Indian supporters also don't look at Dhoni's captaincy objectively. When India wins it it is Dhoni's clever captaincy and when India loses it is the bowlers or batsmen to blame! We need to stop accepting that spin. Winning at home should not be the only yardstick to measure his captaincy. His batting is not really up to scratch O/S in Tests and his captaicy now is negative. Yet, he is hyped as cool, clever, etc. We need to stop that and get a proper wicket keeper batsman whose technique is sound against fast bouncy bowling O/S. I think we need a new captain with sound batting skills and most importantly with an attacking mindframe. 1st Test was also stuffed up; should have won.

  • on December 29, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    fantastic performance by Jadeja...... think about the context......Steyn took 6/100 in the India's first innings. Jadeja almost matched Steyn's performance while playing his first test in South Africa. Well Done !!

  • on December 29, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    Clearly, India should have played Ashwin instead of Rohit Sharma, Dhawan (in which case Rahane could have opened the batting with Vijay) or Zaheer Khan. This wicket is more like a subcontinental wicket and surely Ashwin, with all the variations he has, would have been as effective, if not more, than Jadeja.

  • cricmatters on December 29, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    India should have played with two spinners on this track. However the way the lower order SA batsmen played makes you wonder, how wide the gap is between the two sides when it comes to bowling. India can still save this match but they need to be more positive and score some runs instead of going into their shells. India can take lot of heart from their batting. Rahane's half century in the first innings was a gutsy knock. Hope Rohit Sharma comes good in the second inning.

  • Silverbails on December 29, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Pretty negative tactics from Dhoni may cost India dear. Very poor captaincy, with no faith in the quicks. Steyn has shown what can be done on this surface with a new ball. What about Zaheer: very poor showing, especially in his batting which just goes from weak to weaker with every outing!! Let's hope for better on the 5th day, although I'm not holding my breath from this very poor Test team!!

  • StarHawk on December 29, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    @JustIPL, are you telling me Jadeja is a part timer and his bowling is just "fine"??? LOL, Steyn is the only bowler other than Jadeja to take 6 wickets in an innings in this series...just to put things in perspective!!

  • Alexk400 on December 29, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    I seriously want 6 day Test match

  • on December 29, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Jaddu is great as a bowler. He is very ordinary with the bat, specially against world class quicks. Unfortunately, SA has 3 of the best in the world and on a given day, at least one will be on fire. And when they r on song, heaven help u. Jaddu merits a place in the team as a pure spinner. He did show some Jadooo with the ball.

  • on December 29, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    I didn't understand Dhoni's approach to this match. He went with a negative defensive field as early as the 8th over into South African innings. That, in spite of putting up a healthy competitive total and the pitch giving something to the bowlers.

  • TRAM on December 29, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    When the going gets tough, the tough gets tougher. Thats what the SA pace bowlers did. When the pitch did not support them much, they got more angry, more fiery and pacy and destroyed the opponents. For the so called experienced Zaheer and Ishant, who have no change in pace, no swing, no yorkers, and not even consistent good length, it seems the only way they can get wickets is if the batman makes a bad leave! I hope these two bowlers retire with this tour. I say retire because dropping some players seem impossible nowadays, they get selected again.

  • on December 29, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    Dhoni should have taken the new ball as early as possible today and entrusted to Ishant and Shami with Jadeja an early option.He simply had to bowl S.A out or take wickets to place any sort of pressure.

    Smith took too long to declare and should have done so when 150 on.

    If India get their draw,they will have to consider Zaheer's future...he looked very floaty and innocuous generally.Also the all rounder or 5th bowler spot has to be a concern...Having both Jadeja and Ashwin in the subcontinent is fine and perhaps is the solution in all conditions.

  • roook on December 29, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Dhoni should have gone with two spinner on a slow track. Ashwin would have been lethal on this track.

  • drnaveed on December 29, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    one cannot win a test match with a negative approach. it seemed that dhoni didn't had faith in his fast bowlers , who almost had won the first test for him, here jadeja bowled 58 overs in the innings , i think dhoni should have gone with a more positive frame of mind , by using fast bowlers at both the ends and had taken the new ball earlier , but perhaps , he was afraid that the fast bowlers will be costly and will not be able to stop the flow of runs, but again ,they could have taken wickets ,as the overcast conditions were favourable for swing bowling. AUS captain clarke is the one who loves to take challenges on the field , one should learn decision making from him.

  • JustIPL on December 29, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    I am so certain that Jadeja was supported by longish spell and dhoni did well by using a part timer to good effect. His batting was pathetic but bowliing is fine. He should take a clue or two from robin and steyn. Had india taken new ball then indian deficit would have been more so good from dhoni to expose most successful bowlers.

  • on December 29, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Hope Zaheer learnt something from the way Dale steyn batted, Zaheer has played more tests and should value his wicket lot more.. if nothing than to give something back to south Africa bowlers and let them earn his wicket..

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  • on December 29, 2013, 19:16 GMT

    Hope Zaheer learnt something from the way Dale steyn batted, Zaheer has played more tests and should value his wicket lot more.. if nothing than to give something back to south Africa bowlers and let them earn his wicket..

  • JustIPL on December 29, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    I am so certain that Jadeja was supported by longish spell and dhoni did well by using a part timer to good effect. His batting was pathetic but bowliing is fine. He should take a clue or two from robin and steyn. Had india taken new ball then indian deficit would have been more so good from dhoni to expose most successful bowlers.

  • drnaveed on December 29, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    one cannot win a test match with a negative approach. it seemed that dhoni didn't had faith in his fast bowlers , who almost had won the first test for him, here jadeja bowled 58 overs in the innings , i think dhoni should have gone with a more positive frame of mind , by using fast bowlers at both the ends and had taken the new ball earlier , but perhaps , he was afraid that the fast bowlers will be costly and will not be able to stop the flow of runs, but again ,they could have taken wickets ,as the overcast conditions were favourable for swing bowling. AUS captain clarke is the one who loves to take challenges on the field , one should learn decision making from him.

  • roook on December 29, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Dhoni should have gone with two spinner on a slow track. Ashwin would have been lethal on this track.

  • on December 29, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    Dhoni should have taken the new ball as early as possible today and entrusted to Ishant and Shami with Jadeja an early option.He simply had to bowl S.A out or take wickets to place any sort of pressure.

    Smith took too long to declare and should have done so when 150 on.

    If India get their draw,they will have to consider Zaheer's future...he looked very floaty and innocuous generally.Also the all rounder or 5th bowler spot has to be a concern...Having both Jadeja and Ashwin in the subcontinent is fine and perhaps is the solution in all conditions.

  • TRAM on December 29, 2013, 20:47 GMT

    When the going gets tough, the tough gets tougher. Thats what the SA pace bowlers did. When the pitch did not support them much, they got more angry, more fiery and pacy and destroyed the opponents. For the so called experienced Zaheer and Ishant, who have no change in pace, no swing, no yorkers, and not even consistent good length, it seems the only way they can get wickets is if the batman makes a bad leave! I hope these two bowlers retire with this tour. I say retire because dropping some players seem impossible nowadays, they get selected again.

  • on December 29, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    I didn't understand Dhoni's approach to this match. He went with a negative defensive field as early as the 8th over into South African innings. That, in spite of putting up a healthy competitive total and the pitch giving something to the bowlers.

  • on December 29, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Jaddu is great as a bowler. He is very ordinary with the bat, specially against world class quicks. Unfortunately, SA has 3 of the best in the world and on a given day, at least one will be on fire. And when they r on song, heaven help u. Jaddu merits a place in the team as a pure spinner. He did show some Jadooo with the ball.

  • Alexk400 on December 29, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    I seriously want 6 day Test match

  • StarHawk on December 29, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    @JustIPL, are you telling me Jadeja is a part timer and his bowling is just "fine"??? LOL, Steyn is the only bowler other than Jadeja to take 6 wickets in an innings in this series...just to put things in perspective!!