Third Test Match

SOUTH AFRICA v INDIA

At Johannesburg, January 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Drawn. Toss: India.

With only honour and prize money to play for, India almost won. The weather, plus Cullinan's heroic unbeaten century and two-hour eighth-wicket stand with Klusener, saved the day for South Africa.

The pitch was not as lively as expected and the Wanderers did not live up to its reputation for encouraging bowlers on the first morning. However, clouds hung low and it would have been no surprise had India bowled first. The ball did move in the air, but South Africa's pace quartet could not control their line or swing; for the first time in the series, the new ball did India no harm. The openers survived 23 overs, though they scored only 25 - a lot of the bowling did not need playing. It was the very first ball of spin that broke through, an Adams googly finding Rathore's edge. The innings eventually acquired momentum through a fourth-wicket partnership of 145 between Dravid and Ganguly, after Tendulkar, who had promised something substantial, sliced at Cronje's out-swinger. But that was the last wicket South Africa captured on the opening day. Dravid batted in mature fashion, driving in an arc between cover and mid-on, pulling and square-cutting anything short. Ganguly progressed more rapidly, through graceful off-drives.

Overnight rain cost the second morning and, within 20 minutes of resuming, Ganguly edged a ball slanted across him. Azharuddin tried to storm the bowling but left quickly, while Laxman was cut short by a fractured finger. Kumble and Srinath lent Dravid support until he finally holed out, having batted nine hours for 148.

South Africa faced only two balls that night before the light failed. Next morning, Srinath and Prasad bowled superbly; and half an hour after lunch South Africa were 147 for five, Srinath claiming three. The all-rounders turned the tide. McMillan dropped anchor while Pollock flayed the bowling; they put on 112. Then Klusener dug in, and India led by just 89.

They widened this to 355, thanks to their only worthwhile opening stand of the series, 90 from Rathore and Mongia, and a 108-run partnership between Dravid and Ganguly. Dravid missed his second century, but batted with more panache this time.

South Africa were 77 for five, still 278 behind, when a thunderstorm suddenly halted play. The resumption was unduly delayed, though that seemed irrelevant when two more wickets fell in nine overs. But then Klusener settled in to bat most responsibly with Cullinan, who played a magnificent innings of 122 not out in 262 minutes and 194 balls, with 15 fours and a six. It was in the sixth over of the last hour that Klusener was snapped up at short leg. As the light dimmed, so did India's chances; It denied them the use of their quicker bowlers. With four overs remaining, play was called off.

Man of the Match: R. Dravid. Man of the Series: A. A. Donald. Attendance: 78,514.

Close of play:First day, India 233-3 (R. Dravid 81*, S. C. Ganguly 68*); Second day, South Africa 0-0 (A. C. Hudson 0*, G. Kirsten 0*); Third day, South Africa 321; Fourth day, South Africa 4-1 (G. Kirsten 1*).

© John Wisden & Co