At Johannesburg, November 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. Drawn. Toss: South Africa. Test debut: C. R. Matthews.
After four tense, hard-fought days, the match was deprived of the climax it deserved on the fifth by a negative approach from both captains. Two incidents shaped its course as South Africa redeemed an appalling start to their first innings. Rhodes was 28 when umpire Bucknor decided that he had not been run out by a direct hit by Srinath from mid-off. Television showed that Rhodes failed to make his ground by some six inches. Bucknor, who was poorly positioned, declined to call upon the third umpire's replay facilities, though the Indians pleaded with him to do so. Rhodes went on to make 91. The second significant event came when South Africa were reduced to three front-line bowlers: Pringle's eye socket bone was fractured when he top-edged a ball from Srinath into his face.
Superb swing bowling from Prabhakar was mainly responsible for South Africa crumbling to 26 for four on what was then a hard, pacy pitch. It later became slower, with only a suspicion of uneven bounce. The scoreline could have been worse: Rhodes gave a hard chance to More off Prabhakar before he scored. Unruffled by this or the run-out controversy, Rhodes shared useful stands with Cronje and McMillan, and was finally leg-before to Kumble after batting with a mixture of perkiness and resolution. McMillan chose his strokes with sound common sense and was even closer to a maiden Test hundred when he was last out, lifting a short ball to long leg.
The depleted South African attack, led by McMillan and Matthews, quickly had India in trouble, with Tendulkar providing the only resistance. He made a streaky start against Donald and at ten should have been caught in the slips, but always tried to wrest the initiative. When 33 he became, at 19 years 217 days, the youngest batsman to reach 1,000 Test runs, displacing Kapil Dev (21 years 27 days in 1979-80). Tendulkar was less positive on the third morning but completed his fourth Test hundred shortly after lunch.
South Africa had gained a lead of 65, but from the start of their second innings were too slow in consolidating it. A lengthy spell from Kumble never allowed them to break free on the fourth day. Kumble finished with six for 53. He seldom turned the ball much but his brisk top-spin and googlies came through at varying heights out of the rough. Richardson, the night-watchman, stayed two and a half hours for his fifty, but wickets fell when an attempt was finally made to accelerate. India required a further 303 on the fifth day to win. Their lack of ambition became clear when they added only 41 before lunch, with Shastri making three scoring strokes. Early in the afternoon they lost four wickets for five runs: Jadeja, Azharuddin and Shastri all played poor strokes and Tendulkar was beaten by Donald's pace. But Wessels retained defensive field placings as Manjrekar and Amre stood firm. A crowd of 80,000 included 21,000 on the Saturday, when the president of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela, was present, and 26,000 on Sunday.