Third Test

SOUTH AFRICA v INDIA 1992-93

Toss: South Africa.

Hostile fast bowling by Donald, who took 12 wickets, and a solid century by Cronje were the decisive performances as South Africa completed victory with a day to spare. It was their first Test win since they were readmitted to ICC; their last had been over Australia on the same ground in March 1970. Donald's figures were the fourth-best for South Africa, and Richardson was the first South African wicket-keeper to take nine catches in a Test. A flamboyant hundred by Kapil Dev, coming in when India were 27 for five in their second innings, prolonged the game, but otherwise India were badly let down by their batsmen. They were also handicapped by a knee injury to Shastri, who was able to bowl only two overs. Prabhakar was fined ten per cent of his match fee, about £20, for dissent on the fourth day when he was given out. Mike Smith, the match referee, had decided against taking unilateral action the previous day when two other apparent cases of dissent by Indians went unreported by the umpires.

South Africa never lost the initiative after taking eight wickets on the opening day, when Wessels surprised most people by asking India to bat in good conditions. Donald extracted plenty of life from a slow pitch, but several Indians got out playing loose strokes. An exception was Azharuddin who, though dropped behind when eight, went on to bat confidently until he fell to a leg-side catch, which he seemed to think had come off his shirt. It was his only first-class fifty of the tour. South Africa batted very slowly against marathon stints from the spinners Kumble and Raju. Wessels was out in the second over but Hudson and Cronje, promoted to No. 3, shared the first three-figure stand for South Africa in the series. Cronje's concentration and resolve never faltered. He faced 411 balls before he was last out after eight and three-quarter hours.

Any satisfaction India felt at restricting their deficit to 63 quickly evaporated as the first six batsmen were out for single-figure scores in 21 overs before Kapil checked the collapse. Next morning, with commendable support from the tail, he punished the bowling in a thrilling exhibition of classical driving and forceful leg-side strokes. Despite an injured right hand Kapil claimed 96 of the 144 India added to their overnight 71 for six before he was caught at slip. In all he scored 129, his eighth Test hundred, out of 188 in 177 balls, less than half the number faced by Cronje. Assertive strokeplay by Wessels steered South Africa to a target of 153 with seven minutes left of the fourth day.

Man of the Match: A. A. Donald.

Close of play: First day, India 197-8 (K. S. More 15*, A. Kumble 5*); Second day, South Africa 163-3 (W. J. Cronje 75*, B. M. McMillan 19*), Third day, India 71-6 (Kapil Dev 33*, M. Prabhakar 10*).

© John Wisden & Co