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Rain foreshortened the fourth day of the five-day game between South Africa and India at Centurion on Monday, raising the possibility that this contentious match - and the 2001 tour by India - could reach a soggy finale on Tuesday. In the circumstances, it is difficult to think of a more appropriate conclusion to one of international cricket's most unhappy episodes.
When the drizzle of the early afternoon hardened into rain around tea time, India were 118 for two in their second innings. South Africa had declared before the start of play at the overnight 566 for eight, leaving the touring side to score 334 to avoid an innings defeat. Depending on the weather - and widespread rain over southern African is forecast for Tuesday - India may well save this match. How much honour is salvaged from this affair, however, is entirely another question.
In all India batted for 46 overs on the fourth day. On a pitch that has flattened out nicely for batting and with the South Africans struggling to find a consistent line, Shiv Das and Connor Williams were able to build a first-wicket stand that eventually yielded 92.
They were unable, however, to take it through to lunch after an extended morning session with Williams eventually falling to Lance Klusener as Jacques Kallis held a waist-high catch at second slip. Williams made 42, the chief significance of which is that he finally reached double figures on South African soil after arriving in the country ahead of the first Test a month ago.
Williams was down to play in the matches against the President's XI and a South African A team, both of which were abandoned without a ball bowled, and made 5 in the Indian first innings. That he had a bat at all in what is currently not a Test match will, no doubt, intrigue collectors of cricket trivia in the year to come.
India took lunch at 104 for one and returned for 25 minutes before the first break for drizzle. The players returned after 50 minutes, played out another 11 overs - during which time Das was bowled by Shaun Pollock for 48 as the South African captain came in off five paces - and that was it for the day.
For India, there was one more bit of bad news. Fast bowler Javagal Srinath, struck on the left hand while batting in the first innings, has a broken finger and will be out of action until December 6. He will miss the first Test against England in Mohali as a result.