India-South Africa Test: Proteas post 501 for 6 at tea

March 27th, 2008 - 4:38 pm ICT by admin  

(Tea report)
By Anand Philar
Chennai, March 27 (IANS) South Africa put Indian bowling to the grinder and amassed 501 for six by tea on the second day of the first cricket Test here Thursday. While Hashim Amla expectedly went on to get to his fourth Test hundred and eventually made 159 before getting run out, Abraham Benjamin de Villiers (44) and Mark Boucher (62 not out) put South Africa in total control.

For India, it was yet another day of toil as their bowling was reduced to helplessness on a pitch that continued to play flat, offering no assistance to the bowlers.

As the temperature soared and the sun beat down mercilessly, the Indian resistance further weakened, allowing the South African batsmen to make merry.

The only solace for India in the first two sessions was the two wickets that they pouched, those of de Villiers and Amla. But by then, the South Africans were well on their way to a massive first innings total.

In the first session, South Africa, 304 for four overnight, added exactly 100 runs for the loss of de Villiers, who snicked Sreesanth, bowling with the second new ball, to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

De Villiers, after ignoring Sreesanth’s provocative behaviour of eye-balling and constant chatter, fell when in sight of a half-century, but after adding 99 runs for the fifth wicket with Amla.

It was a small victory for Sreesanth who was earlier despatched for three consecutive boundaries by Amla en route to his century. Amla, though not the most flamboyant of batsmen, played a steady hand as he guided South Africa’s progress.

Amla finally departed following a mix-up with Boucher who played Kumble to Sreesanth at covers and set off for a non-existent run. Sreesanth threw the ball to the wrong end, at Dhoni who then relayed to Kumble to knock off the bails.

The South African progress was more about grinding the Indian bowling to dust than taking charge and their game plan was underlined by the manner in which their batsmen went about their task.

Kumble did shuffle his bowling around, but it hardly made a difference. Worse still, the Indian fielding noticeably flagged and as the day wore on, their body language was one of wait-and-watch.

There was little respite for India whose hopes of early breakthrough evaporated first thing in the morning as the overnight not out batsmen de Villiers and Amla continued to pile on runs at a fair clip.

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