Sehwag pegs back South Africa with two big wickets

April 13th, 2008 - 6:29 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
(Lead, Tea Report)
By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Kanpur, April 13 (IANS) Part-time spinner Virender Sehwag turned his arm over to take two big wickets to peg back South Africa in their second innings on the third day of the third and final Test here Sunday. At tea, South Africa were struggling at 88 for four wickets but still have a meagre lead of 28 runs.

Off-spinner Sehwag dismissed Jacques Kallis (15) and captain Graeme Smith (35) in quick succession to reduce the visitors from 27 for one to 72 for four in the second session, as the Green Park pitch provided more awkward bounce than assisting spinners.

South Africa lost the wickets of Neil McKenzie (14) and Hashim Amla in the morning session after India had taken a 60-run lead. India made 325 in the first innings in reply to South Africa’s 265.

After replacing pacer Sreesanth, Sehwag struck with his very first ball in the post-lunch session. As Kallis played a defensive shot off his back foot the ball popped up and Wasim Jaffer at forward short leg took a good catch to get rid of the dangerous batsman.

Sehwag also dismissed Smith, who has shown the best temperament from the South African side. It was a beautiful delivery that pitched outside the leg of the left-hander and spun back to disturb the timber and end his 157-minute innings.

In the morning session too, India had struck two vital blows and South Africa went into lunch interval at 27 for two.

Pacer Sreesanth had McKenzie leg before the wicket for 14 and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was surprisingly asked to bowl the first over with the new ball, dismissed Amla by having him caught by Jaffer at forward short leg to reduce the visitors to 27 for two.

In the absence of captain Anil Kumble, who is missing the match due to a groin injury, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is leading in a Test for the first time and he surprised his opponents by asking Harbhajan to open the bowling along with Ishant Sharma. Sreesanth came on as the first change, replacing Sharma.

In the morning, Sreesanth (29) and Sharma (14) added 46 priceless runs for the last wicket after India resumed the day at 288 for nine. Both batsmen frustrated the South Africans with their gritty batting, but they were lucky too as a couple of catches were dropped.

Sourav Ganguly was the top scorer with a gritty 87 while V.V.S. Laxman made 50. Speedsters Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn and left-arm spinner Paul Harris bagged three wickets apiece to be the most successful bowlers.

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