South Africa inflicts a humiliating loss

April 5th, 2008 - 9:45 pm ICT by admin  

By Avishek Roy
Ahmedabad, April 5 (IANS) India were crushed by an innings and 90 runs by South Africa in three days in the second cricket Test at the Sardar Patel Stadium here at Motera Saturday. After South Africa declared their first innings at the overnight 494 for seven with 418-run lead, all the Indian batsmen got starts but failed to convert them into substantial scores to be dismissed for 328 in their second knock. India were shot out for 76 in the opening session of the Test.

This was India’s first innings defeat at home in eight years and that gave South Africa a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series and as skipper Anil Kumble said after the match that they will have to bounce back to square the series in the last Test at Kanpur next week.

The last time India lost by an innings was also against the South Africans in 1999-2000 when the home team went down by an innings and 71 runs in Bangalore.

India were outthought and outplayed in every department by their opponents throughout the match.

Barring Sourav Ganguly (87) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (52) showed some semblance of fight and seemed like at least taking the match into the fourth day. Their 110-run stand off 36 overs was the only saving grace of a dismal performance. The two showed courage in standing up to the lethal pace trio of Dale Steyn (3-91), Morne Morkel (2-87) and Makhaya Ntini (3-44).

The only other batsmen who looked somewhat confident to take the fight into the opposition camp were V V S Laxma, who struck a stroke-filled 35 and Irfan Pathan who remained unbeaten with 43 runs.

The South African trio peppered the Indian batsmen with short balls through out the day on a pitch that gave them the liberty to go for the kill. The Indian top-order batsmen tried to dig in, but they lacked the conviction.

Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer left with just 70 runs on the board before lunch and it was going to be difficult from then on.

Ganguly led a fightback and added 55 runs with Laxman before Dhoni joined him in the face-saver.

Laxman looked to be in excellent nick as he stroked six exquisite boundaries in 45 balls to raise Indian hopes but he perished to a loose shot, chasing a Morkel delivery and edging it to Mark Boucher.

Ganguly took his time and waited for the right deliveries to put away through the off-side cordon. Ganguly brought up his 50 with the help of five fours, picking Paul Harris for special treatment as he cut him with

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