April 13, 2008

Dhoni in Test Match #29: Day 2

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India vs South Africa, South Africa in India, 2008 - 3rd Test
Date: 11-13 April 2008

Day 2 (12 April 2008): Ganguly helps India take the lead

India took a marginal lead in the first innings thanks to half-centuries from Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Their efforts were ably supported by useful knocks from Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Indians are ahead by 23 runs with just one wicket in hand when play ended.

India made progress mainly through a cautious 78-run partnership between Dravid and Laxman, 65 runs partnership between Ganguly and Yuvraj and a 60 run partnership betweeen Ganguly and Dhoni. The state of the pitch encouraged played who had the courage to take on the bowlers. The unplayable deliveries that cleaned Dravid and Laxman could have prompted Ganguly to score runs whenever the opportunity is there. The situation needed to take some calculated risk. Ganguly did that and came out with his head high. He lost his wicket only when he was slowly running out of partners.

Yuvraj was fluent for his 32. Dhoni too scored 32. His partnership with Ganguly seemed to take India to a comfortable lead. But, a moment of rush paved the exit of Dhoni. From 248 for 5, India lost their way to 279 for 9. Sree Santh ended the day with a fluent four off the last delivery. Will he be able to deliver few more punches?

The slender margin might not help India too much as they have to bat last in the crumbling pitch. India would be happy to add a few more runs through Sree Santh and Ishant Sharma. But, that looks unlikely. The match outcome might depend on how well the South Africans play in their second innings.

Day three, in all probability, will decide the winner of this match.

1st Innings:
South Africa 265 (Smith 69, Amla 51, Harbhajan Singh 3 for 52, Ishant Sharma 3 for 55)
India 288 for 9 (Ganguly 87, Laxman 50, Morkel 3 for 57, Steyn 3 for 60)


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