India in SA

SA defend Newlands record

2010-12-31 11:11
Cape Town - The Proteas’ Castle Test squad will not only be defending a proud record at Sahara Park Newlands over the New Year but will also take confidence from the fact that they have often made their decisive move in a Test series at this venue.

Australia (three times) are the only visiting team to have won a Test match at Newlands since unity. England managed a draw here last summer but it has been a pretty unhappy hunting ground for teams from the sub-continent.

India also came to Newlands in the 2006-07 season standing at 1-1 in the series and for a long time they, in fact, held the upper hand. They led by nearly 100 runs on the first innings on a pitch that appeared tailor-made for them rather than the normal strip that the Proteas expected and it took a lot of resolution to turn the match around.

This will be the 46th Test match to be held at this ground (the most at any South African venue) and, if it approaches the standard and level of entertainment of the 1997 encounter between these two sides, the fans are in for a wonderful five days.

The Proteas won that match by 282 runs on the back of centuries by Gary Kirsten, Brian McMillan and a maiden effort by Lance Klusener. The latter made an unbeaten 102 off 100 balls, moving through the ‘nervous 90s’ with three successive boundaries against Javagal Srinath with the third new ball. This was only Klusener’s fourth Test match (all against India) and he had taken 8 wickets in the second innings of the first one!

In the Indian reply Sachin Tendulkar  (169 off 254 balls with 26 fours) made probably the finest of his six centuries against the Proteas and it took a miraculous catch by Adam Bacher on the backward square leg boundary to get rid of him.

His innings included a partnership of 222 for the 6th wicket with Mohammed Azharuddin who smashed 115 off 110 balls with 19 fours and a six before running himself out, courtesy of Andrew Hudson at backward point.

Azharuddin’s innings included a calculated assault on Klusener who at one stage conceded eight boundaries to the Indian player with consecutive scoring strokes.

There is always something of a special occasion to the New Year Test and there will be enough outstanding individuals - not to mention the series situation – to make sure that it happens again.

Few people will forget Dale Steyn’s final afternoon spell to Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood last season. They managed to hold the speedster at bay for a critical period of time to allow England to escape with their last batsman at the crease.

January 2 and 3 also marks the 100th anniversary of South Africa’s first double century in a Test match. Aubrey Faulkner made 204 over January 2 and 3, 1911, against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

So far more than 60 000 tickets have been sold and there is every indication that the record attendance of 83 000 against England in 2004-05 could be broken. Days 1 and 2 are almost sold out but there are some tickets coming back into the system.

Read more on:    india in sa  |  proteas

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