India in SA
Proteas in familiar territory
Jacques Kallis & AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Kingsmead -Turn the clock back to December 21 2008. The Proteas’ Castle Test squad went into the last day of their first Test against Australia at Perth needing a further 187 runs for victory with 7 wickets in hand. The men at the crease were Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers.
The Proteas went on to win the match by 6 wickets midway through the afternoon following the second most successful runs chase of all time of 414/5.
Fast forward the clock to the present. The Proteas go into the fourth day of the second Castle Test against India at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Wednesday needing a further 192 runs for victory with 7 wickets in hand. Kallis and De Villiers are again the overnight men at the crease.
Successful fourth innings run chases are not something new for the Proteas. Another memorable runs chase occurred at Edgbaston in 2008 when they made 283/5 on the fourth day against England not only to win the match but the series as well.
Significantly they also chased down a full strength Australian attack of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne to make 340/5 to win by five wickets at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in 2002.
It was Graeme Smith’s second Test for the Proteas and Ashwell Prince’s third and both of them made contributions that marked them down as future international cricketers of note.
The Proteas were set a target of 303 in the current match after VVS Laxman had made easily the highest score of the match to date (96 off 171 balls with 12 fours) being last man out and having received good support from MS Dhoni and Zaheer Khan.
Zaheer played an invaluable role in helping add 70 for the 8th wicket before India lost their last 3 wickets for 10 runs.
The Proteas bowling attack performed excellently as a unit in the most testing climatic conditions of the match to date. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was the standout performer taking 3 wickets in a Test innings for the first time (3/43 in 13 overs) to give him a highly satisfactory 5 in the match in only his 4th Test match.
There were also 4 dismissals for Mark Boucher to give him 9 in the match for the 3rd time in his international career. His career total has now moved to 518 which includes the 2 dismissals he made for the Rest of the World XI against Australia.
Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen gave the Proteas’ runs chase a turbo-charged start when they added 63 in 12.1 overs before the captain miscued a pull shot just before tea.
There was a further major setback when Petersen and Hashim Amla were dismissed off successive balls and, although Kallis and De Villiers batted through to the close, it would have taken a brave man to claim which side was on top. The answer is probably neither.
What is certain is that the match will be settled one way or the other during Wednesday’s fourth day.