Cape Town - Twenty wickets fell on the second day of the third Freedom
Series Test match between the Proteas and India at Nagpur on
Thursday, leaving the visitors with a huge mountain to climb if they are to
square the series.
The 20 wickets equals the record for the most wickets to
fall in a day of Test cricket on the sub-continent.
At the close of play the Proteas had made 32/2 in their
second innings – one of those wickets was again night watchman Imran Tahir –
leaving them to make a further 278 for victory in a match in which the highest
total has been India’s first innings score of 215 and the highest individual
innings being the 40 of Murali Vijay, also in the first innings.
To win the match the Proteas will have to make the highest
ever score by a visiting side in the fourth innings of a Test match in India,
the current best being the 276/5 of the West Indies in 1987 at Delhi, thanks to
a brilliant century by Sir Viv Richards who made an unbeaten 109 off 102 balls
on a turning track.
It is going to take something similar from one of the
Proteas two great batsmen, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, if this target is to
It goes without saying that, if the Proteas do pull it off,
it will be the greatest Test victory in South Africa’s history, far surpassing
the 414 target at Perth which was achieved on a relatively flat pitch.
The pitch has been a lottery for batsmen throughout the
match and the reason why India have managed to get ahead can be seen in the
bowling statistics. The nagging accuracy of Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja has
been the key factor. India conceded only 7 boundaries in the South African
first innings while the Proteas attack conceded 21 boundaries in the India
first innings and 20 in the second.
In the circumstances JP Duminy’s contribution of 35 to the
Proteas disappointing first innings total of 79, which amounted to almost 45
per cent of the total, was an outstanding effort while Imran Tahir achieved his
second Test career fifer in India’s second innings when he took 5/38 in 11.3
overs. His previous fifer was against Pakistan at Dubai but significantly that
was in the first innings and this was in the second.