South Africa hand India an innings defeat
by Jinu Sabastian
DateLine: 9th February 2010
South Africa inflicted an innings defeat on the Indians and the hosts are in a danger of losing their hard earned number one spot. Paul Harris in the company of Dale Steyn ripped apart the Indian batting line up as the hosts fell in a heap.
Resuming the day at 66 for 2 overnight batsmen Murali Vijay and Tendulkar continued to put up staunch resistance. The pair looked good while in the middle as they handled pace and spin of the South African attack well without much trouble. It seemed that the pair might take India to lunch without further damage before Harris intervened. Murali Vijay (32, 90 balls, 4x4) could not keep his sweep on the ground as he top edged one straight to the throat of Morkel at fine-leg. Badrinath (6, 31 balls, 1x4) could not repeat his heroics of the first innings as he edged behind of Parnell.
Tendulkar meanwhile summed up the nature of the pitch and played a gem of an innings. The genius right-hander once again confirmed that he is still India's leading batsman as he brought in all his experience in stonewalling the marauding South African bowlers as he mixed excellent stroke-play with sound defense. He soon brought up his 46th Test century but was bowled as he played onto his stumps off a persisting Harris. Dhoni (25, 112 balls, 3x4) soon departed as he was held at short-leg before the lower order put up some resistance.
Harbhajan Singh (39, 39 balls, 1x6, 4x4) entertained as usual as he along with Saha put on 50 for the seventh wicket raising some visions of a fightback. Once Harbhajan was dismissed Zaheer (33, 57 balls, 2x6, 4x4) joined Saha in the middle and the tail-enders again gave some hope to the Indian dressing room. But it in the end it proved just a mirage in a desert as the Indians fell short by six runs to make South Africa bat again.