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Friday, February 19, 2010


Kolkatta is a very special place for Indian cricket – against Aussies in 2001, we came back to win due to a marathon special by VVS and great display of spin bowling including a hat trick by Bhaji. Yesterday it was another good performance which enabled India retain its place in ICC ranking ladder. The fight was nerve wracking and obtained late in the day at a time when cows were returning home.

We could not get Amla out and the tail frustrated India a lot – when shadows lengthened and end was drawing closer, Morne Morkel fell to Harbajhan with just 9 balls to go for the stumps and victory achieved.

We have had 28 victories by a margin of an innings + runs – there are 16 above this; still this would rank very high coming it did against a quality opposition after having lost the First test badly.
The Innings wins

Every tour opposition would have a winner and this the 27 year old from Durban Hashim Amla stood out stranded on a fighting 123 following his first innings one and unbeaten 253 at Nagpur. In olden days, by fifth day, wicket would be a vicious turner but this time victory was hard earned and India sorely missed Zaheer. There were grave apprehensions due to the loss of more than 3 and a half on Wednesday. Wayne Parnell delayed it for long and at 264 for 9, all followers were looking to a wicket every ball – they had to wait for long for more than 20 overs. The final set displayed remarkable discipline and frustrated the bowlers before the moment of pride came.

The score card in brief for posterity would read : India 643 for 6 dec (Sehwag 165, Laxman 143*, Dhoni 132*, Tendulkar 106) beat South Africa 296 (Amla 114, Petersen 100, Zaheer 4-90, Harbhajan 3-64) and 290 (Amla 127*, Harbhajan 5-59, Mishra 3-78) by an innings and 57 runs.

The match was a remarkable display of grit as India had 98 overs to get 7 but more than 5o where played off by Amla. Mishra did bowl well and produced a special one to get AB De Villiers just before lunch. In the absence of Zaheer, Ishant sprayed a lot but preserved to get something important. Last time against Aussies, Sachin had weaved magic but could not make much impact this time.

This test win is very laudable and Indians could remember this for long.
Here are some interesting statistics.

An avid Cricket fan - S Sampathkumar

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