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Ntini fires SA to win
30 Dec 2006
By: Alex Crampton

Once again today, Makhaya Ntini showed what a dangerous and potent bowler he is. 5-48 set up a 174 run South African victory, and they now have the chance of winning the series.

The day began, an hour later than scheduled, with India already two wickets down. They required an unlikely but possible 354 to win, while South Africa needed eight wickets.
Any Indian hopes of victory were quickly dashed, Tendulkar was beaten for pace by Ntini in the first over, and was correctly given lbw.

Wasim Jaffer was next to go, he played a horrible pull shot to a ball outside off stump and looped it to Andre Nel. Bad light then interrupted things once again, forcing an early lunch to be taken. After the break, South Africa came up all guns blazing, and were rewarded with two crucial wickets.

Laxman and Ganguly battled hard for close to an hour of play, but this came to an end to give Ntini his fifth wicket. Ntini banged in a fierce bouncer, which Ganguly tried to get on top but failed, and found Herschelle Gibbs at gully. Andre Nel accounted for Laxman in the next over, bowling him through the gate.

With just Mahendra Dhoni and the bowlers left, India attempted to mount a rearguard. Anil Kumble worked for his 11, but was beaten by vicious throat ball from Andrew Hall, which he tamely fended to short leg.

Following Kumble's wicket, Zaheer Khan and Dhoni put a partnership of 59 together, and India looked to have a chance of saving the match. Dhoni fought hard, defending well but also taking advantage of the attacking fields to score ten boundaries. He was well supported by Khan, who consistently got in behind the line to keep the bowlers at bay.

Dhoni's natural instincts proved to be his downfall once again though. He couldn't resist a big drive off Andre Nel, and edged behind to an ecstatic Mark Boucher. Victory was now in South Africa's sights, and it took them less than seven overs to wrap it up.

Andre Nel produced a beauty to square up Khan, who was caught at third slip for 21 to bring last man VRV Singh to the crease. In the next over, Sreesanth tried to defend a bouncer from Hall, but it caught his shoulder. The South Africans appealed for the catch and it was given by Asad Rauf, much to Sreesanth's disgust.

South Africa were delighted at the win, to square things up after their poor showing in the first Test. They may have had the rub of the green when it came to umpiring but it was a well deserved win, and sets us up for a thrilling finale at Newlands.

South Africa 328
Ashwell Prince 121, Herschelle Gibbs 63, Mark Boucher 53
Sreesanth 4-109 Anil Kumble 3-62

India 240
Sachin Tendulkar 63, VVS Laxman 50*
Makhaya Ntini 3-41, Morne Morkel 3-86

South Africa 265-8 declared
Shaun Pollock 63*, Graeme Smith 59
Sreesanth 4-80, Anil Kumble 1-37

India 179 all out
Mahendra Dhoni 47
Makhaya Ntini 5-48, Andre Nel 3-57

South Africa win by 174 runs

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Makhaya Ntini

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