SA on top in thriller

South Africa gained the initiative on day four of the deciding Test at Cape Town, as an 84-run partnership between Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly was all that kept India from crumbling for less than 100 in their second innings. They ended the day on 55-2 in their second innings, needing 211 to win.

Having stumbled to 6 for 2 early on in the day following the early dismissal of both openers, India were on the ropes – what then followed was a bizarre turn of events involving Sachin Tendulkar. Having been absent from the field for a period yesterday, he was ineligible to bat until 10.48am – however, the match officials neglected to tell him about this until the second wicket fell at 10.43am.

This meant that Sourav Ganguly was forced to rapidly pad up and go in to bat himself, ahead of Tendulkar – by the time this had happened, however, more than five minutes had passed, and the match officials had had to politely request that Graeme Smith’s side not appeal for a “timed out” dismissal, which they agreed to as the circumstances were unforeseen. Eventually Ganguly emerged from the pavilion and the match continued, with the former captain joining current captain Dravid at the crease.

The two set about building a partnership that would help their side to build a sizeable lead. The left and right hand combination helped unsettle the home side’s attack, as the likes of Pollock and Ntini were blunted by some fluent strokeplay from Dravid and some dogged resistance from Ganguly.

Once Ganguly departed for 46, Dravid began to dig in in partnership with Tendulkar – the latter hung around for 62 balls for only 14 as he looked uncomfortable, perhaps because of a potential injury sustained yesterday. From then on, the only member of the Indian batting lineup to show any resistance was Dinesh Karthik, stroking several fours in a composed 38 not out. India were eventually all out for 169, a lead of 210 – Dale Steyn took 4-30 in a penetrative spell of bowling.

The South African second innings got off to a solid start, Smith and De Villiers motoring onto 36 in the 10th over, but when De Villiers departed to Zaheer Khan for 22, the scoring rate slowed slightly. Hashim Amla made 10 before being trapped lbw by Kumble on the stroke of stumps.

Dave five is set up to be a thrilling day’s play – South Africa are in the driving seat, but if Anil Kumble can work some of his magic on a wearing final-day pitch, anything is possible.

India 414
Wasim Jaffer 116, Sourav Ganguly 66, Sachin Tendulkar 64
Shaun Pollock 4-75, Paul Harris 4-129

South Africa 373
Graeme Smith 94, Hashim Amla 63, Jacques Kallis 54
Anil Kumble 4-117, S Sreesanth 2-58

India 169
Rahul Dravid 47, Sourav Ganguly 46
Dale Steyn 4-30

South Africa 55-2
Graeme Smith 21*, Jacques Kallis 0*

South Africa require a further 156 runs with 8 wickets in hand

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