SA take series 2-1

Led by captain Graeme Smith, South Africa successfully chased down 211 for a 2-1 series victory over India. The margin of victory was five wickets on a rain interrupted day five.

South Africa lost Hashim Amla with the last ball of day 4, but it was Shaun Pollock, rather than regular number four Jacques Kallis, who came out to bat in the morning. This move proved to be a highly successful one.

They put on 72 together at a good rate. Both were able to find the boundary, as well as taking quick singles to upset the rhythm of the bowlers. After adding 56, their partnership was halted by rain, which threatened to scupper South Africa’s comeback in the series. The skies opened at Newlands, and play was delayed by close to four hours, not helped by a failure of the ground staff’s machinery.

When play did resume, Zaheer Khan gave India a sniff of victory with the big wickets of Pollock and Smith. Shortly after completing a third half-century in as many innings, Smith went to cut too close to his body and edged to the diving Karthik. Khan might have had another one with the next ball, but Asad Rauf was unable to detect a faint edge form Kallis. There was some consolation for Khan a few overs later, as Pollock drove to Laxman at slip.

79 were now needed, with the fifth wicket pairing of Kallis and Ashwell Prince and the crease. Both were immovable in defence, playing the moving ball well in helpful conditions. A minimum of risks were taken, and when the frustrated bowlers even strayed they were punished.

They took South Africa to within two of the target, Kallis fell late on to Zaheer, but it was their stand which took away all of India’s hope and topped off South Africa’s recovery after losing the first Test of the series.

Both sides have had their ups and downs in this series, and the poor umpiring has muddied things slightly. Overall, though, it was a deserved win for South Africa. They performed when it mattered most whereas India, as shown by their poor second innings effort here, did not.

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 211-5
Graeme Smith 55, Ashwell Prince 38*
Zaheer Khan 4-62

South Africa win by 5 wickets and win the series 2-1

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Graeme Smith

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