Smith smashes SA to victoryAlex Crampton |
Today was Sachin Tendulkar’s 357th ODI appearance, breaking Wasim Akram’s world record. But he would be sorely disappointed by his performance today, scoring 2 runs in a dismal game for India.
The pitch was grassy, and Smith elected to bowl, choosing to chase under the lights. India opened with the unfamiliar combination of Pathan and Gambhir, but both were back in the pavillion soon enough. Pathan inside edged one off Pollock without scoring, while Gambhir guided the same bowler to slip. Pollock also claimed the wicket of record-breaker Tendulkar, edging one behind for 2.
After Hall ended a quick cameo from Sehwag, Langeveldt claimed the priceless scalp of Rahul Dravid with a late inswinger, and yet again in this series India were deep in trouble. Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif both played sensibly, running hard and not playing any rash shots, and India began to move towards a respectable total.
Spinner Johan Botha was the one to break the 81-run partnership, trapping Yuvraj Lbw. Kaif and Yuvraj had taken India to 152-6, and with Dhoni coming to the wicket a good score was still more than possible. South Africa soon ended India’s hopes of a good total, with Kaif flicking Nel to midwicket and some accurate bowling keeping Dhoni at bay.
With Kallis bowling Agarkar, Dhoni eventually cracked and holed out to mid-on off Hall, who also dismissed Harbhajan to end the innings on 188, a below-par score that would not be anywhere near enough.
South Africa opened with Smith and Hall, with De Villiers in poor form, and the partnership was not to be broken. Smith, while hardly elegant, punished anything off line, while Hall played a more reserved role at the other end.
Smith continued to play masterfully, and Hall’s watchful knock at the other end was the perfect foil for Smith. The spinners stopped the flow of runs briefly, but soon Smith lofted Harbhajan back over his head, and Hall took a liking to the left arm orthodox of Murali Kartik.
Soon it was obvious that there would be only one result, and sure enough, Graeme Smith’s single off Sehwag secured an emphatic win for South Africa, putting them one up in the series with just a single match still to play.
India 188 all out
Yuvraj Singh 53, Mohammad Kaif 46
Shaun Pollock 3-25, Andrew Hall 3-36
South Africa 189-0
Graeme Smith 134*, Andrew Hall 48*
South Africa win by 10 wickets
Cricket Web Man of the Match:
Graeme Smith (134*)