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Kallis and AB de Villiers puts South Africa in a strong position 

Kallis and AB de Villiers puts South Africa in a strong position

The forces of nature had the final say on day 3 at Durban as South African veteran Jacques Kallis had guided the hosts to the brink of 300 with half their side dismissed. South Africa were in a perilous situation at 113 for 3 when Kallis walked in to a Guard of Honour by the Indian team and joined the other new batsman in the middle, de Villiers.

Kallis and De Villiers resisted the early pressure to ease their way into their innings, aided significantly by the fact that India’s pacers Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan were struggling to find the right line. Kallis, in his trademark way, lofted Jadeja over the offside for boundaries, and in what was a productive period for the hosts, the veteran played a couple of gorgeous backfoot drives against Ishant Sharma.

The two stalwarts of South African cricket were putting them in the ascendancy with a crucial partnership that helped sway the match in South Africa’s favor as de Villiers reached his tenth successive Test fifty. But the introduction of Ravindra Jadeja paid dividends as he induced an edge to first slip from de Villiers to stem the brisk flow of runs and punch the wind out of South Africa’s sails.

Kallis reached his 150th international half-century but showed little enterprise against even a part-timer like Rohit Sharma and South Africa scored at below two an over at a time when they needed to get the game moving, especially considering the high probability of rain playing spoilsport in the remaining two days of the test.

Duminy, on the other hand, had his scratchy and laborious innings brought to an end by Ravindra Jadeja again, as he was trapped leg-before on 28. Jadeja’s four wickets, and the way he kept up the pressure on the South African batsmen, should put an end to the debate of whether he should have been picked ahead of R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.

In fact, Jadeja’s inclusion at the expense of R Ashwin for the second Test was a master-stroke. As is his usual modus operandi, he raced through his overs – dried up the runs, and gained appreciable turn and bounce. Graeme Smith attempted to play a heave through through the on-side but the ball hit the high part of the bat and Shikhar Dhawan took a spectacular catch on the tumble to send teh Proteas skipper home.

Mohammad Shami got the better of Hashim Amla as Soth Africa’s Mr. Consistent continued his dry patch with the bat, while Alviro Petersen was deceived by a rising delivery from Jadeja that took the shoulder of his bat allowing Murali Vijay to snap up a sharp chance with an acrobatic effort.

The game still hangs in the balance, although time is running out for both sides as we move into the final two days of this test match.

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