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Tuesday, 31 December 2013
Jacques Kallis is irreplaceable, says Kepler Wessels

Jacques Kallis is irreplaceable, says Kepler Wessels


Jacques Kallis' end could not have been scripted better' says Kepler Wessels, South Africa's first test captain of the modern era. In an exclusive conversation with Headlines Today he pays Kallis the ultimate compliment saying he is irreplaceable. Wessels also believes India will be a improved side overseas after this tour.

Hundred in the final test:

It couldn't have been better scripted. It's been a wonderful career. He is by far the best player South Africa has produced. We are all happy for him. For it to end this way for him is very fitting. He is the last player in this team that I played against so have seen him unfold from a young player to a world superstar.

The best all-rounder:

I don't like to compare eras. If you put Kallis' career in perspective he is the best of the best. He ranks right up there with the likes of Sobers. South Africa would not be able to replace him which speaks volumes for the sort of package he presented for his team.

Pure batsmen/Pure bowler:

He could have been picked in the eleven as a batsmen and a bowler and he was a great slip fielder as well. A true all rounder.

Kallis is irreplaceable:

One can't replace Kallis. We will have to change balance of the team, look to find a batsman who can bat at no.4 and find an all rounder at no.7 for the Australia tour.

India an improved side:

India have played extremely well. They surprised everyone with the way they played at the Wanderers, particularly with their batting. They should be confident of doing well overseas now. If they can improve their bowling a little bit they will be a very good team away as well. They are already very good at home. South Africa knows now that India is a very good side and they know they need to be at their best to beat Australia. They still have to find a spin option

India squandered away advantage in first innings:

South Africa could still win it. India can't win it from here. India could have considered taking the new ball early although the first session panned out alright for them. Perhaps the problem was that they got out fairly cheaply on day 2 after the excellent start on first day.

Bishan Singh Bedi crashes to defeat in DDCA polls

Bishan Singh Bedi crashes to defeat in DDCA polls

Sneh Prakash Bansal and his panel on Monday swept the DDCA polls with a landslide victory over former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi's faction by procuring more than 70 per cent of the votes.

"The final results will be out in the evening but we have won the elections. Out of 4300 votes, we had already submitted 3400 proxy votes. So it has been a big victory for us. The members have shown their faith in us and we will have to continue doing the good work," DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan told PTI.

While Bedi faction raised objections about the manner in which AGM was conducted, Bansal & Co. showed that with the system of proxy votes in place, it's near impossible for an outsider to win an election.

"The proxy vote system is allowed in company act. We are not doing anything illegal. There was an election and we have got the mandate," new president Bansal said after taking over the charge.

About the allegations regarding bungling of funds and age-fudging, Bansal said, "These are all baseless things that there has been bungling of funds. Yes, there has been an SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) inquiry but corrective measures have been taken. For age fudging, we have followed the standard procedures of BCCI's age related system."

Will Bedi's voice be heard by this committee, he answered, "The offer and suggestions of help have to come from their side."

Sports secretary Sunil Dev, who retained his seat by walloping Madan Lal, said that "proxy system has helped DDCA keep away the unwanted elements from the association or else it would be hell."

Bedi, on his part, was livid in the manner the AGM was conducted.

"The outgoing president while answering a query said that the next match will be held at the Kotla. He perhaps didn't know that this is Delhi's last match of the season.

South Africa call India's bluff ahead of 2015 World Cup

South Africa call India's bluff ahead of 2015 World Cup

It was almost around this time of the year in 2012 when Team India was being humiliated by arch-rivals Pakistan in their own backyard during the three-match ODI series. It was a setback that probably led the foundation of a glorious year to come for India.

The year 2013 witnessed a fairly young and inexperienced Team India dominate the world of cricket in almost all formats of the sport.

Dhoni's men avenged their shambolic overseas Test loss against England and also tamed the Australians. The Windies were not spared either, the MSD brigade thumped Darren Sammy's men fair and square in both Test and ODI series. But, all of these triumphs came on the Indian soil - raising doubts on India's domination in the sport.

The only overseas victory, that was perhaps India's highest point of 2013, came in the ICC Champions Trophy. Team India stunned the hosts England in a rain-hit final to clinch the coveted title.

Indian team got a big opportunity to silence their critics when BCCI sanctioned the highly-awaited tour to South Africa. Team India was subjected to prove their mettle overseas in order to claim their domination in cricket.

With India's horrific form overseas, a win over the experienced side with the likes of South Africa was more like a distant dream for Dhoni's men. Still, counting on their ecstatic performance back home, Indian fans expected a tough fight.

But as they say - in order to be the best, you need to take out the best. Team India was clearly not the best and it reflected in their game against one of the toughest opponents they faced in 2013.

Nothing worked for India in the ODI series. Their star batsmen - who were busy scoring double centuries and chasing 350+ totals at ease - suddenly found themselves ducking for cover against the sheer pace of the South African bowlers.

The bowling was already a problem but given the conditions in South Africa, the Indian bowlers failed to make an impact yet again. The result was obvious and the high-flying Indian team came down crashing in no time.

After losing the ODI series 2-0, India was looking to salvage some pride in the Tests. But, that was highly unlikely considering South Africa's Test status.

Gutted with their dismal show, India placed their best foot forward and maneuvered the first Test match to a thrilling draw. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara led one of the greatest counter-attacks in the overseas conditions for India.

It was a psychological victory that raised the stakes for the 2nd and deciding Test match. Everything turned out great for the Indian team but that was only restricted to the first day.

From 181/1 at the end of Day 1, Team India crumbled to a mere 334 runs on Day 2. Dale Steyn's fire balls turned out to be the Achilles' heel for the Indian batting maestros and since then, Dhoni's brigade were left chasing the game.

South Africa's ten-wicket win in Durban is a big wake-up call for the day-dreaming Team India and the BCCI - who apparently seem content with their performance at home.

But, with the 2015 ICC World Cup scheduled in Australia and New Zealand, Dhoni & co. will need to prove their mettle overseas more often than gunning the opposition on flat wickets in their own backyard.
Bookies still in touch with cricketers, claim BCCI anti-corruption unit chief

Bookies still in touch with cricketers, claim BCCI anti-corruption unit chief

In a detailed powerpoint presentation (PPP) made during Saturday's working committee meeting in Chennai, ACU director and former police officer Ravi Sawani enlightened Board officials about its activities. "It was a very detailed presentation, in which Sawani highlighted the steps that the ACU has taken to checking corruption in cricket. The PPP comprised photos of bookies, including a lady, and also of two players. One has played Test cricket and one is a former firstclass player," a BCCI source told Mail Today.

"He said the two cricketers exchanged several calls with Nikita Mahajan (name changed). This was shown though a flow chart with arrows indicating the number of calls made by the players to the bookies and viceversa," said the source

He also listed out the many ways in which players could be trapped by bookies," he disclosed. "We were told that bookies were in touch with one of the three Rajasthan Royals players, caught in the fixing net by Delhi Police, for about two years."

Delhi Police arrested He also listed out the many ways in which players could be trapped by bookies," he disclosed. "We were told that bookies were in touch with one of the three Rajasthan Royals players, caught in the fixing net by Delhi Police, for about two years."

Delhi Police arrested Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan on May 16 and later filed a chargesheet against them. BCCI banned Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan for life, pacer Amit Singh for five years, and Siddharth Trivedi for one year. Chandila's punishment is yet to be determined.

On the other hand, a Supreme Court-appointed committee, headed by former Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, is probing the roles of BCCI president N. Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and others allegedly involved in the IPL scandal.

The source said Sawani made a special mention of the Ranji Trophy matches played at Roshanara Club, a private
Contrasting farewells of two cricket giants- Sachin and Kallis

Contrasting farewells of two cricket giants- Sachin and Kallis


There are some privileges one gets with the occupation; like seeing the farewell of two legends of world cricket, both of whom put together have 42 years of international cricket between them.

More than a month earlier India's biggest ever cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar bid good bye in front of a capacity home crowd and his entire family and friends. Monday evening it was South African cricket's greatest ever cricketer Jacques Kallis's turn to say bye.

The Durban crowd was a paltry 7000 plus and Kallis's sister. The contrast between the two events could not be more striking. BCCI went out of the way to divert from its rotation policy at the risk of of annoying a few associations to have the farewell test in Mumbai. Cricket South Africa could do little to provide Kallis an opportunity to play his last in front of a home crowd in Cape Town; that fell pray to politics between the two boards.

"I would have liked to have played my last in front of the home crowd in Cape Town," Kallis said. It was the only time in his post retirement press meet that he chose to complain.

"The way Indian cricketer's are treated and how we do it is very different. Sachin is God in India, in South Africa we appreciate performance but not the same way," says Shaun Pollock, Kallis' long time team mate.

The Indian nation had come to a standstill when Sachin Tendulkar completed his 100th hundred and played his 200th test. Kallis was the only contemporary cricketer to have a chance to come close to some of Sachin's records. When asked if it occurred to him he said," I have never played for records. Maybe I look at them with pride. Sachin was an incredible player and happy to be in the 10000 plus club with him."

The Kallis retirement could well have been even more low key but for his captain Graeme Smith and friend Mark Boucher convincing him to pre announce the decision.  While the free entry to the ground post lunch session also failed to draw Durban fans to witness a special farewell, the South African team left no stone unturned to make it a special for him. The entire team coming out wearing special Kallis T shirts for the presentation as they carried him around the ground was a gesture he would always carry with him. "I had tears in my eyes," Dale Steyn said when asked how he reacted when first told Kallis was retiring.

Kallis was the last of this team who also played under their first ever test captain Kepler Wessels which goes to show the journey he has travelled in scoring 13289 runs, getting 292 test wickets and taking 200 catches.

"Nothing much has changed since the time I made my test debut. Just that I have grown a year older, lost some hair and grown some of it back," he joked.

Seeing the two retirements one can definitely say while the Kallis farewell didn't have the fanfare of Tendulkar's, the void his absence will leave behind would ensure South Africa does not forget him in a hurry.
Former cricketers surprised at selection of Stuart Binny

Former cricketers surprised at selection of Stuart Binny



Former Cricketers like Kirti Azad, Chetan Chauhan and Madan Lal have expressed surprise at the selection of Stuart Binny for the upcoming series against New Zealand. He is not in the list of top 50 batsmen or bowlers in the ongoing Ranji Trophy season.

Chetan Chauhan said, "The selection committee chairman like Srikkanth in the past must come out and explain why he has been chosen ahead of other players who have done so well. The detractors of Roger Binny will raise questions and eyebrows and the selection committee is answerable for this. Gautam Gambhir deserves to be selected as he is among the runs in most difficult of conditions. Our both openers did not do so well in South Africa."

"I am really surprised at his selection. He hasn't done anything great. Is he included because of the selection committee member happens to be his father," asks Kirti Azad.

Madan Lal said, "I do not understand this selection at all. I am really surprised at selection of Binny and exclusion of Gambhir. Selection committee and BCCI are answerable."
Monday, 30 December 2013
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No tears, super-hero Jacques Kallis just says 'Thank you'

Farewells are not always about tears and emotions. They are also about performances - defined aptly by Jacques Henry Kallis, on Monday. The 38-year-old played his final Test here in Durban but said nothing much has changed in the last 18 years of being an international cricketer, except his age!

Considered one of the best all-rounders in the game, Kallis finished his Test career as the third-highest run scorer (13,289) and second-highest centurion (45). Humility, however, defined him on his last day as a Test cricketer, exactly how it had through all his records and laurels. (Match report)

"I sat here the day before the game, looked out on the field and nothing much had changed in my 18 years except I was a little older," he said, after his team defeated India by 10 wickets to claim the 2-Test series 1-0. (Highlights)

Asked what he would miss the most and Kallis was prompt in his reply, "I will miss the friendship, will miss the emotions in defeat and victory." (Scorecard)

The decision to retire from a sport is never easy for a veteran. Kallis said he was no different. "It was a tough call to retire from Test cricket. It's been incredible how people have made this special for me. I thank Cricket South Africa, my teammates and fans here for everything. I have been fortunate to have good coaches, friends and family and I will miss the dressing room." He also chose to specially mention his parents, saying they had played a large part in who he was today. "As kids, you want to make your parents proud and I hope I have done that for my mom and dad. My father watched me play my first Test and today, I have my sister here. It feels nice." (Pics)

Over the years of being a cricketer, his team has been like his family and on his last day in whites, Kallis chose to celebrate with fellow players. He led the entire team in a lap around Kingsmead as he waved towards cheering fans. And he finished his lap with a big swig from a beer can. In all of it, the true gentleman in a gentleman's sport didn't forget about the opposition. "I thank Dhoni and the Indian team for the guard of honour," he said at the post-match ceremony. (Read: Dhoni and Co. give Kallis a guard of honour)

Even when his fellow players took the mic to applaud him and his career, Kallis - wearing his usual on-field sunglasses - sported only a shy smile, as if to say thanks. Skipper Graeme Smith chose to describe precisely this humane side of the player. "We have played 105 Tests together and it has been a privilege knowing him as a friend and a teammate. In the end, I think he is an outstanding person and that is what counts," said Smith, six years junior to Kallis. (Kallis hits farewell ton)

It isn't just those who have played with him, but even former greats have hailed Kallis and thanked him for his contribution to cricket. While former South Africa cricketer Kepler Wessels said Kallis has brought a lot to his team, Sunil Gavaskar hailed him as unique. "There have been many great all-rounders but not all of them could be selected as either a specialist batsman or a bowler, which has been the case with Kallis. It is difficult to compare different eras but to me Kallis was unique," said the former India captain.

While Kallis may now be focusing solely on the 2015 ODI World Cup, he has already scripted a tale in Tests and set a benchmark - on and off the field - that will be extremely hard to replicate. However, it will serve as an inspiration for generations to come
 Cricketers as Brand Ambassadors

Cricketers as Brand Ambassadors



Modern day cricketers are all rounders in a way, skilled at playing multiple roles as they jump across different formats of the game. Also, as top stars are contemporary royalty, national icons, 24-karat celebrities, it is no surprise their field of play extends beyond cricket and their services are utilised in diverse areas.

Cricketers are routinely sucked into activities away from the game, mostly in the commercial ecosystem that surrounds professional sport. Cricketers, like successful film stars, have enormous commercial appeal; Sachin and Dhoni are in demand for endorsing products, selling soap and scooters, mobiles and motorcars, colas and cars.

In corporate India, it is standard practise to use cricket celebrities as brand ambassadors and to offer them handsome amounts to push products and promote the company. This alliance, top star getting top money in a pure commercial arrangement, is normal. It happens all time.

It is also fairly common for celebrities, cricketing or others, to endorse social causes by becoming the face of campaigns to raise awareness about education, health, environment.

But some times, this business of brand ambassadors takes a serious leap to go beyond a marketing gimmick or a strategy to spread a socially relevant message.

The other day, recently retired celebrity Sachin Tendulkar lent a helping hand to support Unicef's health campaign, urging everyone to wash their hands. At a glittering, well attended function in front of several TV cameras he said the politically correct words, and also made a charming confession that, as a child, this is something he did not do but he now knows better. Sachin's message was widely reported: it caught the news on every channel that evening and made headlines in newspapers the next morning.

Much the same happened little earlier when Virat Kohli, a rising star and youth icon, was appointed brand ambassador of a para military force. At the function, Virat was presented a cap and blazer bearing the logo of the force, after which he, presumably, made a rousing speech about making a contribution to society and giving back .

Virat, given his appeal with the youth, also fronted the Election Commission campaign in Delhi urging youngsters to vote.

The reasons for leveraging the stardom of Sachin or India's youthful future captain are easy to understand. In either case, as brand ambassadors, neither is required to sell a product which has a price tag. Both are mere instruments of communication, used to pass on a message, create awareness and, hopefully, influence people.

But does such celebrity endorsement, and the business of public service brand ambassador, really work?

Obviously, many feel celebrities matter, they can improve image, help reach out to the public and create an impact. Whether people will start washing hands because Sachin has asked them, or whether more people voted because Virat made an appeal is debatable. Cynics say all media attention is fleeting and the newspaper headlines and the short news clip on television is quickly forgotten. This business of 'inspiring and motivating' is great board room talk but what it translates into, in real terms, is not so certain.

Whatever the final outcome, whether more hands are washed and if there is renewed interest in the paramilitary force, at least the choice of the brand ambassadors in these cases can't be faulted. Nobody can rival the pan India popularity or presence of Bharat Ratna Tendulkar. Similarly, Virat is an outstanding example of a young India that is ambitious, assertive, talented and successful.
Durban Test: South Africa thrash India by 10 wickets

Durban Test: South Africa thrash India by 10 wickets


Unlike Wanderers in Johannesburg on December 22 where they choked eight runs away from a pulsating win, South Africa were not to be denied in Durban. The world's No. 1 Test team ran out comprehensive winners, thrashing India by 10 wickets at Kingsmead on Monday. In a match where 54 overs were lost to the elements, South Africa's bowlers scripted a well-deserved win after the talismanic Jacques Kallis scored a century in his farewell Test match to give the home team a decisive first innings lead.

India's batting line-up failed to live up to its reputation for the second time in Durban as the visitors were all out for 223 in their second innings leaving South Africa with only 58 runs to get. Skipper Graeme Smith (27) and Alviro Petersen (31) got the required runs without much fuss as South Africa won the two-match series 1-0. Having lost their last four Tests at Kingsmead, this was South Africa's first Test win in Durban since 2008. (Right time to retire: Kallis)

The only bright spot from an Indian point of view was Ajinkya Rahane's fighting 96. The 25-year-old right-hander from Mumbai deserved his maiden Test hundred but was finally left stranded as India lost wickets at regular intervals on Monday morning. A combination of poor application and a couple of dubious decisions left India (173/7) looking down the barrel by lunch but the visitors' top-order batsmen clearly floundered in front of some quality bowling.

Dale Steyn took three for 47 in the second innings and two of them included the team's batting pillars, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara. If India had to survive three sessions on Monday, much depended on Kohli and Pujara but it was not to be. Kohli got a poor caught-behind decision but Pujara was bowled by a Steyn beauty that left the normally judicious Saurashtra batsman completely foxed. The 30-year-old Steyn also reached 350 Test wickets and his nine wickets in the match - he got 6 for 100 in the first innings - proved why he was the world's leading pacer, showing enormous mental stamina and conviction to bounce back after getting just one wicket in the first Test at Johannesburg where conditions were more favourable to seamers. (Dhoni unhappy with decisions)

Monday's star-turn was not Steyn's handiwork alone. It was Robin Peterson's left-arm spin that did much damage as his 4 for 74 forked the life out of the Indian middle order. Peterson's victims included skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, the latter throwing his wicket away after hitting a six. It was poor cricket by Jadeja. Dhoni has not scored a 50 his last 10 Test innings and Monday was a day to make amends. The skipper too played a loose stroke and threw in the towel easily. (Great learning curve: Dhoni)

The Durban game will be remembered for being Kallis' farewell Test. The 38-year-old veteran, arguably the world's best all-rounder, left on a high after scoring a brilliant 115 under pressure. His 45th century in 166 Tests left him with a healthy average of 55.37. Kallis' exit will leave a gaping hole in the South African top order as his patience to build an innings and adjust on all kinds of conditions will not be easy to fill. He was deservedly given a standing ovation by both teams but Kallis would probably been happier to have bowed out in front of his home fans at Newlands, Cape Town.  (Pics)

"It's strange walking out to bat knowing that there is no tomorrow and it will be your last opportunity to get a 100 for your country," Kallis said. He clearly did better than a Sachin Tendulkar or a Ricky Ponting, who did not score a century in the last Test innings. World cricket will miss him. (Kallis says 'Thank you')
Sunday, 29 December 2013
Preview: SA vs Ind, 2nd Test at Durban

Preview: SA vs Ind, 2nd Test at Durban

SA vs After sharing the honours in a thrilling draw, India and South Africa will renew their exciting battle for supremacy today in the series-deciding second and final cricket Test, which will serve as the farewell match for local hero Jacques Kallis.

38-year-old Kallis, one of the greatest all-rounders the game has produced, announced his decision to quit Test cricket after the match and his teammates will be eager to give him a prefect send-off with the series win.
Ind, 2nd Test at Durban

Friday, 27 December 2013
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Boxing Day Test: Of crowds and pitches on a festive Day



Boxing day test matches are special outside the Asian sub continent much like cricket on Diwali in India. Thankfully for the first time in this India's tour of South Africa people keeping with the festive Christmas season and tradition came in big numbers and we had the first full house of the tour.

The attendance at Kingsmead today was 18,000 plus which can be multiplied four and a half times over to match the crowd that turned up to watch the other Boxing day Test in Melbourne between England and Australia. A record 90,831 turned up to see the fourth Ashes Test hoping Australia can continue their domination over England after having already sealed the series.

Kingsmead's modest capacity not withstanding, a few thousand seats remained unoccupied. "They might hop over from the beach across the stadium soon," said a local. As it turned out some of them just chose not to turn up to see the agony of seeing Indian batsmen plant their front foot forward on a pitch they seemed to be all at home.

There are already murmurs from the South African camp about how the once feared Durban track is becoming increasingly slow. Chief stadium in charge Brett Proctor also seemed sure it would not crack up too soon nor pick up pace. Indian bowling coach Joe Dawes did enough to rub it in by suggesting on winning the toss they had 'always expected it to be flat'. So much for offering things on a platter for the visitors!
India vs South Africa, 2nd Test Day 2 - Live score

India vs South Africa, 2nd Test Day 2 - Live score



Welcome to the LIVE coverage of Day 2 in the 1st Test match between India and South Africa from the Kingsmead stadium in Durban. SCORECARD | Day 1 | 1st Test Analysis
13.2 overs: FOUR!! Alviro Petersen skips down the track and smashes it straight down the ground for a boundary.
SEVEN RUNS off the over!!

12.2 overs: FOUR!! Graeme Smith stands tall and cuts it towards third man for a boundary.

Jadeja starts off with a MAIDEN!!

First sign of spin, Ravindra Jadeja comes into the attack for India.
With Graeme Smith(21) and Alviro Petersen(19) at the crease, South Africa are currently at 40/0 after 10 overs.

MAIDEN OVER by Sharma!!

First change, Ishant Sharma comes into the attack for India. He's ONE SHORT OF 150 TEST WICKETS!!

4.4 overs: FOUR!! Alviro Petersen plays with soft hands and sends it towards third man for a boundary.

3.5 overs: FOUR!! Graeme Smith was looking to leave it but the ball takes an edge off the bat and races past slip cordon for a boundary.

3.1 overs: FOUR!! Graeme Smith gets on the frontfoot and whacks it past mid-off for a boundary.
NINE RUNS off the over!!
It's RAINING BOUNDARIES for South Africa at the moment!!

1.2 overs: FOUR!! Alviro Petersen hangs back and flicks it through square leg for another boundary. BACK-TO-BACK boundaries for Petersen!!

1.1 overs: FOUR!! Alviro Petersen waits for it and flicks it off the pads for a boundary. POOR LINE from Shami!!

Mohammed Shami will bowl from the other end for India.

TEN RUNS off the over!!

0.6 overs: FOUR!! Graeme Smith gets on the backfoot and thumps it through midwicket for another boundary in the over.
0.3 overs: FOUR!! Graeme Smith gets a big stride forward and drills it through extra cover for the first boundary in the innings. CRACKING SHOT from Smith!!
Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen are out in the middle for South Africa while Zaheer Khan will start the proceedings for India.
Team India have been bowled out for 334 runs by South Africa on Day 2 at the Kingsmead stadium. Fortunes have swung this way and that so far. Steyn's initial burst gave South Africa the momentum early in the day but India staged a recovery through a good stand between Kohli and Rahane. It was later extended by Dhoni and Rahane for a while. The latter got his maiden Test fifty but Steyn came back once again to hasten the end. South Africa were looking a bit flat at that moment but Steyn showed just why he's such a highly rated bowler. The tail was wrapped up in no time and India were restricted to a decent total. The pitch holds no demons and the sun is out as well. South Africa will enjoy batting in these conditions.

hat's the END OF INNINGS for Team India!!

111.3 overs: That's OUT!! Morne Morkel has got Mohammed Shami out caught at first slip. Shami slashes hard and gets an outside edge through to Graeme Smith at teh first slip. Mohammed Shami departs after scoring one run off six balls. FINAL NAIL IN THE COFFIN for India!!
With Mohammed Shami(1) and Ajinkya Rahane(51) at the crease, Team India are currently at 334/9 after 111 overs.
109.1 overs: Ajinkya Rahane punches it towards long-off for a single and brings up his MAIDEN TEST FIFTY.

This is the 2nd TIME that Dale Steyn has got 6 WICKETS in an innings against India at Durban!!

Mohammed Shami comes to the crease for India.

108.5 overs: OUT!! Dale Steyn has got Ishant Sharma out caught by the wicket-keeper. Ishant tries to fend it but gets an outside edge through to AB de Villiers behind the stumps. Ishant Sharma walks back in the hut for four runs off three balls with a boundary.

108.4 overs: FOUR!! Ishant Sharma leans forward and creams the drive through covers for a boundary. That was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS from Sharma!!

Ishant Sharma comes to crease for India.

Dale Steyn gets a FIVE-WICKET HAUL!!
108.2 overs: That's OUT!! Dale Steyn has got Zaheer Khan out caught by the wicket-keeper. Zaheer slashes hard and gets an outside edge through to AB de Villiers behind the stumps. Zaheer Khan perishes without troubling the scorecard. Team India in TATTERS now!!

Zaheer Khan comes to the crease for India.

That's the 200th TEST CATCH for Jacques Kallis. He becomes only the 2nd FIELDER in Test history to hold 200 catches!!

107.5 overs: OUT!! JP Duminy has got Ravindra Jadeja out caught at second slip. Jadeja pushes at it and gets a thick outside edge towards Jacques Kallis at the second slip. Ravindra Jadeja departs for a golden duck.
Ravindra Jadeja comes to the crease for India.

Dale Steyn STRIKES AGAIN!!

106.4 overs: That's OUT!! Dale Steyn has got MS Dhoni out caught at first slip. Dhoni was chasing the wide delivery only to edge it straight towards Graeme Smith at the first slip. MS Dhoni departs after scoring 24 runs off 40 balls with three boundaries. Dhoni THROWS away his wicket!!
With MS Dhoni(21) and Ajinkya Rahane(46) at the crease, Team India are currently at 316/5 after 105 overs.

TWO RUNS off the over!!

JP Duminy comes into the attack for South Africa.

101.4 overs: FOUR!! Ajinkya Rahane goes for the drive and gets an outside edge past slip for a boundary.

101.1 overs: FOUR!! Ajinkya Rahane rocks back and steers it square on the off side for a boundary.

100.6 overs: FOUR!! MS Dhoni gets on top of it and flays the cut through gully for another boundary.

100.3 overs: FOUR!! MS Dhoni flays the cut and gets it past backward point for a boundary.

98.5 overs: FOUR!! Ajinkya Rahane slashes hard at it and sends it towards third man for a boundary.
95.1 overs: FOUR!! Ajinkya Rahane rocks back and clouts the pull past midwicket for a boundary.

And, we're back. MS Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane are out in the middle for India while Robin Peterson will start the proceedings for South Africa after Tea.
TEA: The session was definitely DOMINATED to South Africa. Steyn STUNNED the Indians with a TRIPLE STRIKE, getting Pujara and Vijay caught at the wicket before Rohit Sharma left a straight ball. Virat Kohli was in his ELEMENTS and looked good for another BIG KNOCK. He was well supported by Rahane as the pair STABILIZED the innings. Morkel returned to KNOCK OVER Kohli though and the hosts will be the HAPPIER TEAM going into Tea.

With MS Dhoni(0) and Ajinkya Rahane(23) at the crease, Team India are currently at 271/5 after 95 overs.



 
Thursday, 26 December 2013
  Cheteshwar Pujara sure India will lash out vs South Africa in second Test

Cheteshwar Pujara sure India will lash out vs South Africa in second Test



Durban:  Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Tuesday, sought to play mind games ahead of the second cricket Test against South Africa, saying the visitors had more positives to take from the epic drawn first Test and would like to "build on the gains" from that match.

"If we consider the last match, we have had more positives than South Africa. We batted first when the ball was doing a bit and we batted well. When they batted in the first innings, there wasn't much help from the track, still we came back with our bowling," Pujara said at the pre-match press conference here. (Also read: Steyn hurt after being booed by Jo'burg crowd, says de Villiers)

"In the second innings, they had the opportunity to bat in better conditions. On the last day, we were expecting some more movement from the cracks but it didn't happen. They were lucky enough to survive," India's No 3, who scored an impressive 153 in the first Test, said.

Pujara said that India had a better chance of winning the first Test but it was one partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, that didn't go their way.

"We had very good chance to win the match. But it was one good partnership in a session that didn't go our way. So emotionally and mentally, coming out to play in Durban is a good thing for us. It is a new match and we have to start from scratch. We have to forget what happened in Johannesburg and focus on our plans for this game," Pujara said.

Pujara did not shy away from stating that South Africa didn't go for victory as they didn't have confidence in their tail-enders when asked about the impressive show by the Proteas while chasing a target in excess of 450.

"Only two of their batsmen, Faf and AB scored runs in the whole match. We are confident that we can get their batsmen out. Also, if you notice, they didn't go for victory in the end, so they are not confident about their tail-enders getting runs," the Saurashtra batsman pointed out. (Related: Graeme Smith defends decision to draw Test)

Pujara also said that although it was a very close game, the recovery process after such a taxing encounter hasn't been a problem.

"Nevertheless, it was a very exciting finish and you expect such close contests from Test cricket. There is no problem with our recovery and we are training a lot. So we are fit enough to prepare for the next game."

India fell short by just three wickets in the end, but Pujara asserted that their bowlers had done well even in coming out of the game with a draw after setting a 458-run target.

"It was just one session on fifth day, which changed the game. The one between lunch and tea when we didn't get any wickets. That was the crucial session for us. If we had got one wicket - either Faf or AB - then we would have had a very good chance of winning the match.

"Obviously credit goes to them that they batted well, but apart from that we bowled really well in all other sessions,” said Pujara, giving due credit to the efforts of Zaheer Khan, Mohamad Shami and Ishant Sharma.

He also had kind words for lone spinner in the attack, Ravichandran Ashwin, who didn't pick a wicket in the two innings.

"There wasn't much help for the spinners. But with the kind of line and length he bowled, he was getting a little bit of turn despite fast bowlers getting more help from the Wanderers' pitch.

"Ashwin bowled the right areas and Faf was struggling to play him. He didn't score many runs against Ashwin, if you see. The fast bowlers were mainly supposed to pick wickets for us and he just had to hold the line and length. In the end, Ashwin did his job for us," Pujara tried his best to defend the Tamil Nadu tweaker who has not done well on overseas tours.

Pujara didn't shy away from asking questions as to how Morne Morkel's replacement Kyle Abbott, who hasn't played much international cricket will fit in the scheme of things.

"It will a huge difference for them because the replacement bowler (Kyle Abbott) hasn't played much with this team. Even in Abu Dhabi, he didn't play against Pakistan. So it will be a bit of a bother to them because Dale Steyn is used to bowling with Morkel in a partnership".

Pujara did admit that Imran Tahir's poor show and Morkel's injury helped the Indian team's cause.

"Tahir didn't bowl well in that match. South Africa will be disappointed in his bowling because he had to do a specific role and he couldn't do it. Indian batsmen are always good against spinners and we did score many against Tahir and Duminy, and they had to bowl because Morkel was injured".

Dale Steyn didn't have a great Test match but Pujara by no means would like to underestimate the fast bowler.

"Of course, it is good for us that Steyn didn't pick any wickets in the match. But he's a very good bowler and nobody in our team will under-estimate him for this match. When you score runs, you get to know about the bowlers' strategy and their lengths."

Pujara said that his first overseas Test hundred has given him a lot of confidence.

"It becomes a bit easier in the next game, but I am not saying that I can walk in there and do the same in this match as well. I will have to work hard obviously, but I had the confidence to score runs overseas because I have been on many A-tours to Australia, England and here as well earlier in the year," he said.

Irrespective of the bowling attack, his partnership with Kohli at number four will once again be crucial to India's fortunes when they bat together in the second Test.

"We had two perfect partnerships. Let us hope we can continue to bat well together in this match as well," Pujara signed off.
Kingsmead gives Jacques Kallis a standing ovation

Kingsmead gives Jacques Kallis a standing ovation

 

Durban:  In a fitting tribute to one of the greatest all-rounders of the game, Kingsmead gave Jacques Kallis a standing ovation as the veteran star led the South Africans out as the Boxing Day Test against India started on Thursday. Kallis will be retiring at the end of this Test match after making his debut in December 1995. Before this Kingsmead game, Kallis has scored 13174 runs in 165 Tests and is the third big player to quit Test cricket this season after Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar. (Pollock, Wessels hail Kallis)
(Ovation for Kallis, in pics)

Thirty-eight-year-old Kallis announced his retirement on Wednesday. He will continue to play ODIs and T20s for South Africa. On Thursday, Kallis led the South Africans out after India won the toss and decided to bat. At the toss, South African skipper Graeme Smith said: "Kallis was probably the greatest cricketer to have come out of our country. It's been an emotional few days. I have been chatting to Jacques since before the first Test. We want to put in a special performance for him in this match." (Hope to play 2015 World Cup: Kallis)

In 165 Tests for South Africa, Kallis scored 13174 runs at a stunning average of 55.12. He also has 292 wickets and 199 Test catches, proving what a quality cricketer he has been for his team in the last 18 years. With 44 hundreds to his name, Kallis was closest to Tendulkar's record of 51 Test centuries. (Kallis' maturity and calmness will be missed: Domingo)

He is the greatest all-rounder the game has seen, at least in terms of statistics, leaving behind Garfield Sobers (8032 runs, 235 wickets, 109 catches in 93 Tests) and Ian Botham (5200 runs, 383 wickets, 120 catches in 102 Tests.) Kallis is currently fourth on the list of leading run-getters in Test cricket, behind Tendulkar (15921 runs in 200 Tests), Ricky Ponting (13378 runs in 168 Tests) and Rahul Dravid (13288 runs in 164 Tests). (Kallis to quit Tests after India series)

"It wasn't an easy decision, with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel the time is right. I don't see it as goodbye, I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing," Kallis said in a statement.

Following Kallis' retirement, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will remain the only active players, who feature in the top-10 century scorers in the Test cricket. Tendulkar leads the list with 51 centuries and is followed by Kallis (44), Ponting (41), Dravid (36), Sunil Gavaskar (34), Brian Lara (34), Sangakkara (33), Steve Waugh (32), Jayawardene (31) and Matthew Hayden (30).
India vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara frustrate Proteas

India vs South Africa, 2nd Test: Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara frustrate Proteas

Durban:  Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara shared an unbeaten century partnership before bad light stopped play on the first day of the second and final Test against India at Kingsmead on Thursday.

(Scorecard | Highlights | Day 1 in pics | Day 1 stats)

India were 181 for one when the day's play was brought to a premature end eight overs after tea.

Vijay (91 not out) and Pujara (58 not out) put on 140 for the second wicket as South Africa's bowlers toiled on an unresponsive pitch after Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss.

It was an inauspicious opening day for world champions South Africa after captain Graeme Smith said the team were determined to put in a good performance to mark star all-rounder Jacques Kallis' last Test. (Also read: Standing ovation for Kallis | In pics)

Kallis, 38, announced on Wednesday that he would retire from Test cricket after the match, although he will continue to play one-day cricket in an effort to be selected for the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Kallis led the South African team on to the field at the start of play to the applause of his team-mates, spectators and umpires Steve Davis and Rod Tucker.

Morne Morkel claimed South Africa's only wicket when he had Shikhar Dhawan caught at third slip off the first ball after the mid-morning drinks break. Dhawan made 29 in an opening stand of 41 with Vijay.

Morkel suffered a sprained right ankle while fielding on the third day of the drawn first Test in Johannesburg last Friday. It was initially expected he would be put of action for between seven and ten days but he passed a fitness test on Thursday morning after intensive treatment.

It was a good toss for India to win, with Dhoni noting that the pitch looked dry and good for batting.

It also gave India's fast bowlers a chance to recover further from their exertions in Johannesburg, where India bowled 136 overs in the last innings without being able to clinch victory.

Dhawan and Vijay both looked confident at the start of the innings and the left-handed Dhawan struck four boundaries before edging a drive to Alviro Petersen at third slip.

Vijay batted patiently to notch a half-century off 102 balls, a statistic made notable by the fact that his fifty included 11 boundaries. By the close he had faced 201 balls and added another six fours.

Pujara followed up his 153 in the second innings in Johannesburg with another impressive innings, reinforcing his reputation as the successor to Rahul Dravid in playing the anchor batting role for his team.

He reached his fifty shortly before tea off 97 balls with seven fours. He faced another 20 deliveries before the close without adding to his tally of boundaries.

The match started in bright sunshine but by tea the ground had clouded over and the floodlights were on.

The umpires had several discussions about the light before taking the players off just over half an hour after the interval.

The tall Morkel looked the most dangerous of the South African bowlers, although the pitch did not offer any significant pace and bounce.

Vernon Philander had a probing second spell during which sent down four successive maiden overs, while Dale Steyn had the composed Vijay ducking with some short-pitched bowling from around the wicket just before play was halted.

India made one change, with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja replacing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

S
As it happened! India vs South Africa 2nd Test, Day 1

As it happened! India vs South Africa 2nd Test, Day 1

Welcome to the coverage of Day 1 in the 1st Test match between India and South Africa from the Kingsmead stadium in Durban. SCORECARD | 1st Test Analysis

Team India scored 181 runs at the loss of just one wicket against South Africa by the end of Day 1. It's been an excellent start to the Boxing day Test for India. Right from the toss, pretty much everything went right for Dhoni's men. They got first use of a flat wicket. The openers saw off the threat of the new ball and thereafter Vijay and Pujara hardly put a foot wrong. For South Africa, the only respite came in the form of bad light in the last session. That has eaten into some valuable time in the game. Tomorrow promises to be another interesting day.

FINAL UPDATE: It has OFFICIALLY been confirmed now. The play on Day 1 has been CALLED OFF due to BAD LIGHT. Play will BEGIN at 9:30 AM(local) tomorrow to make up for the LOST TIME!!

BAD NEWS: We are getting information that it is only a MATTER OF TIME before play will be officially CALLED OFF for the day. Stay tuned for more UPDATES!!

BAD LIGHT: The play has been STOPPED due to bad light at the Kingsmead stadium. The umpires asked Smith if he was going to continue with his SEAMERS. The South African skipper answered in the AFFIRMATIVE and that was that. South Africa will be only too HAPPY to go out and have gone in very quickly. 9.3 is the READING on the light meter. It looks unlikely that the NATURAL LIGHT will improve any time soon. We'll just have to wait around. The umpires are HANGING AROUND in the ground.

55.3 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay walks down the wicket again and hoicks it over midwicket for a boundary.

55.1 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay shimmies down the track and whips it through midwicket for a boundary.

53.4 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay presents the full face of his bat and hammers it through cover for a boundary.

Tea: Another session that's belonged to the Indians. 87 runs were scored in the 27 overs that were bowled. They were going at a really good pace until it started to get overcast and the ball started to REVERSE. Both Vijay and Pujara showed a lot of APPLICATION, respected the good deliveries and weren't afraid at going after the bad deliveries. The partnership is now worth 122 runs and both look ever so COMFORTABLE at the crease. The umpires seemed to be very concerned with the LIGHTS and it remains to be seen whether we'd get a FULL SESSION after Tea or not.

With Cheteshwar Pujara(55) and Murali Vijay(76) at the crease, Team India are currently at 163/1 after 53 overs.

51.6 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara sends it through extra cover for a boundary and brings up his 4th TEST FIFTY. That's his 2nd FIFTY+ SCORE against South Africa!!

45.5 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara swivels across and flicks it through midwicket for a boundary. Pujara gets to 48 now!!

With Cheteshwar Pujara(44) and Murali Vijay(71) at the crease, Team India are currently at 147/1 after 44 overs.

42.3 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay flays the cut shot over the cover fielder for a boundary.

42.2 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay makes good use of the width and thumps it through covers for a boundary.

Drinks: It's been a GOOD 1st HOUR for India after lunch. The PARTNERSHIP between these two has raced away to 95. India would be HOPING for them to go on and SCORE BIG. With the likes of Kohli, Rohit, Rahane and Dhoni to come, things are looking BRIGHT. Got to give it to the South African bowlers though, they've run in HARD and asked questions time and again. They would be ITCHING for a wicket or two.

38.6 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara swivels across and gets it towards fine leg for a boundary.

36.5 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay frees his arms and sends it over the slip cordon for a boundary.

33.4 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay slashes hard to get it over backward point for a boundary and brings up his 4th TEST FIFTY. Vijay has done his HOMEWORK!!

With Cheteshwar Pujara(34) and Murali Vijay(49) at the crease, Team India are currently at 115/1 after 33 overs.

32.6 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay leans into the drive and sends it past point for a boundary. Vijay reaches to 49 now!!

30.6 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara reaches out for it and drives it through mid-on for a boundary.

29.5 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay goes on the backfoot and drills it through covers for another boundary. BACK-TO-BACK boundaries for Vijay!!

29.4 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay gets on the frontfoot and thumps it straight down the ground for a boundary. That was PURE TIMING from Vijay!!

28.4 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara goes back in the crease and caresses it through midwicket for a boundary.

26.2 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara goes on the backfoot and flicks it towards square leg for a boundary.

And, we're back. Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay are out in the middle for India while Dale Steyn will start the proceedings for South Africa after lunch.

LUNCH: Team India LOST one wicket in the first session of play on Day 1. The South African bowlers were barely THREATENING in the early spell. But, Morne Morkel kept the Indian batsmen on their toes and also picked up a CRUCIAL WICKET. Murali Vijay is looking good for India with Cheteshwar Pujara getting an EYE in. It has been a GOOD SESSION for India. There is NOTHING ALARMING in the pitch and South Africa could be in for a LONG DAY if the wicket continues to play as it has.

25.4 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay picks the length early and sends it through midwicket for a boundary. Vijay is looking SOLID for India!!

23.2 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay gets on the frontfoot and thumps it through cover for a boundary.

FOUR RUNS off the over!!

21.1 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay hangs back and clips it through midwicket for a boundary. EXQUISITE SHOT from Vijay!!

First sign of spin, Robin Peterson comes into the attack for South Africa.

20.5 overs: FOUR!! Cheteshwar Pujara shuffles across and flicks it towards square leg for a boundary.

Ever since the INTRODUCTION of Morne Morkel into the attack, India have scored 17/1 in 10 overs. The runs have DRIED UP to a trickle for India. EXCELLENT BOWLING from South Africa and a WICKET seems just around the corner!!

15.2 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay hangs back and flicks it through square leg for a boundary.

Jacques Kallis comes into the attack for South Africa.

With Cheteshwar Pujara(2) and Murali Vijay(11) at the crease, Team India are currently at 43/1 after 15 overs.



Cheteshwar Pujara comes to the crease for India.

13.1 overs: That's OUT!! Morne Morkel has got Shikhar Dhawan out caught at third slip. Dhawan pokes at the wide delivery and gets a thick edge through to Alviro Petersen at third slip. Shikhar Dhawan departs after scoring 29 runs off 49 balls with four boundaries. EARLY BLOW for India!!

9.3 overs: FOUR!! Shikhar Dhawan leans into the drive and sends it through cover for a boundary. That was BEAUTIFULLY TIMED from Dhawan!!

Morne Morkel comes into the attack for South Africa.

6.5 overs: FOUR!! Murali Viojay reaches out and thumps it through extra cover for a boundary.

6.1 overs: FOUR!! Shikhar Dhawan picks the length early and cracks it through cover for a boundary.

With Shikhar Dhawan(17) and Murali Vijay(6) at the crease, Team India are currently at 23/0 after five overs.

3.5 overs: FOUR!! Shikhar Dhawan waits for it and clips it square of the wicket for a boundary. POOR LINE from Philander there!!

2.4 overs: FOUR!! Murali Vijay gets on the frontfoot and caresses it through mid-off for a boundary.

FIVE RUNS off it!!

Vernon Philander will bowl from the other end for South Africa.

FIVE RUNS off the over!!

0.2 overs: FOUR!! Shikhar Dhawan leans forward and creams the drive past mid-off for the first boundary in the innings. CRACKING SHOT by Dhawan!!

Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay are out in the middle for India while Dale Steyn will open the attack for South Africa.

Team News: There is only ONE CHANGE for both the teams. India have brought Ravindra Jadeja while South Africa have included Robin Peterson in their squad. Both the teams are playing a LEFT-ARM SPINNER.

Toss: Team India have won the toss and elected to bat first against South Africa.

Pitch Report: "The pitch has not been watered too much because of the rain expeted. There is a good covering of grass but it is dry. There is not much moisture and the wicket itself is very hard. It will quicken as the match goes on. There are some cracks on the pitch. It could open up if the sun is out," says Shaun Pollock.

Teams(from):

South Africa: Alviro Petersen, Graeme Smith(c), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), Faf du Plessis, Jean-Paul Duminy, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni(c/wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami
Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin to be honoured at BCCI Awards ceremony

Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin to be honoured at BCCI Awards ceremony

The Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) will honour country's best performers in cricket at their seventh annual awards ceremony to be held on Saturday in Mumbai.

India's best performers in senior and junior-level cricket, at the international and domestic level, in the twelve months from 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2013, will be honoured for their achievements, at the function.

Ravichandran Ashwin will be the recipient of the Polly Umrigar Award, for being India's best international cricketer of 2012-13. He took 43 wickets, inclusive of four 5WI and one 10WM, and scored 263 runs, inclusive of two fifties, from eight Tests. He also took 24 wickets from 18 ODIs, and three wickets from four T20 Internationals.

The Polly Umrigar Award comprises a trophy and a cheque for Rs. 5 lakhs. The award has been won in previous years by Sachin Tendulkar (2006-07 and 2009-10), Virender Sehwag (2007-08), Gautam Gambhir (2008-09), Rahul Dravid (2010-11) and Virat Kohli (2011-12).

Abhishek Nayar will receive the Lala Amarnath Award, for being the best all-rounder in the 2012-13 edition of the Ranji Trophy. He scored 966 runs at 96.6, inclusive of three centuries and eight fifties, and 19 wickets at 22.8, inclusive of one 5WI, from eleven matches, in the tournament. The award comprises a trophy and a cheque for Rs. 2.5 lakhs.

The Mumbai Cricket Association, which Nayar represents, will collect the trophy for the Best Overall Performance in the 2012-13 season. The various teams representing the MCA won the Ranji Trophy, the Under-25 C.K. Nayudu Trophy, the Under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy, the Women's Under-19 Inter-State tournament, and finished runners-up in the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy.

The achievers of 2012-13 apart, Rohit Sharma will receive the Dilip Sardesai Award, for being India's best cricketer in the recent Test series against the West Indies. He scored hundreds in both Tests, and accumulated an aggregate of 288 runs. The award comprises a trophy and a cheque for Rs. 5 lakhs.

India's first World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev, will be honoured with the Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements in the sport.

A highlight of the function will be the felicitation of three former stalwarts - R.G. (Bapu) Nadkarni, Farokh Engineer and Late Eknath Solkar - for their contribution to Indian cricket. They will receive a memento and a cheque for Rs. 15 lakhs each.
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Brother Peter wants Gary Kirsten to work as South Africa's full-time coach

Brother Peter wants Gary Kirsten to work as South Africa's full-time coach

Later, he also helped his own South African team, climb the top of the test rankings. But his decision this April to step down to stay away from the rigors of international travel hasn't gone down too well with all in this country. We were surprised to find, joining the chorus was his brother Peter Kirsten as well, who also played for the Proteus team with distinction.

"Gary is very much respected in South African cricket circles. But I was disappointed when he relinquished the coaching job. I would have liked to have seen him till the 2015 World Cup," he said suggesting Gary had left the team mid way with the one day set up still not up to the mark, still carrying the unceremonious tag of 'choking' in big tournaments.

Gary was seen spending a couple of days with the South African team before the Wanderers Test, helping them prepare against an Indian side, whom he had helped mould into World Champions. But Peter thinks that's far from enough. Gary is contracted with Cricket South Africa to spend about 20 days a year with the side, on a consultancy basis.

"Gary is on a part time basis. It's a very controversial sort of situation. Personally I would want to see him work full time," brother Peter says candidly.

Peter conversely is full praise for Indian coach Duncan Fletcher who has interestingly been drafted in by the BCCI on Gary's recommendation. "Fletcher is more of a full time guy and you can see the work he has done with the batsmen. Also, the lines that bowlers were able to change in Wanderers and the length is very much a Fletcher thing," he said.

Gary has worked under Duncan Fletcher in the past while current coach Richard Domingo has worked as an understudy to Gary. By the end of the two test series we would know if the master works or the pupil. Either way Gary's elder brother, Peter's grudge would remain unattended

Jacques Kallis to retire from Test cricket after Durban match

Jacques Kallis to retire from Test cricket after Durban match


"It wasn't an easy decision to come to, especially with Australia around the corner and the success this team is enjoying, but I feel that I have made my contribution in this format."

Kallis made his Test debut as a young and humble 20 year-old, and finishes his Test career as one of the greatest cricketers to have played the game. His statistics speak volumes for the illustrious career - 13,174 runs, 292 wickets and 199 catches.

"The last two years specifically have been a memorable journey with an exceptional group of cricketers," Kallis said. "I am fortunate enough to have ended my Test career amongst a group of talented cricketers but more importantly, friends whom I will cherish for years to come.

"I don't see it as goodbye because I still have a lot of hunger to push South Africa to that World Cup in 2015 if I am fit and performing.

MS Dhoni, Team India living out of a suitcase

MS Dhoni, Team India living out of a suitcase

Living out of a suitcase is well documented by George Clooney in the film 'Up in the air'. The Indian cricket team is living almost a similar existence.

The captain, for one, who plays cricket round the year. Apart from leading India in all forms of cricket, he also captains his IPL franchise and plays the Champions league. His days of rest between tours at home in Ranchi, when not shooting commercials are usually in single digits. 

When a member of Indian media contingent wished him Merry Christmas! Dhoni asked back what's the similarity between Christmas, Diwali and Holi do you think? To which an old pro replied, "It's all the same if you are an Indian cricketer. Because be it any festival it goes away while you are on tour." The captain smiled back saying that's the answer he was looking for. He may have said it without a minimum of fuss but living away from family and friends is an occupational hazard that has got the better of many a sportsman.

For those who are certainties in the squad may still get to spend the New year's eve with family members. The Indian team returns back home after this tour on 31st mid night and some are planning to call immediate family in Mumbai to spend New Year together.

For those fighting for spots and out of the playing eleven here, it's back to the grind of domestic cricket. "How about Cape Town for New Year since you are in South Africa," I asked a player. "Ranji Trophy khelna hai 2nd ko. No such luck," he would say.



Preview: SA vs Ind, 2nd Test at Durban

Preview: SA vs Ind, 2nd Test at Durban


I
f Morkel sits out, Abbott will come in nevertheless and Tahir might still be included in the attack which will bear a dishevelled look, enough to dent South Africa's confidence ahead of this tour's climax.

Teams (from):

South Africa: Graeme Smith (c), AB de Villiers (wk), Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Imran Tahir, Jacques Kallis, Rory Kleinveldt, Morne Morkel, Alviro Petersen, Robin Peterson, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Thami Tsolekile (wk), Kyle Abbott.

India: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk)
Monday, 23 December 2013
Nearly 10,000 Kolkata fans get photo clicked with FIFA Trophy, create world rcord

Nearly 10,000 Kolkata fans get photo clicked with FIFA Trophy, create world rcord

When it comes to football fans' frenzy in India just no one can match Kolkatans.

Over 50,000 people, on a working day, were seen in a long queue with 15,000 persons managing to see the World Cup Trophy and among them 10,000 fans got their individual photo clicked with the Trophy, and then, with the legendary Brazilan footballer Carlos Alberto Torres.

And that is a world record in itself, confirmed FIFA officials.

The buzz was there since the Trophy had arrived on Sunday morning and since morning fans started trickling in at the Police Grounds near Eden Gardens.

People of all age including children and women turned up in large numbers to see one glimpse of the Trophy.

"This is amazing. Just cant believe my good luck that I got to see the Trophy and get photo clicked with it," said Paras Mukherjee.


SA vs Ind: Proteas camp edgy the day after Wanderers Test

SA vs Ind: Proteas camp edgy the day after Wanderers Test



When it comes to football fans' frenzy in India just no one can match Kolkatans.

Over 50,000 people, on a working day, were seen in a long queue with 15,000 persons managing to see the World Cup Trophy and among them 10,000 fans got their individual photo clicked with the Trophy, and then, with the legendary Brazilan footballer Carlos Alberto Torres.

And that is a world record in itself, confirmed FIFA officials.

The buzz was there since the Trophy had arrived on Sunday morning and since morning fans started trickling in at the Police Grounds near Eden Gardens.

People of all age including children and women turned up in large numbers to see one glimpse of the Trophy.

"This is amazing. Just cant believe my good luck that I got to see the Trophy and get photo clicked with it," said Paras Mukherjee.



India vs South Africa: One extra over, too much extra concern for skipper M S Dhoni

India vs South Africa: One extra over, too much extra concern for skipper M S Dhoni

Faf Du Plessis almost missed this match if not for South African skipper Graeme Smith, owing to a combination of South Africa's unique 'transformation' programme - which seeks equal rights for Blacks in the team; and largely owing to his own poor form. Yet the newly-married cricketer, with his better-half cheering from the stands, proved to be the main protagonist in a dial-a-twist Test match.

The first Test though, ironically, ended in a farce with the fans booing their own players. Dale Steyn hit a six off the final ball and ignored other scoring possibilities with non-striker Vernon Philander reiterating South African team's policy. On a day when both teams had the options of winning and losing, they took a third option that a Test match offers. Tactics will be re-designed, there will be different perceptions towards moral victory and defeat but it draws forward to a tantalizingly interesting series finale next week in Durban.

The Johannesburg Test though, left a lot of questions unanswered. Why did the hosts abandon the chase, needing 16 from 3 overs with 3 wickets to spare, including injured Morne Morkel ready to bat if needed? But the bigger question will be for MS Dhoni? Why did he keep Mohammaed Shami away from attack for a long, long time ? Why weren't the negative tactics put in place early enough to put away the fear of losing this Test? And most importantly, how did our Captain Charismatic allow India to bowl that one extra over?

Time and over-rate management is an integral part of captaincy, and it was baffling to see India bowling 76 overs before the final session, thus forced to bowled the mandatory 15 overs in the final session and ending up bowling 91 overs - one extra than required for the day. All this when AB de Villiers and Du Plessis were piling on the runs and putting india in grave danger with their 200+ run partnership. That extra over, in the end, translated as the root cause for concern to the Indian team during the final stages, with the target never out of reach for South Africa.

So what does an extra over in a Test mean? Skippers try to squeeze an extra over before lunch, tea or close of play as an attacking option to hunt down a wicket. Or sometimes, skipper try risking taking a Level 1 offence for slow over rate, get fined to save a Test match for his side. A batsman usually tie his shoe laces or check out a new pair of glove, fake an injury to save himself from facing another over in crunch situations. An over means a lot to a Test match, be it a batsman or a bowler, or a skipper but rarely has an extra over bowled to make a Test match interesting to the spectators, and to hurt its own side.

Perhaps, South Africa's stunning approach caught Dhoni unawares, that a Test he woke up to win and went to bed relieved not to lose. After all it was one of those Test match. And it was one extra over that made it interesting.


Sunday, 22 December 2013
Gambhir vs DDCA: Delhi skipper at centre of selection storm

Gambhir vs DDCA: Delhi skipper at centre of selection storm



The ongoing war between the Delhi Ranji Trophy skipper Gautam Gambhir and DDCA top brass has so far been won by the senior players.

"Situation is delicate right now, we want to support the team instead of opposing the senior players. If we don't do that, then they will play the match with disinterest," admitted Chairman of the Senior Selection Committee Chetan Chauhan in an interview.

Delhi will play against Punjab at the Roshanara Club ground tomorrow. Gambhir has again refused to play at the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium and also included a Haryana player in pacer Navdeep Saini. Both issues have put him and other senior players like Virender Sehwag against the powerful DDCA Sports Committee and Executive.

"As per the the point position, team management which includes captain, coach and manager, wanted to play one more match at the Roshanara which they think is a result-oriented wicket. We have 19 points right now and they feel that they will get 6 more vs Punjab so DDCA management agreed. But, we will have the next match at Kolta for sure," said Chauhan.

He also said that "Gambhir trusts Saini a lot and that is why he wants to play him in the XI." Former India captain Bishen Singh Bedi has criticised Gambhir's approach.

Real test is to sustain success

Real test is to sustain success


Reverse swing is a fascinating art in fast bowling, which the bowler needs to work on for hours at the nets before he can produce the magic in a match.

However, when it comes to critics who speak or write on cricket, they churn out some 'reverse swing' of their own, quickly forgetting how much they had rubbished the Indian side before the team left the shores.

Having dominated proceedings with bat and ball in Johannesburg, the Indians are on a high. To say that the scent of an Indian victory is in the air would not be premature, and captain M.S. Dhoni would be happy with the way things have panned out over the last four days.

To be sure, one comment from critics which stands out like a sore thumb is that "this is the real test" for the young Indian side. Come on, any cricket, whether at home or away, is real and winning counts.

If winning only on foreign soil is "the real test" then visiting teams from Australia and West Indies, which lost in India earlier in 2013, were complete failures. To not do well abroad consistently is definitely a sign of weakness, but winning or losing is part and parcel of the game. When India failed to get a grip on the ODI series in South Africa, excuses were already being trotted out as to how they had had little time to prepare.

There are many positives which can already be seen from the first Test and it has a lot to do with the disciplined bowling effort from the pacemen.

Watching Zaheer Khan bowl with zing and verve is indeed exciting as the old warhorse has worked hard on his fitness. There was never much doubt about his bowling skills, especially when he served a reminder of his class in the early part of the Ranji season.

Bowling in South Africa with the red Kookaburra ball is something which Zaheer has done extremely well, shouldering the responsibility of being the 'guru' for Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami with aplomb.

If one takes a look at the wicket, it is not one of those typical nasty Wanderers tracks we have seen in the past. There is something in it for the fast bowlers to have a go at the batsmen, and the support Zaheer has got from Ishant and Shami has been good. A lot of doubt had been expressed over the ability of the Indian batsmen to cope with the conditions and how, in the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, there would be pressure on India. I am sure all those who have watched the four days of action will agree the Indian batting has been delightful, with Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara catching the eye.

This has been Virat's year for many reasons. After the highs of his ODI batting displays in 2013, he carved out a beautiful century in the first innings and was unlucky to miss out in the second innings in Jo'burg.

Batting in the longer version of the game calls for adjustments in technique and approach. Virat showed that batting at No.4 is something he is enjoying, though comparisons with Sachin Tendulkar should be desisted from. Over the decades, in cricket, it has become fashionable to compare batting styles of masters from different eras. As Sachin Tendulkar played his 199th and 200th Tests in Kolkata and Mumbai, Don Bradman's famous observation - Sachin's batting reminded him of his own style - was reproduced many times over.

Bradman is gone and Sachin has retired, but analysts will never stop comparing. The other day, when 'White Lightning' Allan Donald remarked that seeing Virat bat reminded him of Sachin, it was pretty surprising. Donald has bowled many times to Sachin and knows what it was like to test the batsman with sheer pace and bounce.

Sachin is Sachin and Virat is Virat, so let's avoid these comparisons. Similarly, on Friday, when Pujara slammed a magnificent hundred, people were ready to compare him with Rahul Dravid.

I do not know whether this is like a hangover, where fans and critics are unable to get Sachin, Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly out of their heads. The reality now is that the current Indian side is in the process of rebuilding. To judge the side on the basis of one match or one series is wrong.

The bowlers have rediscovered the zing and swing and the batsmen are putting their heads down and playing well. Building a team for the future is now the mantra and in that direction, skipper Dhoni is playing a crucial role.

A lot of cricket for Team India in 2014 will be away from home. So to say that it will be the "real test" is not apt. But yes, while winning at home is taken as something for granted, winning abroad is special.


Young India pull off 'mission impossible' against South Africa

Young India pull off 'mission impossible' against South Africa



It's a little too hard to determine the decisive moment in the sporting history of a nation, especially when it's still evolving despite promising a glorious future. 1st Test - as it happened! | Kohli's Masterclass

Team India is going through a similar phase at the moment. The MS Dhoni brigade, after their triumphs earlier this year, undoubtedly looked formidable but to become invincible they needed to prove their mettle overseas in hostile conditions.

The opportunity was not far away after BCCI sanctioned India's tour of South Africa. Up against the speeding South Africans, India needed to win on the bouncy wickets so as to prove their dominance in the sport.

But, as majority of cricket pundits expected, the world champions came crashing down in the three-match ODI series against the Proteas. The bowlers were already struggling and then Dhoni found his 'rock star' batsmen ducking for cover as well. It was humiliation beyond imagination for the millions of fans back home.

After failing the first test miserably, Dhoni & co. were staring at the Test series against the same enemy. And again the predictions for India's sordid saga started doing the rounds. But, no one expected what Dhoni's men had planned for the 1st Test, not even their counterparts.

Dhoni called the bluff by choosing to bat first despite India's fragility and the reputation of Wanderers' track. The Proteas, counting on India's achilles heel against pace and bounce, decided to play three front-line seamers.

With Shikhar Dhawan falling for a hook shot and Murali Vijay getting the usual knick behind the stumps, it seemed that the skeletons were crawling back from the closet for India. But, India's number 3 and 4 - Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli - gave a glimpse of what the new and rising India is capable of.

Kohli slammed a brilliant hundred, making up for Pujara's dismissal, alongside Ajinkya Rahane to guide India to 280 runs - a score that once looked like a distant dream.

It was a perfect amalgamation of patience, technique and courage that was prominent in the innings of almost all the Indian batsmen. The balls outside the off-stump were being left alone while the Indian batsmen didn't shy away from cashing in on the bad ones.

It was a psychological battle that was won by the new-look Indian outfit against the number 1 Test team in the sport. And, that's what made the difference.

For instance, Dhoni might have struggled to score runs but by taking guard at least one foot ahead of the crease and that too well outside the off-stump, showed the grit of the young Indian brigade to pull off the impossible.

The tough fight put up by the Indian batsmen seems to have inspired the struggling bowlers, who - under the garb of veteran bowler Zaheer Khan - came out all guns blazing against the Proteas.
1st Test: Last-gasp India snatch draw against South Africa

1st Test: Last-gasp India snatch draw against South Africa




India picked up Petersen early on and then got Kallis - they were a bit fortunate it must be said, for the great man got a big inside edge onto the pads. Then it was the AB-Faf show, they put on a 205-run stand to put their side on course for a world record chase. They didn't put a foot wrong and when they were going, it looked like South Africa would cruise to victory. What would be this Test, if not for a twist when you least expected it, Dhoni threw the ball to Ishant and he dismissed AB. Duminy came and went as the Indians sensed an opening. Philander joined the unflappable du Plessis and toagether they took the target to 16 short of an unbelievable win. Then came the moment - Rahane ran out du Plessis and the Test turned again. Once du Plessis was dismissed, Philander and Steyn decided to play for a draw which didn't please the crowd who found big Vern's tactis baffling. They booed him as well, but the game was done when South African needed 16 off the final over. Unlike the pattern that has followed this match, the final over turned out to be a damp squib as Shami kept bowling short and Steyn was happy to leave. At one point, I could hear someone utter an expletive into the stump microphone. These were the words, but I have to asterisk the expletive part: 'Too many ******* run-outs!' I'm assuming it came from Steyn, but not too sure. Anyway, Steyn took out all his anger by slamming the last ball over the fence, to bring to an end one of the all-time great Test matches in history to a rousing close.

What an ENDING to one of the GREAT TEST MATCHES in history. An APT ending it must be said, for this Test has swung to and fro like a MAD PENDULUM!!
135.6 overs: SIX!! Dale Steyn takes it on the full and smashes it over the long-off fence for the maximum. What a way to FINISH THE MATCH!!

Mohammed Shami will bowl the FINAL OVER of this NERVE WREAKING Test match. South Africa require another 16 runs off 1 over with 3 wickets remaining. Will it be a DRAW or the Proteas are gonna GO FOR TH KILL!!
Dale Steyn comes to the crease for South Africa.

This has got to be ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING TEST MATCH!!

The crowd and South African dressing room is ABSOLUTELY STUNNED here!!

132.5 overs: OUT!! Faf du Plessis has been run-out by Ajinkya Rahane in a bid to sneak a single. Du Plessis pushes it towards mid-off and sets off for a quick single but Rahane rushes quickly and fires in a direct hit to catch Du Plessis short at the crease. Faf du plessis departs after scoring 134 runs off 309 balls with 15 boundaries.
132.3 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis hangs back and pummels it through midwicket for a boundary. CRUCIAL RUNS for Proteas!!
South Africa require another 20 runs off 4 overs with 4 wickets remaining. Proteas are INCHES AWAY here!!
131.2 overs: FOUR!! Vernon Philander rocks back and clouts the pull towards deep midwicket for a boundary. The crowd goes BERSERK at Wanderers!!
South Africa require another 28 runs off 5 overs with 4 wickets remaining.
THREE RUNS off the over!!
Zaheer Khan comes back into the attack for India. It's time for ZAK-ATTACK!!
129.4 overs: FOUR!! Vernon Philander picks the length early and caresses it through extra cover for a boundary. SUPERB SHOT from Philander!!
"One more to get here lads, come on Shami," Virat Kohli shouts as he MOTIVATES his teammates!!
South Africa require another 40 runs off 8 overs with 4 wickets remaining. Have South Africa ABANDONED the thought of going for a win?
With Faf du Plessis(125) and Vernon Philander(9) at crease, South Africa are currently at 418/6 after 128 overs.
126.6 overs: FOUR!! Vernon Philander stays back and cuts it through backward point for a boundary. TOO WIDE from Shami there!!
South Africa require another 47 runs off 9 overs with 4 wickets remaining. Can Team India SNATCH A WIN here!!
Vernon Philander comes to the crease for South Africa.

This is turning out to be a CRACKER OF A TEST MATCH!!

124.4 overs: OUT!! Mohammed Shami has bowled JP Duminy on a pitched up delivery. Duminy was looking to drive but gets an inside edge back onto the stumps. JP Duminy departs after scoring five runs off nine balls with a boundary.
124.1 overs: FOUR!! JP Duminy leans forward and thumps it straight down the ground for a boundary.
JP Duminy comes to the crease for South Africa.

Ishant Sharma gets the BREAKTHROUGH. Is there a TWIST IN THE TALE!!

123.1 overs: That's OUT!! Ishant Sharma has bowled AB de VIlliers on a good length delivery. De Villiers was looking to cut it but gets an inside edge back onto the stumps. AB de Villiers departs after scoring 103 off 168 balls with 12 boundaries.
121.5 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis gets a big stride forward and hoicks it over midwicket for a boundary.
With Faf du Plessis(116) and AB de Villiers(100) at crease, South Africa are currently at 392/4 after 121 overs.
Graeme Smith alongside the South African dressing room gives him a STANDING OVATION!!

120.3 overs: AB de Villiers works it for a single and brings up his 18th TEST HUNDRED. That's his 3rd AGAINST INDIA!!
Okay, all of a sudden, this Test match has turned into a ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL with MS Dhoni SPREADING THE FIELD. There's NO SLIP in place now. The Proteas will also GO FOR THE KILL. Get ready for some ACTION here!!
The match is SLIPPING AWAY from India with South Africa requiring 74 runs off 16 overs!!
Stat Update: Faf du Plessis did at the Adelaide Oval last year, to save the game and now he is doing it again - Faf is turning out to be the 4th innings hero for his side. What an innings this - displaying all the qualities; patience, determination, application and a solid technique allied to all those. If he can carry his side over the line, this will be considered as one of the all-time great innings in Test cricket.
114.3 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis waits for it and flicks it towards fine leg for a boundary.
Du Plessis takes a leap and PUNCHES THE AIR. It's potentially a MATCH-WINNING INNINGS for Proteas!!

112.3 overs: Faf du Plessis works it towards the on side for three runs and brings up his HUNDRED. The crowd ERUPTS IN JOY!!
With Faf du Plessis(98) and AB de Villiers(85) at crease, South Africa are currently at 354/4 after 112 overs.
110.4 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis goes on the backfoot and drills it through extra cover for a boundary.
108.6 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers gets on the frontfoot and caresses it through covers for another boundary.
108.3 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers rocks back and cuts it past backward point for a boundary.
TWO RUNS off it!!

Zaheer Khan will bowl from the other end for India.

THREE RUNS off the over!!

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers are out in the middle while Virat Kohli will start the proceedings for India in the final session.

And, we're back. The FINAL SESSION of the Johannesburg Test is upon us. The game is still DELICATELY POISED. Who will come up on top? FASTEN your seatbelts and hop on the ride, let us find out.
TEA: Faf du Plessis and AB de Villers, drawing from their Adelaide experience, continue to stave off the Indian attack. When Jacques Kallis was morified to be adjudged lbw, despite getting an inside edge, India had their noses ahead. But with this blossoming partnership, South Africa have snatched the advantage from India. The positive AB has been the ideal foil for the circumspect Faf. With this partnership going from strength to strength, South Africa have a chance to draw first blood in this curtailed Test series. Can the Indian bowlers pick themselves up in the final session?

With Faf du Plessis(88) and AB de Villiers(72) at crease, South Africa are currently at 331/4 after 105 overs.

ONE RUN off the over!!

Ravichandran Ashwin will bowl the FINAL OVER before TEA!!
103.2 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis stands tall and smashes it towards deep midwicket for a boundary.
100.5 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis gets on the frontfoot and drills it through cover for a boundary.
97.6 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis picks the length early and flicks it towards backward square leg for another boundary. EASY PICKINGS for Du Plessis!!
97.3 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis shuffles across and flays the leg glance for a boundary.

96.1 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis takes it on the full and slams it back past the bowler for a boundary.
With Faf du Plessis(65) and AB de Villiers(63) at crease, South Africa are currently at 298/4 after 95 overs.

93.6 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers gets an inside edge towards the fine leg fence for a boundary. FRUSTRATION for Zak!!
93.2 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis was looking to defend but gets an outside edge past second slip for a boundary.
90.2 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis pushes at it and gets an outside edge towards third man for a boundary. Nothing seems to be WORKING OUT for India!!
87.5 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers gets into the position and flicks it through midwicket for a boundary. AB is LOOKING SOLID here!!

87.4 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers pulls it towards fine leg for a boundary and brings up his 34th TEST FIFTY. That's his 2nd AGAINST INDIA!!
86.4 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers was looking to defend but gets an outside edge past third slip for another boundary. AB was LUCKY there!!

86.3 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers leans forward and flicks it through midwicket for a boundary.
SIX OVERS have been bowled since the new ball was taken and still no sign of a BREAKTHROUGH. Not long before the FRUSTRATION will settle in for the Indians!!
With Faf du Plessis(51) and AB de Villiers(39) at crease, South Africa are currently at 260/4 after 83 overs.
81.6 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis clouts the pull shot for a boundary and brings up his 3rd TEST FIFTY. The batting promotion has WORKED for Du Plessis!!
80.4 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers leans forward and sends it through midwicket for another boundary. BACK-TO-BACK boundaries for AB!!
80.3 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers waits for it and flicks it towards square leg for a boundary. WRONG LINE from Zak there!!
Team India have taken the SECOND NEW BALL straightaway. Zaheer Khan comes into the attack for India.
75.2 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis gets on the frontfoot and caresses it through extra cover for a boundary.

Virat Kohli will bowl from the other end for India.

ONE RUN off the over!!

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers are out in the middle for South Africa while Ravichandran Ashwin will open the attack for India after lunch.

And, we're back. India will start to FEEL THE PRESSURE if they don't bag some EARLY wickets. The second NEW BALL will be available in 6 overs. That phase of play will be a CRUCIAL one.
LUNCH: A gripping session of Test cricket. Shami came out with all guns blazing and had Petersen in all sorts of strife, before dismissing him. Kallis survived a huge shout for lbw first ball and then settled down to play some brilliant drives. Together with du Plessis, he added quick runs and just as he was looking very good - he fell victim to a wrong decision from Rod Tucker. Kallis' wicket was the 300th for Zaheer and that opened an avenue for India. But both de Villiers and du Plessis have survived a testing period and taken their side to lunch without any further casualties. Ashwin has bowled well to de Villiers and the offie is a key bowler as India look to win the Wanderers Test. He will be expected to do a lot of bowling in the post-lunch session. All three results are possible as a famous Indian commentator would say.

With Faf du Plessis(42) and AB de Villiers(25) at crease, South Africa are currently at 236/4 after 74 overs.

73.4 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers picks the length early and flays the classic cover drive for a boundary.

67.1 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers gets a big stride forward and drills it through covers for a boundary.

63.6 overs: FOUR!! AB de Villiers leans forward and thumps it straight down the ground for a boundary.
With Faf du Plessis(32) and AB de Villiers(4) at crease, South Africa are currently at 205/4 after 62 overs.
Stat Update: Zaheer Khan has become only the FOURTH INDIAN after Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh to take 300 TEST WICKETS. Also, he's only the 2nd INDIAN PACER to do so. Apt that he got a BIG FISH like Kallis for his 300th wicket.

60.6 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis rocks back and flays the hook wide of square leg for a boundary.
AB de Villiers comes to the crease for South Africa.

That's the 300th TEST WICKET for Zaheer Khan!!

60.4 overs: OUT!! Zaheer Khan has got Jacques Kallis out lbw on a good length delivery. Kallis was looking to play across and the ball nips back in sharply to hit the pads. The replays confirm an inside edge onto the pads, the umpire has got it wrong there. Jacques Kallis departs after scoring 34 runs off 37 balls with six boundaries. UNLUCKY DISMISSAL for Proteas!!
58.2 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis gets into the drive and sends it past mid-on for a boundary.
57.3 overs: FOUR!! Faf du Plessis transfers weight on the frontfoot and whacks it through midwicket for a boundary.
56.5 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis reaches out for it and flays the cover drive for a boundary. KNUCKLE DELIVERY GOES WRONG for Zaheer!!
55.3 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis watches it carefully and drills it past mid-off for a boundary. FOURTH BOUNDARY for Kallis in his short stay!!
53.2 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis picks the length early and flays the drive square of the wicket for a boundary.
With Faf du Plessis(14) and Jacques Kallis(9) at crease, South Africa are currently at 156/3 after 53 overs.

52.3 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis leans forward and thumps it through covers for a boundary.

51.2 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis gets into the position and unfurls the exquisite cover drive for a boundary. That was TREAT TO WATCH!!
Jacques Kallis comes to the crease for South Africa.

Team India are just SEVEN WICKETS away from pulling off MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!!

49.2 overs: That's OUT!! Mohammed Shami has bowled Alviro Petersen on a pitched up delivery. Petersen was forced to play on as he gets an inside edge back onto the stumps. Alviro Petersen departs after scoring 76 runs off 162 balls with nine boundaries. BIG WICKET for India!!

ONE RUN off it!!

Ishant Sharma will bowl from the other end for India.

MAIDEN OVER by Shami!!
Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen are out in the middle for South Africa while Mohammed Shami will open the attack for India.

So the players walk out for the final day of the game. Steve Davis is ready.

DAY 4: South Africa managed to score 138 runs at the loss of two wickets against India. Its has been a riveting Test match, with each day surpassing the excitement of the previous one. After the tea break, Ajinkya Rahane showcased his agility to catch Smith short of his crease by a bullet direct throw. Sensing an opening, India's latest pace sensation, Mohammad Shami, caused the usually unflappable Hashim Amla to fall into a trap. After softening his prey with a slew of bouncers, Shami delivered a length ball that shooted low to rattle the stumps, thus making a mockery of Amla. Faf, coming in ahead of an exhausted Kallis, stayed put with Petersen to steer the hosts to stumps without any further damage. With Quinton de Kock, breathing down his neck, Alivo Petersen played a charming innings to keep South Africa in the hunt. South Africa's fortunes, albeit slim, are still alive. At this stage though, India have their noses ahead with the pitch playing tricks. A couple of balls have reared up alarmingly, while a few have kept low, sowing doubts into the minds of the batsmen.

DAY 3: Team India have scored 284 runs at the loss of two wickets by the end of Day 3 against South Africa. Many predicted a three day hammering for India in the hostile conditions in South Africa, particularly after their deer in the headlights approach in the ODI's. They have turned the tables dramatically to take ascendancy of this Wanderers Test. If the first innings belonged to Virat Kohli, who endorsed his succession into Tendulkar's shoes, the second essay was about Cheteshwar Pujara, revoking memories of the good old Dravid days. Not to mention, Kohli has has compiled a brilliant half-century and seems set for a twin Test ton. Bereft of Morkel, the South African attack lacked that penetration, although Philander, Kallis and Steym shone in patches. Whilst the first two session witnessed attritional cricket, Cheteshwar Pujara cranked up to the top gear, hitting 96 off the 175 runs that poured in the post-tea session. Besides serving up some long hops, Tahir commited the cardinal sin of dropping a dolly catch to reprive Kohlion 51. After the early departure of Dhawan, both Vijay and Pujara put their heads down to ground the bowlers into dust. Vijay's judgement of what to play and what to leave was immaculate, countering his soft dismissal- strangled down leg. What transpired next was India's gen-next flourishing AT(After Tendulkar). Earlier in the day, the Indian pacers, hunting in pairs, shred South Africa's lower order, garnering the last four wickets for only 31 runs. With the luxury of Dhoni and Kohli to follow, India will set their sights on a 400 plus lead.

DAY 2: South Africa managed to score 213 runs at the loss of six wickets against India by the end of Day 2 at the Wanderers. A total of 11 wickets were taken on an exciting day of cricket. At the end of Day 2, one would have to say we aren't quite sure which side is still ahead in this Test match. The final session though was won by India, led by a spirited effort from Ishant Sharma who triggered a collapse bagging two wickets in a phase which saw South Africa lose 5 wickets for just 16 runs. Zaheer Khan and Shami Ahmed bowled well before Veron Philander brought the hosts back with a gritty knock. He's on the verge of scoring his third Test match fifty and alongside Faf du Plessis, is looking very good to cut down on the deficit. A bit more luck and India could have had a few more wickets but they will have to blame themselves on a few occasions. The latest one being the dropped catch of du Plessis by Rohit Sharma at second slip in the closing stages of the day. With this 67-run ominous looking 7th wicket stand, South Africa could even gain a lead.

DAY 1: Team India managed to pull off the miracle by ending Day 1 at 255/5 after suffering early blows in the day. 255/5 is a score they would've taken with both hands and both feet if someone had offered them that score before the start of play today. Dhoni must be lauded for taking the brave step of opting to bat first after winning the toss, when he so easily could've gone for the easier option. The openers didn't last long but it was the Virat Kohli show which has placed India in this position. Kohli was just brilliant today - showing impeccable judgment of when to play and when to leave. His defence was solid and he had lots of time to play the ball. Trusted his instincts, played each ball on it's merit and put the bad ones away. The only blot in his innings today was the way he ran Pujara out, but that didn't affect his concentration as he got to a richly deserved ton. He was looking very good, when he fell to a tired looking stroke. From there, Dhoni and Rahane took over, with the latter being very impressive. After Kohli today, Rahane has caught the eye with his batting. Even Pujara deserves a mention, who showed great character and showcased his defensive technique until he was unfortunately run out by Kohli. South Africa were very disciplined, they stuck to a line and length and never gave anything loose - except for the backup bowlers who were taken to the cleaners by the Indians. Tahir was very disappointing today and he often allowed the pressure built up to be released with one loose ball per over. Steyn and Morkel were menacing, while Philander had a quiet day. Not their greatest day with the ball it must be said.

TOSS: India won the toss and elected to bat first against South Africa.

Teams(from):

South Africa: Graeme Smith(c), Alviro Peterson, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Imran Tahir

India: Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni(c/wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma