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!!
In his 23 appearances for India overall this year, Mohd. Shami has gone wicketless only twice! Shows what a promising talent he is! #IndvsSA55.3 overs: FOUR!! Jacques Kallis watches it carefully and drills it past mid-off for a boundary. FOURTH BOUNDARY for Kallis in his short stay!!
Prateek Dhariwal (@prateekdhariwal) December 22, 2013
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.
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