South Africa are 341 runs behind, SA 296 & 6/0, IND 643/6 dec
By my calculations South Africa will have to bat well into the final session of Day 5 if they are to save this match and stave off the inevitable ‘chokers’ headlines that will await them in the home press.
If they bat for five sessions and score 500 runs, you would still have to fancy India to get the 150 plus runs needed to level the series. Graeme Smith and co will need a backs-to-the-wall performance far superior to any past showings if they are to pull this one off.
India won the crucial battle in the passage of play shortly after Mishra was out. The score was then 384/6 (a lead of 88) and with Laxman bogged down and Dhoni new at the crease South Africa sensed a sniff of a chance to come back into the match.
Between them, Laxman (143 no) and Dhoni (132 no) battled through and saw off the pace threat, they then went on to pummel the South African bowling on their way to a potentially match winning unbeaten partnership of 259 runs.
One crucial point to take out of this Test match is the amount of dropped catches from the South Africans, they were not simple cathces by any means, but the sort of catches we have come to expect a talanted fielding side – like the South Africans are – to take more often than not.
It’s hard to see any way out for Smith’s men from here. With the state of the game and series as it is, the likelihood is that SA will only be looking to defend from here onwards, therefore MS Dhoni will know he can be as attacking as he wants and have men round the bat for the spinners.
The 1/2 with Totesport on an Indian win looks quite a good price to me, if you fancy South Africa to hold out for the Draw you can get 15/8 with Bet365. An unlikely South African victory is 66/1 with Sky Bet and Stan James, it could be 500/1 and I still wouldn’t touch it though.