South Africa are 266 for 9 at stumps.
An early set back for South Africa in the shape of an injury to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher didn’t appear at first to have any impact as Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla both scored centuries. Petersen came in for the injured Boucher and opened, with AB de Villiers taking over behind the stumps.
At 228/2 at tea the series was South Africa’s, surely it was impossible to lose the Test from here, then came a collapse which must again question South Africa’s temperament when all the expectations are on their collective shoulders.
During a mad spell of 38 for 7 after tea, Harbhajan Singh turned the game on it’s head with 3 wickets in 8 balls. After the fall of Kallis, South Africa’s weak spot was exploited by Harbhajan, next he got rid of the struggling Ashwell Prince for just 1, and then got rid of JP Duminy for a first ball duck, again exposing Duminy’s weakness against spin.
The warning signs have been there for some time now with these two (Prince & Duminy), in fairness SA have stuck with them through thick and thin to date, but it could end up as a costly decision if they go on to lose this test, they certainly owe their side some runs in the 2nd innings.
As for India, with their tails now up, and assuming they wrap up SA’s innings early on, their batsmen will relish the chance to respond to a score of well under 300, with the pitch still playing well and their batting line up bolstered by the returning VVS Laxman, they will fancy their chances of posting an impossing 1st innings total.
I can only see Dale Steyn stopping India now. For me, the only chance SA have is for Steyn to rip through the Indian batting again, the momentum seems to be with Indians and I think even he is going to struggle to pull this one back for them.
If South Africa aren’t to live up to their ‘chokers’ tag they have some work to do to turn this around now. The bookies have now got them as a 9/2 (with Stan James