December 28, 2013 4:00:00 pm
Reading South Africa’s scoreboard at the end of second day made it clear that Indian bowlers will have to work hard to swing things their way. After piling on 82 runs on Day 2,that too at a brisk pace,hosts were in a comfortable position.
Day 3 didn’t get off to a good start for India as Graeme Smith continued from where he left,and got a boundary from the first ball of the day’s play. Mahendra Singh Dhoni commenced proceedings with Ishant Sharma,but wasted no time in giving the ball to Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja,who replaced India’s leading spinner Ashwin for this match,spun momentum India’s way.
‘Jaddu’ is Dhoni’s best bet
Jadeja,with the glasses on,did what he does best. He attacked the batsmen’s stumps,and gave very little scoring opportunities. All of a sudden,there was a lull period in the game. Boundaries were not coming for the hosts as Dhoni attacked with the lone spinner. The skipper operated with three players in catching position,and invited the Proteas to go for the big shot.
Jadeja removed both openers – Smith and Petersen – early on Day 3. First to go was Smith,who went for the big shot only to be caught in the deep by Shikhar Dhawan,who took a brilliant catch running backwards. After tasting success early,Jadeja had a spring in his stride. He was generating just enough turn from this strip,and kept attacking the stumps. Next to go was Petersen,who edged one to the slips. The ball pitched around the stumps,turned and got the shoulder of the opener’s bat. Murali Vijay took a sharp low catch to send the set opener back in the hut.
“Yahi daalta reh isse’
When the ball is in Jadeja’s hands,Dhoni is not a quiet man. He keeps encouraging the bowler from behind the stumps. From captain cool,Dhoni becomes a chirpy keeper. ‘Yahi daalta reh’,’ye accha hai’,’shaabash jaadu’,’great over jad’ are the few one-liners Dhoni uses,and used in plenty during the first session.
What an ovation!
When Jadeja removed Petersen,a loud cheer greeted the batsman when he made his way back to the hut. Not for what he did with the bat,but for the next man in. The next man in was one of the finest all-rounder Jacques Kallis,who walked out to bat in his last Test match.
Seeing the crowd,Dhoni and his men queued to give a guard of honour to the retiring all-rounder. The umpires too joined in and didn’t waste an opportunity to be a part of a special moment.
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