Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 23rd 2013 Contents A51
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JOHANNESBURG---Zaheer Khan be-
came the fourth Indian to take 300 test
wickets by removing Jacques Kallis on
the final day of the first test against
South Africa on yesterday.
Khan's milestone arrived on his come-
back test after a yearlong absence from
the long format of the game. His last
five-day game before the series-opener
in South Africa was in December 2012,
but the wily left-arm seamer returned
with 4-88 in the first innings at the Wan-
derers before taking Kallis' wicket in the
Khan joins legspsinner Anil Kumble,
allrounder Kapil Dev and offspinner
Harbhajan Singh in India's 300 club. He
reached his 300 in his 89th test. Kumble
leads India's wicket-takers with 619 in
132 tests and is third on the all-time list
behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan
(800) and Australia's Shane Warne
Khan takes 300th Test wicket in comeback
JOHANNESBURG---South Africa and India
drew an epic test on Sunday as the top-
ranked South Africans---written off com-
pletely at the start of the final day---fell just
eight runs short of a record run chase and
one of cricket s greatest yet most improbable
Facing a mammoth target of 458 to win the
first test, South Africa finished on 450-7 after
putting itself on course for a stunning win
through a 205-run partnership between Faf
du Plessis and AB de Villiers, who both made
centuries. In a final twist, the hosts then had
to turn runs down to save themselves with
tail-enders at the crease in a hectic finish at
No. 2-ranked India clawed its way back in
the gripping finale that befitted a meeting of
the format s best teams to remove De Villiers
for 103, Duminy for just 5 and Du Plessis to
a vital run out for 134 when South Africa was
within sight of the momentous win.
"We lost it a bit when AB and Faf were bat-
ting but we came back," India s Virat Kohli
South African tailenders Vernon Philander
and Dale Steyn were left clinging on for the
draw and ultimately playing it safe and choos-
ing to defend when so agonisingly close to
making cricket history. Just before Ajinkya
Rahane s throw crashed into the stumps with
Du Plessis sprawling to make his ground for
the game s most crucial moment, South Africa
incredibly needed only 16 from 20 balls.
"Everyone was pretty shocked, honestly,"
Kohli said. "We didn t think they d stop going
for that score."
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said
the decision to play for the draw at the end---
effectively the last three overs---and save the
game after all South Africa had achieved
through three grueling sessions was made by
the batsmen, Philander and Steyn.
The skipper said he backed them completely
despite rumblings of discontent from the crowd
at the very end of an enthralling day.
"The knocks that AB and Faf played, every-
body would have been saying what an incred-
ible effort," Smith said. "We mustn t lose sight
of that in the emotion. You understand the
emotional side. I think the context was that
it was an unbelievable test match ... I don t
think too many people gave us a chance (of
Actually, no one did, with South Africa
facing over a day to survive after India batted
supremely in its second innings, mainly through
Cheteshwar Pujara s 153, to apparently put
itself in an unbeatable situation. South Africa
also was down a batsman with tailender Morne
Yet, South Africa s 450-7 was the third-
highest fourth-innings total in more than
2,000 games of test cricket over nearly 140
years, and would have been the highest suc-
cessful chase ever if the Proteas had got to
"I m very happy that we pulled it through,"
Du Plessis said, hailing the draw. "Like Graeme
said, a lot of people wrote us off."
Steyn, having survived, hit a six off the last
ball of a match India was expected to win
with ease and ended up almost losing, then
almost only just winning, and finally drawing
in a roller-coaster of emotion for both teams.
"That inside edge of AB s (De Villiers) opened
things up for us. Then we got JP (Duminy)
out," Kohli said. "We thought we re going to
win the game. Then Vernon (Philander) came
in and struck a few boundaries and we re on
the back foot again. Then we ran Faf (Du
Plessis) out, we thought we could win it again.
"There was too much going on at the end.
Just a very enjoyable test match."
No team has ever scored more than 418 to
win a test. South Africa would not only have
shattered that record with another eight runs,
but its total would have stood out as the sec-
ond-highest ever fourth innings score irre-
spective of the result, with only England s
654-5 in the famous timeless test of 1939,
which was not limited to five days, ahead of
it. That fourth-innings total will probably
never be beaten in the modern game.
The only other last-innings score ahead of
South Africa s on Sunday was New Zealand s
451 in a losing effort against England a decade
Du Plessis was South Africa s savior as he
fought for over a day for his third test century
to ensure, whatever happened, South Africa
didn t lose. But India also showed huge
resilience under wrenching pressure near the
end to pull South Africa back from the brink
of what would have been one of test cricket s
greatest victories, and also famous losses.
Seamer Mohammed Shami was outstanding
with his 3-107 and his controlled finish, along
with Rahane s individual brilliance in running
Du Plessis out with a direct hit, probably pre-
vented South Africa winning when Philander s
late 25 not out suggested South Africa still
...to epic Test match
India 1st Inns: 280
South Africa 1st Inns: 244
India 2nd Inns 421
South Africa 2nd Inns (o/n: 138-2)
Graeme Smith run out (Rahane) . . . . . . .44
FafduPlessisrunout(Rahane). . . . . . .134
TOTAL: (for 7 wickets Overs: 136) . .450
Did not bat: Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel.
Fall of wickets: 1-108, 2-118, 3-143, 4-197,
5-402, 6-407, 7-442.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 34-1-135-1 (1w),
Ishant Sharma 29-4-91-1 (2nb, 1w),
Mohammed Shami 28-5-107-3 (1w),
Ravichandran Ashwin 36-5-83-0 (1w),
Murali Vijay 1-0-3-0, Mahendra Singh
Dhoni 2-0-4-0, Virat Kohli 6-0-18-0.
Result: Match drawn.
Series: Two-match series level at 0-0.
Toss: won by India.
Umpires: Steve Davis, Australia, and Rod
Tucker, Australia. TV Umpire: Shaun
George, South Africa. Match Referee:
Andy Pycroft, Zimbabwe.
South Africa's batsman Francois du Plessis jumps as he celebrates a century during the fourth
and final day of their cricket test match against India at Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg,
South Africa, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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