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Page last updated at 14:44 GMT, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

India set South Africa tough target in second Test

Second Test (day three, stumps):
India 205 & 228 v South Africa 131 & 111-3
Venue: Kingsmead Date: 26-30 December
Match scorecard

VVS Laxman
Laxman was last out in India's second innings

The second Test between South Africa and India was on a knife edge after a closely-fought third day at Kingsmead.

India resumed their second innings on 92-4 and VVS Laxman made a magnificent 96 as they reached 228 all out.

Set 303 for victory, South Africa were 111-3 when bad light stopped play early, with Jacques Kallis (12) and AB de Villiers (17) in the middle.

The home side lead the three-match series 1-0 after an innings victory at Centurion last week.

Only twice has a 300-plus victory target been achieved at the Durban ground, with the highest being 340 made by South Africa against Australia in 2002.

And Laxman said India were confident they could square the series, while identifying Kallis as the man who could take the match away from his team.

"If we can get Kallis early it will put a lot of pressure on South Africa," he said.


"It's a wicket on which you cannot say you are settled. There is always a chance for the bowlers but if you can get through the tough periods you get value for your shots."

Meanwhile, South Africa spinner Paul Harris said the home team were quietly confident of reaching the formidable victory target.

He said: "The wicket has got a lot better to bat on and Jacques says it has quickened up a bit which is helping strokeplay. All we need is one partnership and the game is in the bag.

"Obviously this partnership between Jacques and AB is crucial. They are two guys who have won us games on multiple occasions."

India lost Cheteshwar Pujara for 10 in the second over of the day when he was bowled by Morne Morkel, who then had Harbhajan Singh (four) caught by Kallis at slip.

Captain MS Dhoni (21) was out to Lonwabo Tsotsobe as South Africa looked to keep India's lead below 250, but Laxman and Zaheer Khan combined to take India towards a potentially winning total.

Zaheer shrugged off a blow on the helmet to smash four fours, including two off successive balls from Dale Steyn after surviving a huge lbw appeal from South Africa's main strike bowler, to frustrate the Proteas.

He was finally out for 27 in the second over after lunch when he misjudged the bounce from left-arm spinner Paul Harris and was caught by De Villiers,

Ishant Sharma followed for nought to give Kallis his only wicket of the match and India had added only 10 runs after lunch when Laxman chased a wide delivery from Steyn to fall four runs short of a 17th Test century.

Laxman faced 171 balls, hit 12 fours and shared a crucial 70-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Zaheer. Steyn finished with 2-60 to take his match figures to 8-110.

South Africa began their run chase in positive fashion as skipper Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen put on 63 for the first wicket in 12 overs.

Smith was involved in a heated exchange with Sreesanth, which ended with the South Africa skipper waving his bat at the Indian seamer, and three overs later Smith was out for 37 trying to pull Sreesanth from outside off-stump.

"Sreesanth had said a few personal comments on the field, which is not great and we cannot condone that sort of thing," said Harris.

"For Graeme to react is unusual, but I heard it was personal and I think Sreesanth should cut it out."

Petersen (26) went shortly after tea, popping a catch into the hands of short-leg off the bowling of Harbhajan, before Hashim Amla (16) was dismissed in the following over, wafting lazily at Sreesanth.

Sreesanth finished day three with 2-30 in seven overs after struggling in the first innings while South Africa's hopes now rest on the broad shoulders of Kallis and De Villiers.

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see also
India gain control of second Test
27 Dec 10 |  Cricket
South Africa seal win over India
20 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Tendulkar hits landmark 50th ton
19 Dec 10 |  Cricket
India in South Africa 2010-11
18 Jan 11 |  Cricket

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