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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
India v South Africa 1996/97
Hansie Cronje and Brian McMillan
South Africa prevailed 3-2 on aggregate in 96/97
Four years on from India's first tour to South Africa, it was decided that the two teams should meet again on a home and away basis.

Three Tests were scheduled in each country, with a two-week hiatus in between, and the double-header format proved a big success with five of the six games ending in positive results.

India began with home advantage and came out on top by a 2-1 margin, but the outcome could have gone either way.

There was little to choose between the two sides at Ahmedabad where India were bowled out for 223, with paceman Allan Donald taking four for 37, and an unbeaten 67 by tail-ender Fanie de Villiers enabled South Africa to reply with 244.

Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirsten was in fine fettle against India in 1996/97
The game took a seemingly decisive twist when spinner Paul Adams and Donald snapped up three wickets each as India stumbled to 190 all out in their second innings, leaving the tourists to make just 170 for victory.

They never came close as Javagal Srinath removed Andrew Hudson and Daryll Cullinan without a run on the board and went on to take six for 21. Hansie Cronje battled his way to 48 not out but South Africa were all out for 105, with India the winners by 64 runs.

The daunting Eden Gardens stadium in Calcutta was the venue for the second Test but it merely served to inspire South Africa, for whom Gary Kirsten scored a hundred in each innings as they squared the series with a 329-run victory.

Kirsten (102) put on 236 for the first wicket with Hudson (146) as they totalled 428 and then reduced India to 119 for six.

Mohammed Azharuddin halted the slide with 109 and Anil Kumble made 88 but India trailed by 99 on first innings and South Africa turned the screw as Kirsten scored 133 and Cullinan hit a six and 15 fours in a marvellous 153 not out.

  The scorecard
1st Test (Ahmedabad); India won by 64 runs
2nd Test (Calcutta); India won by 329 runs
3rd Test (Kanpur); India won by 280 runs
1st Test (Durban); South Africa won by 328 runs
2nd Test (Cape Town); South Africa won by 282 runs
3rd Test (Johannesburg); Match drawn
They declared on 367 for three and India's demise was rapid as Lance Klusener marked his debut with eight for 64 as the home side were all out for 137.

The third match at Kanpur produced another decisive victory, but this time Azharuddin's 163 not out ensured it was India who came out on top.

Only 60 runs separated the sides on first innings with Adams claiming six for 55 as India were all out for 237 and Kumble and Srinath sharing seven wickets as South Africa were bowled out for 177.

Azharuddin then seized the initiative for his side, collecting a six and 25 fours and sharing stands of 71 with Tendulkar (36) and 165 with Rahul Dravid (56) before they declared on 400 for seven.

South Africa never recovered after losing three for 39 and despite Cronje's 50, they were bowled out for 180 to lose by 280 runs.

India did not have long to rest on their laurels with the teams meeting again in Durban a fortnight later.

Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble kept South Africa on their toes in both countries
South Africa were a far tougher proposition on home soil and although seam bowler Venkatesh Prasad had match figures of 10 for 153, India were hustled out for 100 and 66 to lose by 328 runs, with Donald claiming nine wickets in the game.

The second Test at Cape Town saw Kirsten (103), Brian McMillan (103 not out) and Klusener (102 not out) score centuries in South Africa's first innings total of 529 for seven declared.

They led by 170 on first innings despite 169 by Tendulkar and Azharuddin's 115 and a score of 256 for six declared left India facing a battle for survival.

It proved a one-sided battle, however, as the tourists were bowled out for 144 in 66 overs to lose by 282 runs, with Donald and Adams picking up three wickets each.

The series ended with a draw in Johannesburg, where India made 410 and 266 for eight declared, with Dravid top scoring in both innings with 148 and 81.

South Africa's top nine all reached double figures in their first-innings total of 321 despite five for 104 by Srinath, but the task of scoring 356 for victory was never a realistic possibility after they were four for two and then 71 for four, but Cullinan's unbeaten 122 saw them to safety on 228 for eight.

See also:

20 Nov 00 |  Cricket
Gone - but not forgotten
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