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AB de Villiers’ superb double keeps India down and out

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AB de Villiers struck a superb unbeaten double century on the second day’s play of the second Test at Ahmedabad which meant that India are truly out of the match. South Africa have got themselves a monstrous lead of 418 in their first innings which now doesn’t provide any sorts of opportunities for the home side to save the Test Match. There was rain from nowhere in the final hour today which curtailed the game, but the Indians need plenty of that to happen in the next couple of days to draw this game. Three full days are there for the Proteas to execute what could be a comfortable victory once they had bundled out India for a paltry 76.

India had an off day with the ball yet again in this series. All the bowlers could do was to get three wickets in a day that was dominated by the young and exciting 24-year-old AB de Villiers. For the record, this stylish batsman went onto score the first double century by a South African against India! It was entirely AB de Villiers’ day out in the middle. His overnight partnership with Kallis only became stronger with of course a bit of luck involved. Kallis was very lucky to go onto make his 30th hundred, one that overtook Sir Don Bradman. When on 61, Kallis had played one onto his stumps off a Harbhajan Singh’s top spinner. The ball kissed the stumps but the stubborn bails didn’t come out of the groove much to the frustration of the Indian players! Kallis also survived some close calls against the lively Sreesanth.

Earlier in the day, India took the second new ball and the conditions were overcast much to their relief. But the two quicks didn’t deliver the goods for Kumble and SA cruised to lunch without losing a single wicket. AB de Villiers got to his fifth test hundred before lunch while Kallis got to his hundred after the interval. Finally there was something to celebrate for Sreesanth when Kallis dragged one onto his stumps while trying to leave an outswinger. Kallis had made 132 (from 275 balls with 14 fours and a six) by then in a match-winning stand of 256 which came at a time when SA were in a spot of bother at 117 for 4. The rest of the afternoon session saw de Villiers and Boucher take SA at 413 for 5 at Tea.

Eventually in the final session, Skipper Anil Kumble managed to break the promising partnership between de Villiers and Boucher. A trademark skidder from Kumble could strike the pads of Boucher (21) as the right hander did the elementary mistake of going far too back and across to the bowler. A few minutes later, Harbhajan got his first wicket of the day as he trapped Morne Morkel with a straighter one. South Africa after that got some big hits coming from de Villiers to finish the day at 494 for 7 in 141.2 overs before the rain saved the Indian bowlers from further damage. AB de Villiers is still not out and has got 217 in 333 balls with 17 fours and two sixes, which is his career best. As such the Proteas have done whatever that was required from their batsmen and the better tactics for Graeme Smith would be to declare the innings straightaway tomorrow morning. That would leave India a difficult task of batting on a pitch that would have the moisture for Dale Steyn and Makhaya to make full use of!

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