South Africa ended their tour of India with a 90-run win at Ahmedabad based on a strong batting performance. Skipper Kallis and AB de Villiers scored unbeaten centuries to power SA to 365 for 2 and India in reply came up with a promising 275.
Both sides made quite a few changes to their line-up. India had picked up two debutants in Murali Vijay and rookie fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun. SA won the toss and elected to bat first on what was yet another dead batting pitch. Their opening batsmen – Loots Bosman and Hashim Amla flayed the bowling around to put up a century stand. Bosman showed a bit of Tendulkar in some of his shots and had smacked 68 from 46 balls with 7 fours and 4 sixes. He holed out at long off in the 16th over before making any further damage.
Jacques Kallis joined a well set Amla and got another partnership going. Amla well on course of a century was caught off the top edge in a big sweep shot off Jadeja in the 33rd over. He scored 87 from 103 balls with 8 fours while leaving a strong platform of 192 for 2. The stage was now set for AB de Villiers to cash in and take SA past 350 along with Kallis.
The Indian bowling with the exception of Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan had no clue at all in stopping the run flow. The pace trio of Sreesanth, Tyagi and Mithun was just a ‘help yourself attack’ and there was hardly a ball that genuinely beat the batsmen. Jacques Kallis showed his power in the final overs to finish with 104 from 94 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes. AB de Villiers made the real difference getting his unbeaten 102 in just 59 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes. The two right handers put on 173 runs for the unbroken 3rd wicket.
Chasing 366, India seemed to have started well but lost the in-form Dinesh Karthik in the 3rd over when he holed out his flat shot to mid off. Left arm quick Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the 6th over produced a lovely lifter around the middle stump to force a promising Murali Vijay (25 from 16 balls with 5 fours) to edge behind.
India from 40 for 2 got into the repairing mode with opener Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma putting their heads down and batting sensibly. The two youngsters took the risk whenever they could but at the same time played some authentic shots. But the pressure of scoring too quickly got onto them and both perished one after the other. First to go was Rohit Sharma (48 from 61 balls) lobbing a full toss from Roelof van der Merwe to deep backward squareleg. It was until then a bright partnership of 95 for the 3rd wicket. Just a few balls later, Skipper MS Dhoni came in and went out after edging his drive to the keeper playing along the wrong line with no footwork to a Steyn delivery. Boucher came up with an outstanding diving catch to his right. Dhoni was looking threatening in his 7-ball stay as he had launched Botha into the long on stands for a six.
Four balls after Dhoni’s exit, a well set Virat Kohli (57 from 71 balls with 4 fours and a six) looking to steer Steyn to thirdman could only edge it to Boucher. India was now out of the contest at 157 for 5. Yusuf Pathan failed to deliver yet again at this level and holed out to long off without giving any fight. Fortunately for India, a semblance of a fightback came from the left handed pair of Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. Though they weren’t in a position of winning the match from there atleast the margin of defeat was coming down. Raina scored a sparkling 49 from 30 balls (with 5 fours and a six) before flashing a full toss to wide long off. He added 54 runs with Jadeja to take India to respectability.
Jadeja was the last man out in the match edging his steer to the Keeper having scored 36 from 35 balls. The knock contained a massive six straight down the ground. The left hander had put on 36 for the 9th wicket with debutant Abhimanyu Mithun who came up with two well struck sixes himself! India was bowled out for 275 in 44.3 overs. Steyn and Tsotsobe were the successful bowlers picking up three wickets each. Ab de Villiers got the Man of the Match and Sachin Tendulkar was named as the Player of the Series.