VVS Laxman and Skipper MS Dhoni slammed centuries to bat South Africa out of the match in the Second and Final Test at Kolkata. India piled up 643 for 6 declared to secure a massive first innings lead of 347 and leave the bowlers two full days to take 10 South African wickets.
India wasn’t in the comfort zone when it started play on the third day at 342 for 5 with a lead of only 46. South Africa’s hopes of rushing back into the game were thwarted by night watchman Amit Mishra along with the wristy VVS Laxman. Mishra with some luck and application scored a valuable 28 (from 38 balls with 5 fours) before getting brilliantly caught by a leaping Kallis at second slip off Morkel. Mishra was dismissed trying to repeat a productive upper cut. The leggie added 48 runs for the 6th wicket with Laxman while lasting for more than 10 overs.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked in with India at a lead of 88. The Skipper had to play an important innings if his team needed to secure the match and shut the door for a South African win. In a determined manner, Dhoni batted out the morning session along with Laxman and got some quick runs from the second new ball. By Lunch, India got the upper hand at 431 for 6 with the lead moving to 135.
The post lunch session saw India crushing the Proteas totally with Laxman and Dhoni remaining unbeaten and closing in towards their respective centuries. India moved onto 548 for 6 with the second session yielding 117 runs in 30 overs. The two batsmen completed their centuries in the final session. First VVS Laxman got to his 15th Test century followed by Dhoni who registered his 4th hundred. The two batsmen stepped up the gas after their milestones and runs came in at a terrific rate.
The innings was declared with about 30 minutes left in the day’s play with India at 643 for 6 having batted out 153 overs. Laxman remained unbeaten on 143 with 16 fours (from 260 balls) and Dhoni got 132 not out with 12 fours and 3 sixes (from 187 balls). The two put on an unbeaten partnership of 259 for the sixth wicket. Like yesterday, even today there were catches put down by the Proteas.
Though there were 11 overs left, South Africa could get to bat only five balls before the light was deemed to be unfit for any further play. The Proteas ensured that they did not lose any wicket in that short time.