South Africa wrapped up the first Test at Nagpur by the close of the fourth day inflicting an innings and 6-run victory. Sachin Tendulkar was the only one giving out a solid fight from the hosts scoring his 46th Test century. The other youngsters including Skipper MS Dhoni failed to stay long at the crease.
Resuming the final day’s play on 66 for 2, defeat was looming large over the Indians. The only ray of hope was Sachin Tendulkar and the Master showed the way in tackling the penetrative South African bowling. He got a useful ally in Murali Vijay who was batting pretty solid until he made the fatal mistake of playing the big sweep off the rough and against the turn of Harris. Vijay got caught off a top edge off Harris in the 9th over of the morning having played out 90 balls for a promising 32. The young man put up 72 runs for the third wicket with Tendulkar.
First innings half centurion Subramaniam Badrinath hung in there for about 10 overs before he got out nicking a very good ball from Wayne Parnell. Badrinath (6) was forced to nick one that was angled in by the left armer from round the sticks but reverse swung away to catch the thin edge.
In the 42nd over, the Indian Captain MS Dhoni walked in and looked all at sea against the moving ball. The footwork was non-existent but he fought his way to help Tendulkar along in a fightback. Sachin Tendulkar (100 from 179 balls with 13 fours) brought up his 46th hundred during the partnership but immediately after achieving it got bowled round his legs to Harris while attempting a sweep. Harris broke what was a threatening stand of 70 runs until then.
Just at the stroke of Tea, MS Dhoni fell to the same innocuous bowling of Harris, getting a bat pad edge to silly point. Dhoni failed to deliver the goods again but battled it out for 112 balls making a modest 25. The writing was on the wall at Tea with India closing in to defeat at 223 for 6.
After Tea, South Africa took the second new ball as Harbhajan Singh took a liking to Paul Harris. After waiting for 10 overs or so, the Proteas could see the back of Harbhajan Singh (39 from 36 balls with 6 fours and a six) with Parnell striking the pads with a full length inswinger. Harbhajan had put on 50 runs for the 7th wicket with debutant Saha who went on to add 59 runs along with Zaheer Khan for the next wicket. Zaheer smashed 33 with 4 fours and 2 sixes to take India within striking distance of avoiding the innings defeat. Saha after looking good for his 36 (from 101 balls with 4 fours) got out lbw to Steyn. The little man just thrust his frontpad forward and across the off stump and misread what was an inswinger heading towards middle.
The match was finished by an express delivery from Steyn that crashed through the defences of Amit Mishra. Steyn finished with his fourth 10-wicket haul with that. However, it was Hashim Amla who got the Man of the Match award instead of him for having set the match up with a knock of 253*.