After the Sachin Tendulkar special at Gwalior, Indian cricket fans were left to applaud, albeit grudgingly, a Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers tango as South Africa brought the curtain down on their tour with a commanding 90-run win in Ahmedabad last night. Kallis and de Villiers smashed contrasting unbeaten centuries as South Africa, having already lost the series, put 365 for two on the board, with all four of their batsmen making 50-plus scores.
The score proved well beyond the makeshift team fielded by India. The hosts, missing Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, were bowled out for 275 in 44.3 overs after de Villiers had launched a blistering attack that helped South Africa score 115 runs from their last 10 overs, 59 of those coming in the final four. After crossing the half-century mark off 37 deliveries, de Villiers scored his next 52 off just 22 balls.
The acceleration had an equal affect across the middle as Kallis, who took 68 balls for his first 50 runs, got the next 54 from 26. Together they added 173 runs for the third wicket from just 17 overs after Loots Bosman and Hashim Amla had laid the foundations for the innings with a 113-run partnership for the first wicket. Bosman set the tone with a fiery onslaught against the new ball, smashing seven fours and four sixes in 46-ball knock of 68.
Amla completed a memorable tour of India with a stylish knock. He looked set to bid farewell with a century, but top-edged a sweep 13 runs short of the mark. The bearded batsman looked annoyed with himself as he left the pitch, but some of the disappointment must have been assuaged watching his replacement, de Villiers, take charge and thump the inexperienced India attack to all corners of the park.
India needed a similar knock from one of their top order to keep their hopes of a series sweep alive. But with experience thin, they got bogged down, taking 20 overs to reach 100. MS Dhoni was the only regular in a batting line-up missing Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, but the India captain did not come out to bat till the 26th over, after the third wicket fell. By then, the match had virtually slipped out of India's grasp, with 230 runs needed at more than nine an over.
Dhoni lasted only seven balls before Mark Boucher dismissed him with a stunning catch, diving full-length to his right, and India's fate was sealed despite entertaining knocks from Suresh Raina (49) and Ravindra Jadeja (36), whose 54-run partnership for the seventh wicket came from just five overs. firstname.lastname@example.org
L Bosman c Jadeja b Pathan 68 H Amla c Vijay b Jadeja 87 J Kallis not out 104 AB de Villiers not out 102 Extras 2nb, 2lb 4 Total (2 wkts, 50 overs) 365 Fall of wickets: 1-113; 2-192 Bowling: Streesanth 9-0-83-0; Tyagi 8-0-59-0; Mithun 8-0-63-0; Jadeja 10-0-53-1; Pathan 10-0-66-1; Kohli 2-0-11-0; Sharma 3-0-28-0
K Karthik c Amla b Steyn 11 M Vijay c Boucher b Tsotsobe 25 V Kohli c Boucher b Steyn 57 R Sharma c Tsotsobe b Botha 48 MS Dhoni c Boucher b Steyn 9 S Raina c sub b Botha 49 Y Pathan c Steyn b Tsotsobe 5 R Jadeja c Boucher b Tsotsobe 36 S Sreesanth lbw b Van der Merwe 1 A Mithun st Boucher b Van der Merwe 24 S Tyagi not out 1 Extras 4w, 5lb 9 Total (all out 44.3 overs) 275 Fall of wickets: 1-22; 2-40; 3-135; 4-156; 5-157; 6-179; 7-233; 8-237; 9-273; 10-275 Bowling: Steyn 8-1-37-3; Tsotsobe 9.3-0-58-3; Morkel 7-0-48-0; Van der Merwe 10-0-47-2; Botha 10-0-80-2