x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Steyn's seven strikes lay India low

A career-best haul from the paceman has the hosts following on with eight wickets in hand and two days left to save the first Test.

Dale Steyn celebrates the wicket of Virender Sehwag in India's second innings on day three of the first Test.
Dale Steyn celebrates the wicket of Virender Sehwag in India's second innings on day three of the first Test.

India are banking on the memory of their great escape against Steve Waugh's "Invincible" Australians at Eden Gardens in 2001 to dig them out of a hole in the first Test against South Africa as they battle to avoid an embarrassing innings defeat. The hosts face the prospect of losing the game inside four days when they resume their second innings on 66 for two today, still needing 259 runs more to make the visitors bat a second time. Wrecked by fast bowler Dale Steyn's career-best of seven for 51, India were bowled out for a mere 233 in their first innings on day three, 325 short of South Africa's score of 558 for six declared, and Graeme Smith had little hesitation in enforcing the follow-on. India were asked to bat again by the Australia captain Waugh in the epic second Test of their three-match series in the spring of 2001 in Kolkata.

Dismissed for 171 in their first innings and following on 274 runs behind, India went on to win the game. The two heroes of that incredible turnaround, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, are both missing this game through injuries - for the first time since 1996. But Virender Sehwag is confident Sachin Tendulkar can play an innings that will be talked about for generations. "Against Australia [in 2001] we had followed on and won," said Sehwag. "Anything can happen in this game. "Tendulkar is still batting and he's a very experienced hand. Murali Vijay is also batting well. We will fight it out. "We still have very good batsmen remaining. They should also play shots as runs matter. We will try to bat as long as we can. "We are all upset we did not bat well [in the first innings]. We needed a few more partnerships going, but we have to give credit to Steyn, who bowled very well. He got a lot of reverse swing after the ball was changed just after tea."

Steyn took five wickets with the changed ball in a remarkable spell of reverse swing that read 3.4-2-1-5 as India lost their lost their last six wickets for just 12 runs. The Proteas paceman later admitted that the change of ball had helped his cause. "There was a ball change because the seam split open," said Steyn. "It was a good thing and worked in our favour. I think we worked out quite nicely what we have to do in these conditions." India's fate could have worse if not for the remarkable restrain Sehwag showed in compiling his 18th Test century after the hosts were 56 for three in the first innings. He added 136 runs for the fourth wicket with S Badrinath before undoing all the hard work with a sloppy shot. India were 192 for three then and mayhem followed. arizvi@thenational.ae

South Africa 558-6 declared. India first innings (overnight 25-0): Gautam Gambhir c Boucher b Morkel 12 Virender Sehwag c Duminy b Parnell 109 Murali Vijay b Steyn 4 Sachin Tendulkar c Boucher b Steyn 7 Subramanium Badrinath c Prince b Steyn 56 MS Dhoni c Kallis b Harris 6 Wriddhiman Saha b Steyn 0 Harbhajan Singh lbw b Steyn 8 Zaheer Khan b Steyn 2 Amit Mishra b Steyn 0 Ishant Sharma not out 0 Extras (14b, 6lb, 5w, 4nb) 29 Total (all out; 64.4 overs) 233 Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-40, 3-56, 4-192, 5-221, 6-221, 7-222, 8-226, 9-228. Bowling: Steyn 16.4-6-51-7 Morkel 15-4-58-1 (4nb) Harris 17-2-39-1 Parnell 7-1-31-1 (5w) Kallis 6-0-14-0 Duminy 3-0-20-0. India (second innings, following on): Gautam Gambhir b Morkel 1 Virender Sehwag c Smith b Steyn 16 Murali Vijay not out 27 Sachin Tendulkar not out 15 Extras (2b, 5w) 7 Total (for two wickets, 23 overs) 66 Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-24 Bowling: Steyn 4-0-14-1 Morkel 6-2-21-1 (5w) Parnell 2-0-12-0 Harris 7-3-12-0 Kallis 4-2-5-0.