SA edge closer to victory

South Africa closed in on a resounding victory in the second Test against India on Saturday, the tourists grabbing three wickets before lunch on the third day to maintain their stranglehold on the match.

Openers Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer, and batting mainstay Rahul Dravid were all undone by a South Africa pace attack that made good use of helpful conditions to reduce the hosts to 95-3 in their second innings at the break.

The visitors had declared their first innings closed at 494-7 before play began after accumulating a massive lead of 418 runs.

India, skittled out for 76 before lunch on the first day, remain 323 runs behind the visitors with Vangipurappu Laxman (19) and Saurav Ganguly (10) the not out batsmen at the interval.

The start was delayed by 30 minutes due to damp conditions from overnight showers but once play resumed, India were soon in trouble.

Sehwag, who scored the fastest recorded triple century in the high-scoring drawn first Test in Chennai last week, fell cheaply for a second time in the match.

Wickets tumble

The aggressive opener struck fast bowler Dale Steyn for two sixes in the very first over and then flicked Makhaya Ntini to the fence as he raced to 17.

But Ntini, whose three-wicket burst ripped through India’s top order in the first innings, trapped Sehwag lbw playing a half-hearted forward push.

Dravid, who reached 10 000 Test runs in the opening match, and Jaffer (19) batted cautiously for nearly 11 overs against a four-man pace attack before both fell in the space of six runs.

Dravid (17) failed to keep a short ball from Morne Morkel down and edged to the slip cordon. Two overs later Jaffer edged Jacques Kallis to the same area for AB de Villiers to take his second catch of the day.

South Africa’s commanding batting performance on Friday was built around De Villiers’s unbeaten 217, his first Test double century.

The middle order batsman put on 256 with Jacques Kallis (132) for the fifth wicket, a South Africa record for any partnership against India.

The visitors are looking for an Asian treble following successes in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The third and final Test of the series begins in Kanpur on April 11. — Reuters

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