CENTURION, South Africa, (Reuters) – India’s Rahul Dravid became only the third batsman to score 12,000 test runs but his team were struggling for survival at lunch on the fourth day of the first test against South Africa today.
Dravid stubbornly denied South Africa for 161 minutes and 109 balls in scoring 43 runs that took his career tally to 12,000 runs in 255 innings, as India reached 277 for six at lunch, still trailing by 207 runs at Centurion.
Only compatriot Sachin Tendulkar, whose 38 not out took him to 14,440 runs, and Australia’s Ricky Ponting (12,333) have scored more runs than 37-year-old Dravid.
It took a top-class delivery from Morne Morkel to eventually dismiss Dravid. A back-of-a-length ball drew the batsman forward and a slight deviation off the seam found the outside edge of the bat and offered wicketkeeper Mark Boucher a simple catch.
India resumed on 190 for two with Dravid on 28 and nightwatchman Ishant Sharma on seven.
Ishant survived a chance on 15 when he gave Morkel a return catch. But umpire Ian Gould suspected the fast bowler may have bowled a no-ball and called for a television replay, which confirmed Morkel had over-stepped.
Ishant added eight more runs to his score before Hashim Amla nonchalantly snapped up a sharp catch at short-leg off Dale Steyn.
South Africa ended the morning well on track for an innings victory by snapping up two more wickets in the last five overs of the session.
Vangipurappu Laxman (8), with his feet rooted on the crease, drove at left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe and edged the ball to AB de Villiers at a wide third slip.
Suresh Raina (5) fell on the stroke of lunch, offering a simple catch to Paul Harris at first slip as he played a short ball from Jacques Kallis with a dreadful angled bat outside off stump.
Tendulkar remains key to India’s hopes of surviving the day, and is beginning to blossom with six fours from his 75 balls at the crease, most of them driven beautifully through the covers.