India on top as bowlers dominate riveting day

DURBAN, South Africa, (Reuters) – India ended an  extraordinary second day of the second test against South Africa  with a 166-run lead after 18 wickets fell at Kingsmead today.
Vangipurappu Laxman (23 not out) and Cheteshwar Pujara (10  not out) restored stability to India’s second innings to leave  the tourists on 92 for four at the close after South Africa  claimed four quick victims to have them reeling at 56 for four.

Zaheer Khan
Zaheer Khan

India had earlier been blown away having resumed on 183 for  six in their first innings. Dale Steyn took six for 50 as the  hosts prised out the top-ranked test team for 205.
However, that small total was still enough for a  first-innings lead as India bundled South Africa out for just  131 to gain an unlikely 74-run advantage, Harbhajan Singh  claiming four for 10 and paceman Zaheer Khan three for 36.
India’s opener Virender Sehwag began the second innings in  his customary daring fashion as he raced to 32 with several  swashbuckling strokes but, at 42 for no wicket and with the lead  at 116 runs, the introduction of left-arm seamer Lonwabo  Tsotsobe momentarily swung the match back in South Africa’s  favour.
Sehwag lashed out at the rookie bowler and edged a catch to  wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, while a hostile lifter from the lanky  Morne Morkel accounted for opening partner Murali Vijay, caught  at short-leg for nine.
Tsotsobe then nipped the ball away from Rahul Dravid to find  the edge of his bat and have him caught behind for two while  Sachin Tendulkar (6) knicked a drive off Steyn which AB de  Villiers caught at third slip.
India will have a lot to do on a bowling friendly wicket on  day three, but thanks to Harbhajan’s wonderful burst of spin  bowling when he tore through South Africa’s middle and lower  order with four wickets in just 7.2 overs, the tourists are well  positioned to level the series.
“It’s D-Day to level the series. We can’t be complacent,  we’ll have to bat well tomorrow. The first thing is to make sure  we score more than 300, then we will definitely have a very good  chance to win the test,” Harbhajan told a news conference.
Harbhajan’s introduction in the 24th over on a pitch  seemingly suited for the pace bowlers changed the momentum of  the test, though he said afterwards he thought it was a good  track for the batsmen.
“There’s a little bounce but not much else. It is a very  good pitch and I don’t know how 18 wickets fell today,”  Harbhajan said.
The off spinner struck in his second over as South Africa’s  top-scorer Hashim Amla (33) tried to sweep but missed and was  trapped in front of his stumps.
The dismissal started the collapse as South Africa lost  their last six wickets for 35 runs in 12.1 overs.
Ashwell Prince was bowled by Zaheer for 13 and then Dravid  then snapped up an astonishing catch at slip, his 200th in  tests, as Harbhajan ripped the ball on to the edge of Steyn’s  bat before Cheteshwar Pujara brilliantly snared Paul Harris at  short leg for a duck in the same over.
South Africa lead the three-match series after winning the  first test in Centurion by an innings and 25 runs and batsman AB  de Villiers said he was confident his team would rise to the  challenge.
“Ideally, we’d like to chase 240 to 260, but I back our  batsmen to play well after a very poor performance today. Even  if we have to chase 300, we’ll give it a go,” he said.

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