India crush SA by eight wickets to level series

Even the most optimistic Indian fan could not have predicted the end of the third Test would be so abrupt and the Indian win so convincing.

An eight-wicket victory here at the Green Park Stadium by India meant the home side had successfully managed to draw the three-match Test series, chances of which looked slim before the Test began with India playing without Anil Kumble and having to bat last on the crumbling surface.

India could not have hoped for a better day. The third day, which began with the game tentatively poised, swung the match India’s way completely. First, the home side’s tail-enders stretched their first innings lead to 60. And then bowlers made full use of the worn out pitch to bowl out South Africa for a measly 121 in just 55.5 overs.

Chasing 62, the experienced pair of Sourav Ganguly (13 not out) and Rahul Dravid (18 not out) guided India home to win the third Test.

Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer took India off to a flier, making the small 62-run target miniscule. Sewag after slamming Paul Harris’s first two deliveries for two towering sixes edged the third one to point for 22. And Jaffer, like the first innings after hitting two crisp boundaries, followed Sehwag back to the pavilion with Morkel trapping him leg-before for the second time in the match.

It went all wrong for the visitors in their second innings. South Africa, who began steadily, started to collapse just before tea. From 65-2, the Proteas innings fell apart with Ashwell Prince left stranded on an unbeaten 22. They had South Africa by the scruff of the neck and were not willing to relent. After a double-strike by Virender Sehwag (3-12) in the second session, Ishant Sharma (2-18) and Harbhajan Singh (4-44) ripped through the visitors in the last session.

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