India vs South africa
December 26, 2006 2:18am CST
The touring Indians forged a potential winning position on the second day of their four-day match against the Rest of South Africa at Sedgars Park Friday but failed to solve their batting problems ahead of the Test series against South Africa. The Indians finished the day 271 runs ahead with three second innings wickets standing but were a shaky 93 for seven in their second innings after their top order batting failed again. The tourists declared their first innings at their overnight total of 316 for seven and took control of the match when they bowled out the Rest for 138. With an opportunity to play themselves into batting form with more than two full days remaining, they crashed to the medium-pace swing bowling of Alfonso Thomas, who took five for 32. Sourav Ganguly, who made 83 in the first innings, failed in his second knock. He was out without scoring when he gloved a lifting ball from fast bowler Mornantau Hayward to substitute wicketkeeper Vaughn van Jaarsveld. Two balls earlier Hayward had trapped Sachin Tendulkar leg before for 12 with a fast, full delivery. Squad vice-captain VVS Laxman, leading the side in the absence of the injured Rahul Dravid, was the only top order batsman to spend a significant time at the crease, making a painstaking 31 before he was sixth out, shortly before the close. Laxman was superbly caught at backward point by JP Duminy off Thomas, who toured India with the South African Test squad two seasons ago without winning a cap. India's batting failure will be of concern to the team management with the first of three Tests starting in Johannesburg next Friday. India were beaten 4-0 in a one-day series which ended last Sunday, with the inability of the batsmen to cope with South Africa's pace attack the major reason for their defeats. There was encouragement for the tourists however in the form of their bowlers, who needed only 31.4 overs to dismiss a line-up which included seven players with international experience. Vaughn van Jaarsveld, 21, a talented left-hander, was the only batsman to shine against a four-pronged pace and seam attack. Van Jaarsveld hit 51 off 57 balls with nine fours before he was leg before to Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who finished with four for 53. VRV Singh, who joined the squad for the Test series after not being selected for the one-day games, took three for 35.