Ganguly, Dhoni stave off South African charge for victory

Ahmedabad, Apr 5 (UNI) Sourav Ganguly and Mahendra Singh Dhoni led India's fightback putting on an unbeaten 66 runs for the fifth wicket to stave off South Africa's bid for an early victory as the hosts reached 191 for four wickets at tea on the third day of the second Test being played at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Motera here today.

At the break Sourav Ganguly was batting on 59, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni having being reprieved twice was unbeaten on 28. India still have a long way to go as they require to make a further 227 runs to make South Africa bat for the second time after conceding a mammoth 418 first innings lead.

India resuming from the lunch score of 95 for three V V S Laxman and Sourav Ganguly the last two of the recognised batsmen for the hosts after they went in with five bowlers for this match, started carefully, picking up the singles and twos which were on offer due to an extremely attacking field.

Laxman was looking good playing some wristy shots, but after making 35, he went for an expansive drive outside the off stump to a ball from Morne Morkel only to see the edge go to wicket keeper Mark Boucher, who made no mistake with the catch to leave India in deep trouble at 125 for four. Laxman and Ganguly had put on 55 runs for the fourth wicket.

Dhoni then joined Ganguly and the two stuck around to frustrate the South Africans with Ganguly looking extremely solid and determined to stick around for as long as possible.

Dhoni on the other hand was Dhoni playing a few audious shots, but at the same time putting a price on his wicket.

The Indian keeper should have be dismissed when he was on 18 but his hook shot of Morne Morkel was dropped at fine leg by Makhaya Ntini. Again on 24, Mark Boucher missed a stumping of spinner Paul Harris to give Dhoni his second chance.

At the other end, Ganguly who had started shakily before lunch grew in confidence and picked the gaps to a nicety between a few trademark square cuts and square drives to keep the scoreboard moving.

He reached his 50 of just 86 balls having hit five fours in it.


Story first published: Saturday, April 5, 2008, 16:04 [IST]
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