India crushes SA at Kanpur to level series

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Kanpur, Apr 13 (UNI) India avenged its innings defeat at Ahmedabad, crushing South Africa by eight wickets in the third and final Test to level the series at the Green Park Stadium here today.

India, who needed to notch up 62 runs in their second innings, with 18 overs and two days left, reached the target in just 13.1 overs, only losing the two openers - Sehwag and Jaffer.

Earlier, they had bowled out SA for 121 runs with off-spinner Harbhajan Singh picking up four wickets.

India went into the match with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni coming in place for the injured Anil Kumble.

The Indian players seemed tp be in a hurry to overhaul the target as they hammered the SA bowlers. Sehwag hit two big consecutive sixes of Paul Harris before getting out on the third ball.

Sehwag had made 22 with the help of 2 sixes and a boundary.

The Indian total was 32 at the time.

Jaffar was next to go at the same team score when he was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Morne Morkel when after scoring 10 runs with the help of 2 boundaries.

Former captains Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid then took over as they scored runs at will to reach the target comfortably.

Ganguly was not out on 13 runs while Dravid not out on 18 runs..

Ganguly, who scored 87 runs in the first innings, was adjudged 'Man of the Match,' while Harbhajan Singh, who took a total of 7 wickets in the match and 19 wickets in the series was declared 'Man of the Series.' South African captain Graeme Smith, appreciating the overall performance of the Indian team, said they had played well and deserved a win.

However, he maintained that had their first innings total been around 300 and the target given to India was over 150 runs, then they could have managed to comeback into the match.

On the other hand, Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni claimed that there win was a result of team effort and the bowlers really played their part.

He also said that the part time bowlers like Sehwag and Yuvraj also contributed much while Sourav, Laxman and specially the last pair of Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma batted too well to keep the Proteas out of the match.

At tea, South Africa were struggling at 88 runs for four but they were all out for 121 runs just 80 minutes after the break when the Indian bowlers ripped apart the visitors with regular wickets.

Harbhajan was the most successful bowler with claiming 4 wickets for 44 runs.

Sehwag also claimed three wickets for 12 runs and be improved his best bowling performance made against West Indies of 3 for 33 runs in 2006 at the West Indies.

Ishant Sharma got two wickets while Sreesanth got one wicket.

For South Africa, its skipper Smith was the highest scorer at 35 while Ashley Prince was not out on 22 runs.

South Africa had made 265 runs in their first innings on day one. India replied with 288 for nine on day two yesterday.

While SA took the lead in the series by defeating India by an innings and 90 runs in the second Test at Ahmedabad, the first match at Chennai was a tame draw.


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