New Delhi:Cast your mind back nearly four years, to a New Year Test in Cape Town. After being thrashed in the one-day series preceding the Tests, few had expected India to win convincingly in Johannesburg. South Africa, with Makhaya Ntini bowling an inspired spell, evened it up in Durban and there was everything to play for in the shadow of Table Mountain.
On the eve of the game, much of the discussion focused on Munaf Patel. Having injured his ankle early on in the one-day series, he had watched the first two Tests from the sidelines. VRV Singh, who replaced him, had been a liability, especially in Durban where 10 overs in the second innings had gone for 64 at a time when the game was in the balance. The team management faced a straightforward choice - either gamble on Munaf's fitness or play Harbhajan Singh, with a dry, subcontinent-like pitch expected to take turn.