Ganguly's counter-attack keeps India afloat

India were 288-9 in their first innings at stumps in reply to South Africa's 265 on the second day of the third and final Test on Saturday.

updated: April 13, 2008 15:24 IST
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New Delhi:

Sourav Ganguly's composed 87 has given India a slender first-innings lead in the third and final Test against South Africa, leaving the series decider evenly poised after day two.

Ganguly made South Africa pay for dropping him when, on 40 as he spurred India to 288-9 at stumps, he provided the hosts with a 23-run lead over South Africa's first innings total of 265, on a pitch exhibiting uneven bounce.

Running out of partners, Ganguly fell trying an ambitious cover drive, but resurrected India's innings after Rahul Dravid (29) and VVS Laxman (50) departed in successive overs from Morne Morkel (3-57).

Yuvraj Singh and Dale Styne were involved in bit of a chatter on the field after the pacer delivered a bouncer. Umpire Billy Doctrove seemingly advised the South Africans to take things in their stride.

Pace bowler Morne Morkel has snared two key wickets as the third and final India-South Africa Test remained evenly poised on day two.

Morkel (3-33) removed Indian sheet anchor Rahul Dravid (29) and VVS Laxman (50) in successive overs, reducing India to 165-4 in its first innings at tea.

Laxman and Dravid had added 78 runs to revive India from the early setback of losing openers Virender Sehwag (8) and Wasim Jaffer (15) cheaply.

Responding to South Africa's first innings total of 265 on a track of uneven bounce, India lost openers Virender Sehwag (8) and Wasim Jaffer (15) cheaply before Dravid (20) and Laxman (33) revived the hosts with an unbroken 53-run partnership up to lunch on day two.

Sehwag hit two boundaries before being trapped lbw by Dale Steyn in the day's fifth over, beaten by an incutter that left him stranded in front of the stumps.

Jaffer was also out lbw, beaten in Morne Morkel's first over by a delivery that kept low.

Leading 1-0 after hammering India by an innings and 90 runs in the second Test, South Africa is seeking to clinch the series and displace India from the No. 2 spot in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.