Cricket: De Villiers valiant with bat and ball

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India 223; South Africa 202-8

The tail-enders Pat Symcox and Fanie de Villiers played rescuers with a half-century stand after South Africa collapsed against India's spin trio in the first Test in Ahmedabad yesterday.

Coming together with South Africa reeling at 119 for 7 in reply to India's first innings of 223, Symcox (32) and De Villiers (40 not out) put on 63 for the eighth wicket to lead their side to 202 for 8 at the close on the second day.

Fine bowling by the left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi and the leg-spinners Anil Kumble and Narendra Hirwani, allied to two dubious umpiring decisions, raised Indian hopes of a useful first-innings lead. Joshi has taken 4 for 42, Kumble 2 for 68 and Hirwani 2 for 38.

India, resuming at their overnight score of 215 for 8, were bowled out for 223 within half an hour of the start of play. Allan Donald finished with 4 for 37 while his fellow pace bowler De Villiers took 2 for 55. Each took one more wicket yesterday.

The worst fears about the pitch at the Sardar Patel Stadium proved true when the Indian spinners came on after just 10 overs by the medium pacers. The ball turned, especially from Joshi, though it was Kumble who sent back both openers, Andrew Hudson and the consistent left-hander Gary Kirsten.

Then came two controversial lbw dismissals. Umpire S K Bansal gave out the captain Hansie Cronje and Darryl Cullinan lbw, both stretching well forward to balls that pitched outside the leg stump, with neither batsman offering a stroke.

Second day; India won toss

INDIA - First innings

(Overnight: 215 for 8)

A Kumble c Kirsten b Donald 17

B K V Prasad c Donald b De Villiers 9

N D Hirwani not out 0

Extras (lb9, nb3) 12

Total 223

Fall (cont): 9-221.

Bowling: Donald 27-14-37-4; De Villiers 18-5-55-2; McMillan 11-4-20-0; Cronje 12-3-8-0; Adams 17-2-46-1; Symcox 21-5-48-2 (3nb).

SOUTH AFRICA - First innings

A C Hudson lbw b Kumble 23

G Kirsten st Mongia b Kumble 17

D J Cullinan lbw b Joshi 43

*W J Cronje lbw b Hirwani 1

J N Rhodes c Manjrekar b Joshi 14

B M McMillan b Joshi 8

D J Richardson b Hirwani 4

P SL ymcox lbw b Joshi 32

P S de Villiers not out 40

A A Donald not out 4

Extras (b7, lb8, nb1) 16

Total (for 8) 202

Fall: 1-29, 2-46, 3-49, 4-95, 5-102, 6-113, 7-119, 8-182.

To bat: P R Adams.

Bowling: Srinath 12-3-22-0 (1nb); Prasad 7-2-17-0; Kumble 28-5-68-2; Joshi 22-3-42-4; Hirwani 15-3-38-2.

Umpires: G Sharp (Eng) and S K Bansal (Ind).