Cricket: India consumed by caution

Click to follow
The Independent Online
South Africa. . . . . . . . . . . . . .292 and 252

India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .227 and 141-4

Match drawn

INDIA'S ultra-cautious batsmen, with no little help from the South African captain, Kepler Wessels, conspired to condemn the second Test to another tedious draw in Johannesburg yesterday.

Neither side showed any attempt to forge a result and Praveen Amre and Sanjay Manjrekar ensured the draw with a tedious, unbeaten 68-run partnership, which occupied the final two and a half hours of the day.

India finished on 141 for 4 after being set 318 to win, 303 of them in the final day's six hours with all wickets intact. But they never attempted to pursue them and were aided in their escape by the conservative captaincy of Wessels.

Even after his pace bowlers, Allan Donald and Craig Matthews, engineered a breakthrough with four wickets in 29 mid-afternoon deliveries, Wessels failed to pressure the Indian batsmen. His negative attitude was most clearly illustrated after that flurry of wickets.

Amre and Manjrekar, having come together at 73 for 4, had been at the wicket just five overs when Manjrekar edged Hansie Cronje straight to the second slip position - only no one was there. Manjrekar went on to make 32 and Amre 35.

Equally negative was the Indian approach. The opener Ravi Shastri, who made 23, managed just six scoring shots from the 124 balls he received as India added only 41 in the first session.

The captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, confirmed Shastri - who at one stage went 90 minutes without scoring - was batting to orders. 'The plan was to be cautious in the first session and then see if we could attack,' he said. Azharuddin, whose team have not won away for six years, admitted they did not really believe they could win.

Wessels later defended his decision. 'If we had four bowlers I would have waited for the new ball,' he said. 'But the three had bowled a lot and were tired. We have a lot of cricket coming up and I did not want to risk an injury.

'The ball has dominated the bat in both Tests and one of the reasons is that we have been used to preparing wickets to get results in three-day cricket. It makes it very difficult to force the pace - both sides lost wickets doing that.' Wessels insisted: 'We tried to entertain.'

When questioned about the day's lack of excitement, Azharuddin said: 'It's not an ordinary first- class game. It is a Test match.'

David Callaghan, the 27-year- old South African all-rounder who missed most of last season suffering from cancer of a testicle, is fit to play and has been included in the squad for the first four of the seven one-day internationals against India this month.

(South Africa won toss)

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 292 (B M McMillan 98, J N Rhodes 91; M Prabhakar 4-90).

INDIA - First Innings 227 (S R Tendulkar 111; B M McMillan 4-74).

SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings 252 (A C Hudson 53, D J Richardson 50; A R Kumble 6-53).

INDIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 15-0) R J Shastri b Matthews. . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 A D Jadeja c Wessels b Donald. . . . . . . . . .43 * M A Azharuddin c Richardson b Matthews. . . . .1 S R Tendulkar lbw b Donald. . . . . . . . . . . .1 S V Manjrekar not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 P K Amre not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Extras (b2 lb2 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Total (for 4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Fall: 1-68 2-70 3-71 4-73.

Did not bat: M Prabhakar, Kapil Dev, K S More, A R Kumble, J Srinath.

Bowling: Donald 20-6-43-2 (nb2); McMillan

21-6-34-0; Matthews 20-10-23-2; Cronje 18-7-32- 0; Kirsten 3-1-5-0.

Match drawn

Umpires: S Bucknor (WI), B Lambson, C

Mitchley.

First Test (Durban): Match drawn.

Third Test (Port Elizabeth): 26-30 December.

Fourth Test (Cape Town): 2-6 January.

SOUTH AFRICA SQUAD (for first four of seven one-day internationals v India, December): K C Wessels (capt), A C Hudson, P N Kirsten, J N Rhodes, D Callaghan, W J Cronje, B M McMillan, D J Richardson (wkt), C Matthews, F de Villiers, A A Donald, B N Schultz.

Comments