Cricket: Kirsten keeps control

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The Independent Online
India 232 South Africa 236-4 South Africa win by six wickets

India's woeful tour of South Africa continued yesterday as they slumped to a fifth defeat in their last six matches against their hosts, beaten by six wickets in a triangular series day-night match in East London.

It was India's third defeat by South Africa in the limited-overs series and followed their 2-0 reverse in the three-match Test series.

The South African opener Gary Kirsten set his side on their way to overhauling India's 232 with a fine 82 to record his 20th half-century in 64 one-day international innings. He looked set for what would have been an eighth century until he mistimed a drive off Venkatesh Prasad to dolly a catch to mid-off. He hit eight fours in his 117-ball innings.

His dismissal at 143 for 3 gave India hope but a quick stand of 56 between Jonty Rhodes, who scored 22, and Jacques Kallis, who hit an unbeaten 52, kept South Africa on track.

India's total was founded on a 117-run opening partnership between Rahul Dravid, who scored, and Saurav Ganguly, who underpinned the innings with 83, but the middle order failed to capitalise on it. Only Robin Singh with 32 in 21 balls added any urgency to the innings after Sachin Tendulkar was out for 14 and Mohammad Azharuddin went for only 13.

It was South Africa's sixth successive win in the series and their 31st in 36 one-day internationals since the start of 1996.

India and Zimbabwe meet at Centurion Park on Friday and again in Benoni on Sunday for the right to meet South Africa in the final in Durban on 12 February. Both teams have one point from four matches.

TRIANGULAR SERIES DAY-NIGHT MATCH (East London): India 232-5 (50 overs; S Ganguly 83); South Africa 236-4 (49.2 overs; G Kirsten 82). South Africa won by six wickets.

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