Pollock's magic leaves India spellbound

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The Independent Online

The South African captain Shaun Pollock led from the front in his bid to secure a series victory over India, ripping out the their top order on the second day of the Second Test at Port Elizabeth. After his side were bowled out for 362, a new-ball burst of three wickets in 20 deliveries left the Indians reeling at 15 for 3. By the close, they had mustered 182 for 8.

Shiv Sunder Das fell lbw, Rahul Dravid lost his middle stump, and then came the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, who mistimed a pull to mid-on. The visitors further collapsed to 119 for 8 and faced the prospect of following on. But V V S Laxman remained unbeaten on 77 off 102 balls with 10 fours, sharing a stand of 63 with Anil Kumble. Laxman made an astonishing 281 against Australia in Kolkata in March to permit victory after following on for only the third time in Test history, but he is unlikely to repeat such heroics on the bouncier surfaces here.

Pollock took 10 wickets when South Africa won the first of the three Tests. He was the first to fall yesterday as his team resumed on 237 for 5, but Herschelle Gibbs carried on his merry way, scoring 196 off 354 balls with 25 fours and a six.

He received able support from wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who made 68 not out off just 70 balls after being dropped at slip by Dravid off Harbhajan Singh on 31. Gibbs was finally dismissed by Tendulkar, caught in the gully by Virender Sehwag, while Javagal Srinath's exemplary seam bowling accoun-ted for three more victims to leave him with excellent figures of 6 for 76.

Continuing confusion over their batting order saw India experimenting with their gloveman, Deep Dasgupta, opening the innings in only his second Test, Dravid dropping down to three and Laxman at six. It was all to no avail.

The captain, Saurav Ganguly, managed to hold firm after the initial devastation, scoring 42 at a lively rate, but Pollock claimed him too for figures of 4 for 38. Jacques Kallis grabbed a brace of victims, and a run-out left India with plenty of work to do to save the series.

* Habibul Bashar's maiden Test century proved futile as Bangladesh failed to avoid the follow-on against Zimbabwe in Chittagong. He was finally bowled by Grant Flower for 108 before tea as Bangladesh collapsed to 251 all out in reply to Zimbabwe's 542 for 7 declared. The hosts survived to reach 15 without loss at the close.