South Africa 84 & 163-4 India 249 & 236: Prince facing a losing battle against India

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The Independent Online

Ashwell Prince hit an unbeaten half-century to keep alive South Africa's hopes of an improbable victory in the first Test against India in Johannesburg. Chasing 402 - the highest target ever set here - the Proteas ended the third day on 163 for 5, with much responsibility resting on Prince's shoulders. The only support he received was from Jacques Kallis, who made 27.

The hosts made the worst possible start to their run-chase, when Herschelle Gibbs collected his second duck of the match, edged to Sachin Tendulkar at first slip off the bowling of Zaheer Khan to leave the hosts nought for one at lunch.

Captain Graeme Smith did not fare much better, scoring 10 runs before edging a short ball from Sreesanth to Virender Sehwag at cover. Sreesanth then got late movement to induce an edge to keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni from Hashim Amla, while AB De Villers was run out by a direct hit from Zaheer to leave the Proteas on 120 for 5. Mark Boucher then joined Prince at the crease and struck an unbeaten 23 as the pair took their side to 163.

Earlier, India, resuming on 146 for 5, put on another 90 runs to add to their first-innings total of 249.

Even before seeing off the South Africans' top order in the second innings, they held the whip hand in the match because of their first-innings bowling display, skittling out their opponents for 84 - their lowest score since their re-admission to international cricket in 1991.

VVS Laxman converted his overnight 42 into his 26th Test half-century to end up comfortably his side's top scorer with 73.