Update at Stumps on Day 4
India on the verge of an inevitable defeat with just the two wickets in hand were given temporary relief by a thunderstorm in the final session which has abruptly ended the fourth day's play. The rain looks pretty heavy and the outfield has collected quite a lot of water but the Proteas would need something like 30 minutes or so tomorrow to wrap up the Indian innings and also the Test Match. India are trailing behind by 30 runs with two wickets in hand. Sachin Tendulkar has become the first ever player to record 50 Test hundreds during the course of the final session while MS Dhoni was unlucky to miss out on a hundred!
The final session saw both Tendulkar and Dhoni get to the 90s. Sachin Tendulkar scored a big six off Harris to get to 95 and after that eased to his 50th Test Century. MS Dhoni missed out on a well deserving century when he got a wicked rising delivery from Steyn which he gloved behind while trying to play a cut shot. Dhoni fell on 90 (which came from 106 balls with 14 fours). The Indian Skipper's partnership with Tendulkar for the 7th wicket was 172 runs while lasting around 42 overs. Next man in Harbhajan Singh departed to the pavilion in just the second ball he faced when he edged his drive off a turning ball from Harris to slip.
Sreesanth survived 8 balls after joining Tendulkar and soon there was a wild breeze followed up by lightning and thunderstorm which put an end to the fourth day. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on a heroic 107 from 226 balls with 13 fours and a six.
Update at Tea on Day 4
Skipper MS Dhoni who came out to bat in the first ball after the Lunch Break has successfully launched a counter attack against the Proteas. Sachin Tendulkar has kept his focus intact to bat out the entire post lunch session along with Dhoni to bring down the heavy deficit down to 90 runs. The pair have added up 117 runs in 28.1 overs in this session.
Dhoni was the first to take the initiative hitting the ball hard whenever it was in his zone and getting some quick boundaries. Tendulkar has been positive right through his innings and India kept on eating the deficit gradually. The second new ball went for plenty of runs as it was coming nicely onto the bat and there were hardly any balls that beat the two batsmen. By Tea, Dhoni has moved to 72 from 83 balls with a dozen fours while Tendulkar is inching towards a possible 50th Test century! He is on 80 in 161 balls with 10 fours at the time of Tea.
Update at Lunch on Day 4
India slipped down to 277 for 6 in 77.5 overs by Lunch on the fourth day and are trailing behind by a huge margin of 207 runs. Only Sachin Tendulkar is promising to offer any resistance to the bowlers and the next man to join him after Tea is MS Dhoni who is not that experienced in these conditions. Things have changed drastically for India after the dismissal of Dravid as the Proteas removed two more batsmen in quick succession.
It was otherwise a promising start to the day with night watchman Ishant Sharma lasting about 40 minutes to support Rahul Dravid. Ishant's spirited stay came to an end when his backfoot flick off Steyn was brilliantly caught at short leg by Amla. Ishant lasted 51 balls and 69 minutes to score 23. Dravid's impressive innings came to an end because of a beauty from Morne Morkel which angled in but held its line just outside off to catch the thinnest of edges to the keeper. For all the hard work that Dravid did, he could only score 43 while batting out 109 balls.
India was still hopeful of putting up a massive fight when Laxman joined Tendulkar but the former got caught at gully while playing a loose drive away from his body off Lonwabo Tsotsobe. Laxman had a short stay in the middle lasting only 21 balls and scoring 8. Suresh Raina came in next and gifted his wicket away attempting a shocker of a shot which didn't suit the situation at all. Raina leaned back and attempted to guide an away going delivery from Kallis to thirdman but only to give catching practice to first slip! Tendulkar is now almost out of any potential partners at the other end and its a pity that he has looked very good with a solid 38 (from 75 balls with 6 fours) but is lacking any support.
- BV Swagath