Dravid fires India past S Africa

Mumbai, November 28:

Rahul Dravid played a captain’s knock of 78 not out to lead India to a series-levelling win over South Africa in the final one-day match today. India, who restricted South Africa to 221-6 after electing to field on the slow wicket, surpassed the modest target for the loss of five wickets with 15 deliveries to spare.

Dravid, lucky to survive on 32, saw India home with his 65th one-day half-century that was studded with 10 fours. The win helped India draw the five-match series 2-2 with one game washed out. Jacques Kallis hit a watchful 91 to hold the South African innings together before Shaun Pollock boosted the total with an unbeaten 30 off 17 balls. In reply, India were reduced to 83-3 before Yuvraj Singh (49) put on 79 for the fourth wicket with Dravid. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar hit their way out of trouble, adding 45 runs for the second wicket. Dravid lost Yuvraj and Mahendra Dhoni in quick succession before Mohammad Kaif kept his cool to partner his captain home.

South Africa’s top order was rattled by Irfan Pathan, who dismissed Andrew Hall in his second over and Graeme Smith in his fifth. Pathan also denied Kallis a century in the 49th over, finish with 3-20 off eight overs.