India shatter South Africa’s dream

Bangalore, November 19:

Irfan Pathan shone with bat and ball as India ended record-chasing South Africa’s unbeaten streak with a six-wicket victory in the second one-dayer here on Saturday. Pathan grabbed three wickets in his first four overs to restrict South Africa to 169-9 and then hit a valuable 37 as India cruised home in the 36th over to level the five-match series 1-1. Virender Sehwag roared back to form with an unbeaten 77. Graeme Smith’s South Africa needed a win to equal Australia’s world record of 21 unbeaten matches in 2003.

Andrew Hall’s 32 was the top score as wickets tumbled at regular intervals after Indian captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and elected to field on his home ground. After Pathan’s early strikes, the Indian spinners choked the runs on a dry wicket with left-armer Murali Kartik conceding just 16 runs in his 10 overs and Harbhajan Singh and Sehwag finishing with two wickets each. India also found runs hard to come by against the spot-on South African attack, getting off the mark with the 19th delivery and managing just seven runs in the first five overs.

Sachin Tendulkar, who equalled Pakistani Wasim Akram’s world record of 356 one-day appearances, scored two runs off 22 balls. Super-sub Gautam Gambhir hit seven boundaries in his 38 before being run out by Justin Ontong in the 17th over to make India 52-2. Left-hander Pathan helped Sehwag add 53 for the third wicket. Sehwag and Dravid put on 50 for the fourth wicket to ensure victory for the hosts.