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Cricinfo: India in South Africa 2006-07

South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban


Top Performer of the match: A WMD called Ntini

It was a memorable end to a memorable year. Makhaya Ntini's fifty eight wickets in 10 Tests - the most among fast bowlers and second in the list - gives you an indication of the zone he's been in and today he capped it all off with a hostile spell. His three wickets in the first innings dismantled the top order - Jaffer, Tendulkar and Ganguly being the victims - while his five-for int e second sealed the issue.

India were at the receiving end of his fifth five-wicket haul of the year, all at home. His 6 for 100 against Australia at Johannesburg was in a losing cause but the rest - 5 for 94, 5 for 51 (both against New Zealand at Centurion), 5 for 35 against New Zealand at the Wanderers, and 8 for 89 in this game - have lead South Africa to wins. Unlike in the first Test of this series, he managed a slightly fuller length and, as usual, pounded in from the first ball to the last.

It was a pitch that required the bowlers to bend their back and Ntini, South Africa's spearhead, did exactly that. He spoke about the extra hours he'd put in the gym and got to India with his sheer persistence. From wide of the crease, he angled it sharply into the right-handers and nailed the key wicket of Tendulkar twice. The first case was indiscretion on the batsman's part, trying to carve it over the slips, but the second occasion was only because of Ntini's scorching pace. He undid Ganguly with a snorter of a bouncer first up and nailed him with an incisive away-cutter in the second.

Entering the game under immense pressure, South Africa needed one of their main weapons to fire and Ntini responded in fine style. He even stuck around for 46 minutes in the first innings, accompanying Morne Morkel in a crucial 32-run last-wicket stand. He didn't need to bat in the second innings as South Africa declared but ended the year in the most emphatic fashion, cutting a swathe through India's top order and steering his side to a series-leveling win.



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