Ace bowler poised to steer Proteas to victory over India

Eyes will be on ace bowler Makhaya Ntini once more this morning when the Proteas go head to head with India in their third and final Test at Newlands, Cape Town.

Eyes will be on ace bowler Makhaya Ntini once more this morning when the Proteas go head to head with India in their third and final Test at Newlands, Cape Town.

This after South Africa levelled their home series against India at 1-1 by winning the second Test in Durban by 174 runs on Saturday.

Ntini led the way with 5-48 as the South African seamers ran through the tourists for 179 on the final day.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered the main resistance with an innings of 47, which included 10 fours, before falling to Andre Nel in the final over before tea.

Nel supported Ntini well with figures of 3-57, but it was all-rounder Andrew Hall who picked up the final wicket.

He had Shanthakumaran Sreesanth caught behind off the first ball of a new spell to end a tense final session, which saw tempers fray as the tourists expressed concern about the light, though TV replays suggested the ball might have missed the edge.

Makhaya has been searching for one or two things and today it was fantastic to se him in full flight.

The weather was a factor for much of the day and bad light delayed the start for 45 minutes and meant that only 27 balls were bowled during the morning.

Two of them proved too much for Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Jaffer, however, as India slumped from their overnight 38-2 to 45-4, having been set a victory target of 354 by Graeme Smith on the previous day.

Tendulkar was adjudged lbw to Ntini's fifth delivery, which was angled in from outside off stump and trapped him on the back foot.

The only difficulty for umpire Asad Rauf was to judge whether it would have cleared the stumps.

Jaffer could have no complaints as he perished for 28 after an awful stroke.

He attempted to hook a ball from well outside off-stump and only succeeded in top-edging a catch to Nel at mid-on, leaving VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly with a tough job of trying to rebuild the innings.

Dhoni batted well after a painful blow from his first delivery.

They were happy to go off when the light faded again, but a prompt start was possible after lunch and India's decline continued when man of the match Ntini dug in a short ball at Ganguly (26), who could only fend it to Herschelle Gibbs at gully.

Dhoni was greeted with another rising delivery which struck him a painful blow on the hand, which required treatment from the team physio.

He held his nerve, however, and dug in to play an impressively mature innings.

The wickets continued to fall at the other end as Laxman (15) was bowled by an off-cutter from Nel and Anil Kumble (11) gave a catch to short leg after a perfectly directed bouncer from Hall.

Zaheer Khan joined Dhoni in a defiant stand of 59 in 10 overs before Dhoni tried to bring up a half century by flashing Nel away through the covers and edged to keeper Mark Boucher.

The final session saw Sreesanth need prolonged treatment following a painful blow on the right forearm.

Aand Zaheer (21), continued his resistance until Nel produced another short one, which squared him up and took the edge, giving Hall the catch at third slip.

Hall finished things off with the ball at the start of the next over to leave the third Test starting on today, as a series decider. - BBC