One more master-piece from Very very Special Laxman scripted the 88 runs victory for Team India with his Very Very Special innings of 96 runs in the second innings in 2nd test match at Kingsmead, Durban. Team India humbled Proteas by series levelling win at Kingsmead, Durban. VVS Laxman along with Zaheer Khan, Sreesanth and Harbhajan were the architects of this 2nd Indian victory on the South Africa soil in last 18 years. I must say, decision of not using UDRS in the series played important role in this victory of Team India as Proteas became victim of 2 bad decisions. Had UDRS used in the series then I think this test would have been ended in favour of Proteas but nevertheless victory is victory. VVS Laxman adjudged Man of the Match for his fantastic innings.
Return of Zaheer Khan bolstered the Indian bowling attack but it was important that somebody supports Zaheer Khan from the other end. Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh supported Zaheer Khan very well from the other end and picked up crucial wickets at crucial moments and helped India in taking crucial lead of 74 runs in first innings by bundling out South Africa for just 131 runs. I feel wicket of Kallis was the turning point and I feel best batsmen of South African team got out to the best ball of the match. That ball on which Kallis got out in the second innings was really a snorter. India did very well with the ball but I feel apart from Laxman and Dhoni all the batsmen were disappointing. I feel Pujara too an extent showed character and technique but he also failed to score big runs. I think Pujara have it in him to stay in International cricket for long. He has grit and determination to do well in International cricket.
I feel Sachin Tendulkar's approach in this match was very care-free as he tried to play shot moment he came onto the pitch but I feel his assessment about the pitch led him to do so because this was the pitch where every batsmen was unassured of staying long so it was important to play shots right from the word go and score as many runs as possible and thats what all the batsmen tried. Laxman was lucky in terms of scoring runs because he was also beaten on several occasions on this pitch but he cashed on his luck and played very well.I think partnership between Zaheer and Laxman in the second innings played crucial role in India's victory as both helped India to go past 300 runs mark in second innings. MS Dhoni again found himself lucky by winning the test match after losing the crucial toss. I don't know what has happened to his luck with the toss. He lost 13 tosses out 17 but I must say as long as team is winning, I feel losing toss will not matter that much. I feel Ishant Sharma is big let down in the series so far and I feel he should be dropped from the next test match at Capetown.
I believe Umesh Yadav deserves to play the next test match as he has pace and sharpness plus he is unknown quantity for the South African batsmen. I am also not happy the way Sehwag played in this match. He threw his wicket after settling down in both the innings. Had he stayed for some more time on the crease then it would have made Team India's victory easy and tension free.
For Proteas, Smith was lucky with the toss but his batsmen let him down big time in both the innings. Certainly Durban wicket was not 131 wicket. Hashim Amla finally got out without scoring half-century or century against India in his 50th test match at his home-ground and I must say that played crucial role in Proteas defeat because Amla is the Pillar of South African batting line-up. I feel Proteas were unlucky also to an extent in terms of getting out. Kallis got run-out in unusual fashion in first innings and second innings he got snorter from Sreesanth. DeVilliers and Boucher got out to dubious decisions. Proteas bowlers bowled very well in the match but didn't get much support from their batters. I feel Morkel, Steyn and Tsotsobe bowled their heart out. I feel Paul Harris was big let down in this match and I don't understand why Proteas selecting him because he doesn't look like an International bowler.
Lastly verbal spat between Sreesanth and Greame Smith in South Africa's second innings did not help Proteas cause and they lost the match from that moment. I still feel South Africa will win this test series and result will be 2-1 in favour Proteas because conditions suits to Proteas more than us and remember, on las tour we won at Wanderers but lost at Durban and Capetown and lost the series.