Harbhajan takes India to tense victory

India retained their number one test ranking after off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took five wickets to force a series-levelling victory over South Africa in the second and final test on Thursday.

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By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 18 Feb 2010, 9:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:31 AM

Harbhajan dismissed last man Morne Morkel leg before with nine balls of the match remaining after man-of-the-match Hashim Amla (123 not out), who scored his third successive test century, had almost guided the tourists to a draw.

South Africa were bowled out for 290 in their second innings as India won by an innings and 57 runs.

Morkel survived 20.4 overs with Amla, who stonewalled throughout the last day in a magnificent show of patience and control. Harbhajan finished with five for 59 off 48.3 overs.

India had to win the match to retain the top ranking as well as avoid their first series defeat at home since 2004 to Australia after losing the opening test in Nagpur.

Amla, who scored 114 in the first innings, battled hard as he forged a partnership of 70 with Wayne Parnell (22) for the eighth wicket to guide the tourists to 250 for seven at tea.

Fast bowler Ishant Sharma broke the stand soon after the break when he had Parnell caught at mid-on and then dismissed Paul Harris caught at third slip for four before Morkel forced a tense finish.

Harbhajan dismissed overnight batsman Ashwell Prince for 23, JP Duminy for six and Dale Steyn for one in a spell that destroyed South Africa’s middle-order after the tourists resumed on 115 for three.

Indian spearhead Zaheer Khan did not take the field after straining his quadricep on the fourth day when only 34.1 overs had been possible due to rain and bad light.

The overnight pair of Amla and Ashwell Prince lasted 26.4 overs before Harbhajan struck when he had Prince playing loosely to be caught at mid-off.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra took his third wicket of the innings when he dismissed AB de Villiers lbw for three with a googly just before lunch.

Amla, who was also adjudged man-of-the series, hit a double century in the first test which the tourists won by an innings and six runs in their bid to reclaim the top ranking from the hosts.

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