A double hundred from Sachin built around grinding fifties from Vijay, Badrinath, Dhoni, Saha and then fireworks from Harbhajan enabled India to take a 214-run lead, leaving South Africa to chase 215 with 10 overs left on day 4 and on a tricky last day pitch. Zaheer Khan then picked up a hat-trick in his second over, and Ishant picked up two more before Harbhajan picked up another wicket on the last ball of the day. South Africa need 180 on the final day with AB deVilliers, Steyn and the tail remaining.
Wait, that was the version in my head, did I say that out loud?
Actually, Sachin made a hundred and got out, there were no fifties, and the lower order crumbled after starts. It was a merciful killing, really - who wanted to watch more awful delaying-the-inevitable stuff?
India were shit and that's the truth. Everyone is to blame - selectors, management, players. The selectors for throwing a largely untested keeper into the deep end, as a batsman no less, when the likes of Dinesh Karthik, who has faced South Africa before, are around. The team management for picking Saha in the actual lineup - the bowling is weak, it's a flat pitch, South Africa's batting lineup is strong... Mithun could have been a surprise weapon. And besides, in the event of a batting collapse, as we saw, an extra batsman is hardly going to help - an inept one no less.
The players are like zoo lions who are fed all their meat in the cage and don't have to go hunt for it, and when a bigger predator comes along, they don't know how to fight back. A lot of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh really isn't going to raise standards - they simply weren't prepared for the Steynmeister and Morkel and Mindy (Harris) (yeah I'm calling him that now).
Obviously we know what the backup plan is - prepare a square turner at the Eden Gardens. But what of that? Mindy outperformed both Indian spinners - granted, he was bowling on an imaginary set of stumps right next to the actual ones... that actually seemed to work for him though. Harby, flight the ball please. Duminy looks more threatening than you.
Laxman will probably be back, but if he isn't, either Karthik will return or Raina will make his debut, which is ridiculous... his handling of the short stuff is exceptionally bad. Sreesanth is unlikely to play, having been inactive for a month now. Of course, I don't know what goes on in the minds of those in control. It takes one to know one, and I'm not a moron.