Sreesanth dismisses Amla as SA reach 125/3

Cape Town: A poor shot from in-form Hashim Amla off S Sreesanth`s bowling helped India get back the momentum as the hosts were 125 for three at tea, after being put into bat, in the third and final Test at Newlands on Sunday.

A 72-run third wicket partnership between Amla (59, 80 balls, 9×4, 1×6) and Jacques Kallis (22 batting) off only 15 overs was the highlight of the South African innings.

Only 37 overs of play has been possible in the first two sessions with only nine overs being bowled in the first session due to inclement weather.

At the tea break, Kallis had AB de Villiers (14 batting) for company.

Although the Indian pace trio of Zaheer Khan (one for 52), Sreesanth (one for 50) and Ishant Sharma (one for 18) shared the spoils, the first two bowled a lot of boundary balls as the home team has hit as many as 16 boundaries.

Amla, who tasted a rare failure during the Durban Test, was back in his element as he played the pace trio with a lot of conviction, especially after second rain break before a moment of madness did him in.

The hosts were in a tricky situation at 61 for two in 21 overs at the second rain break. Amla made his intentions clear in the very first over after that break as he clipped Zaheer for three boundaries. The senior pacer was guilty of bowling juicy half volleys on Amla`s pads and got duly punished in the process.

When Sreesanth bowled outswingers, Amla drove through covers. When the temperamental Kerala speedster dug one short, South Africa`s most consistent batsmen over the last season got into perfect position to pull-it over fine-leg for maximum to complete his 19th half century in Test cricket with the help of eight fours and a six.

However, Sreesanth had the last laugh when Amla fell for the bait going for another pull-shot. Cheteshwar Pujara was stationed at deep mid-wicket for this particular shot and he took a simple catch.

As play resumed post-lunch, Ishant Sharma got into the act as he got Alviro Petersen (21, 47 balls, 3×4) to drive on the up and the snick was taken easily Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps.

Earlier, Indian captain Dhoni finally found some luck going his way as far as the spin of coin is concerned.

Dhoni won the toss for the first time in the series and put South Africa on to bat as he wanted his bowlers to make full use of the overcast conditions.

Pace spearhead Zaheer moved the ball both ways during his five over-spell.

It was no surprise that Zaheer finally got his bunny Graeme Smith (6) once again trapping the Proteas skipper plumb in front.

The delivery held its line after pitching on the off-stump as Smith played thinking it to be an away swinger.

The ball kept low and hit him on the back leg. This is the 11th time that Zaheer has dismissed Smith in all formats taken together.