South Africa vs India 1st Test, Highlights: India force draw after South Africa choke in dramatic final session

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers added 205 runs for the fifth wicket to give South Africa a chance to register the highest run chase in Tests. The game went into the final over and ended in a draw. Follow highlights from the day's play here.

Updated: December 22, 2013 23:12 IST
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India and South Africa do battle as the first Test between the sides heads towards a thrilling finish. Follow live cricket updates: (Scorecard/Commentary/ Final Report)

21.55 (IST): Virat Kohli on Cheteshwar Pujara: Pujara has been brilliant for us. It was fun batting with him. Hopeful of having many such partnerships in future.

21.53 (IST): Man of the Match Virat Kohli: There are three tours that are extremely important for youngsters, Tour of Eng, Aus and SA. This was an imp Test for me. A 100 in both innings would've been perfect but I was happy with 96. Guys got used to conditions during ODIs and felt more comfortable and that was the key.

21.52 (IST): MS Dhoni on Durban Test: The Durban wicket is testing for batsmen. Will be good exposure for batsmen and how bowlers prepare themselves.

21.52 (IST):MS Dhoni on Zaheer Khan: Playing away from sub-continent, experience is very important. Zaheer did very well in this game.

21.51 (IST): MS Dhoni: Very happy with performance. Just 3-4 days after ODI series, we had little time to prepare. Lot of pressure on fast bowlers .Brilliant display from bowlers throughout. Virat and Pujara's innings too were exceptional. A good learning for the bowlers to deal with tough situations. Good learning for the boys.

21.51 (IST): Graeme Smith on Morne Morkel's recovery: Morne has had rehab but he's struggling. Has only 20% chance of playing the next game. He has worked very hard.

21.51 (IST): Graeme Smith on Vernon Philander: Vernon is pushing himself to get into the all-rounder category. Important 50 in the first innings. Need to regroup now.

21.50 (IST): Graeme Smith on Durban Test: Its important to remain focused for the next game. We played well yesterday and today. We go to Durban with that.

21.45 (IST): Graeme Smith: Credit to India, they played extremely well in the first 4 days. Credit to our guys to stay alive, specially today. Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander took a call in the end in the best interest of the team. Would have gone for it if Faf du Plessis was around. Anyone who saw the game will appreciate the way AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis played.

21.19 (IST): Dale Steyn gets a six off the final ball but that's not enough as South Africa finish on 450 for seven, leading to a draw. After five days of riveting and compelling cricket from both sides, the result only seems fair on both sets of players. This game will go down in the annals of the game as one of the best ever. Both captains will be proud of their side's efforts throughout the Test and especially on the final day when it could have actually gone eitherway. Sensational game of cricket, really.

21.11 (IST): Zaheer Khan comes in. He defends away each delivery bowled to him as the few people in the crowd cannot believe what they're watching. They want him to go for a tonk or two. He only has a leave to offer. South Africa 442 for 7. Need 16 to win from 6 deliveries.

21.06 (IST): A maiden wicket from Shami brings Dale Steyn to the wicket with South Africa needing 16 runs to win from the last two overs. Are we witnessing the best game of Test cricket ever?

21.00 (IST): Faf du Plessis is gone! What a game this is turning out to be. Sharp fielding from Rahane who gets a direct hit at the non-striker's end to find Du Plessis short of his wicket. South Africa 442 for 7. Need 16 runs to win from 19 balls. India need 3 wickets.

20.54 (IST): Philander gets a couple and a four off Shami's first two deliveries. Immense pressure on the youngster. This could be the over that can give SA a chance to go for a win.

20.53 (IST): Three runs from Zaheer's over. South Africa 430 for six. Need 28 to win from 30 balls. India need 4 wickets.

20.49 (IST): Zaheer comes back into the attack from round the wicket. If South Africa pull off this chase, they would have, to their name, the highest successful run chase across two formats (Tests and ODIs) at the same venue.

20.46 (IST): A punch off the back foot gives Philander a boundary off Ishant. South Africa 427 for six in 130 overs. Need 31 to win from 36 balls. India need 4 wickets.

20.41 (IST): Its evident that Faf du Plessis has shut shop, allowing Philander to try his luck with the shots. They might want to take it till 15-20 to get from last 2-3 overs and then go after the bowling. Just two runs from the Shami over. South Africa 420 for six. Need 38 runs to win from 7 overs. India need 4 wickets.

20.40 (IST): A tight over from Ishant in the circumstances. Just a single from it. South Africa 418 for 6. They need 40 to win from 48 balls. India need 4 wickets.

20.31 (IST): Philander finishes Shami's over with a vital boundary. South Africa are 417 for 6. They now need 41 runs to win from 54 balls. India need 4 wickets.

20.25 (IST): Latedrama at the Wanderers! Shami gets JP Duminy to the ball onto his stumps. What a wonderful game of cricket this has been. South Africa 408 for six. Need 50 runs to win from 66 balls. India need 4 wickets.

20.21 (IST): JP Duminy plays an exceptional drive off the first ball of Shami's over. The youngster comes back with a short ball that Duminy is happy to defend.

20.18 (IST): A lot happening here! Ishant pulls up with a limp and holds his ankle. Then follows it up with a ball that tested Duminy with uneven bounce and then a slower ball that beat Duminy's outside edge. He completes an exceptional over. 403 for 5. South Africa need 55 runs to win from 12 overs.

20.15 (IST): Here comes a wicket! Ishant Sharma gets rid of AB de Villiers who was looking to guide the ball down to third man but ends up playing it onto his stumps. Has it come too late, though? South Africa 402 for 5. Need 56 runs to win from 12.5 overs.

20.13 (IST): A good over in the current context from Shami. Just two runs from it. South Africa 402 for 4. Need 56 to win from 13 overs, since a minimum of 15 needed to be bowled since 04.30 local time.

20.11 (IST): FACTOID: This is the first time any side has gone past the 400-run mark batting last at Johannesburg. The previous best was held by England, when they scored 351 in 1995.

20.09 (IST): Shami is introduced and he gets the ball to climb on Du Plessis. He was caught unaware and had to act at the last minute. He somehow puts bat to it.

20.07 (IST): A statement of intent from Du Plessis. He goes down on one knee, and hits one through the empty mid-wicket region for four. It brings up the 200-run partnership between these two batsmen. What a stand this has been. South Africa 400 for 4 in 122 overs. Need 58 to win from 13 overs (minimum).

20.04 (IST): The slips are gone and Ishant Sharma has the ball.

20.01 (IST): AB de Villiers brings up 18th ton! This has been exceptional display of batting from the Proteas.The last over of the day left. South Africa need 66 runs to win from 14 overs (minimum).

19.49 (IST): Leading edge! Zaheer bowls from round the wicket and Du Plessis shuffled across and tried to guide the ball down the leg side but the leading edge flew in the opposite direction to the fielder in the deep, allowing him to collect a couple of runs. South Africa 384 for 4. Need 74 runs to win from 16 overs.

19.43 (IST): Elsewhere in Sharjah, Mohammad Hafeez has scored a ton in the third ODI against Sri Lanka.

19.40 (IST): Dhoni has a fielder deep point as Zaheer continues. Wonder what happened to Shami and Ishant. South Africa 375 for 4. Need 83 runs to win from 18 overs.

19.36 (IST): Oh dear...look away if you're an Indian fan. Ashwin continues and gives away wide fours. The deficit is coming down with a thud. South Africa are on the cusp of creating history.

19.30 (IST): Zaheer continues, and continues from round the wicket. 92 runs to win from 20 overs.

19.26 (IST): Century for Faf du Plessis! He flicks the ball towards deep square leg to reach his third Test ton. What a knock it has been and a vital time it has come in. Coming in with a poor form, he couldn't have used a better platform to prove his worth. South Africa 360 for 4 in 113 overs. Need 98 runs to win from 22 overs.

19.18 (IST): More runs through the off-side. Zaheer offers a lot of width once again. A backfoot punch to the boundary takes Du Plessis to 95. South Africa 349 for 4.

19.11 (IST): Zaheer gets one ball to move into the De Villiers after pitching it on a crack and then follows it up with a ball that holds its line and allows De Villiers to free his arms and take four runs from it. South Africa 340 for 4.

19.08 (IST): So just the one over for Kohli as Ashwin comes back. He starts from around the wicket. with first slip, leg slip and short leg in place for Du Plessis.

19.06 (IST): Half-hearted appeal from Zaheer for lbw! A delivery that was angled into AB de Villiers hit him on the back thigh. Would have gone above the stumps. South Africa 336 for 4. 122 runs to get from 28 overs (minimum).

19.04 (IST): Zaheer Khan from the other end, and as expected he starts from round the wicket.

19.01 (IST): So Virat Kohli will begin the final session. Dhoni never fails to spring a surprise. Kohli has had an exceptional time with the bat in this game. Can he now inspire with the ball?

19.00 (IST): The batsmen have walked out, the Indian huddle has had its final pep talk, the field has been set. The final session of what has been an exceptional game of Test cricket is about to begin with both teams in a tussle to take the unassailable 1-0 lead.

18.49 (IST): FACTOID: The highest successful fourth innings run chase is currently held by West Indies, who chased down 417 against Australia in 2003. South Africa are on the cusp of creating history if they pull off a win by chasing 458.

18.41 (IST): It's tea time! What a turn around this by South Africa with chief architects AB de Villiers (72) and Faf du Plessis (88) looking set to snatch a victory from India's jaws. The equation is as follows:

- South Africa need 127 runs to win from a minimum of 30 overs.

- India need six wickets.

18.33 (IST): Poor delivery from Ishant! It was a length delivery and Du Plessis got behind it quickly and pulled it over the in-field to the mid-wicket boundary. South Africa 328 for 4.

18.18 (IST): With each boundary that is coming in every over, the chances of a draw is slowly dipping. Both sides seem to be in a mood to go all in.

18.17 (IST): FACTOID: This is now the second highest 4th innings total at the Wanderers.

18.16 (IST): Dhoni is yet to resort to defensive tactics. He too seems up for a fight. He probably believes he is one wicket away from exposing the second half of the line-up. This game has the potential to go down as a historic one, irrespective of the result.

18.14 (IST): Zaheer has strayed down the leg once again. Two boundaries off his over. 313 for 4 in 98 overs. SA need 145 runs to win from a minimum of 37 overs.

18.12 (IST): Still a long way to go for the hosts but the influx of regular boundaries will give Dhoni a bit of a headache.

18.05 (IST): A snorter from Zaheer. AB de Villiers had no clue that ball had so much bounce on it. It was a length ball that suddenly rose up, probably off a crack. Du Plessis put his bat behind it but only just, as he took his eyes off the ball. It brought up the 300 for South Africa.

18.00 (IST): Two boundaries come off Zaheer's over - one each through fine leg and third man. South Africa 298 for four in 94 overs. The partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis has gone past 100. South Africa need 160 runs off 41 overs (minimum). This game could go either way now.

17.48 (IST): The South African pair look very settled here. Suddenly, the target doesn't look too hard to achieve. If they go in for the Tea break without losing another wicket, they might as well fancy their chances. As for India, the bowlers were exceptional in the first essay and need to match that level now under pressure.

17.32 (IST): South Africa have now reached their highest fourth innings total against India. At 280 for four, they need 178 more runs to win. Ishant Sharma comes into the attack to stop them from doing that. Interesting hour of play ahead.

17.28 (IST): Fifty Number 34 for AB de Villiers in Tests! What an integral player he has been for South Africa across all formats! More importantly, his partnership with Faf that he currently building could help them save the Test and even try to secure a win from it. He walked in with the fall of Jacques Kallis and has been positive from the outset.

17.24 (IST): Ishant bowls an over-pitched ball on the legs to AB de Villiers who flicks it through mid-wicket to the boundary.

17.23 (IST): Ishant Sharma comes into the attack now. He starts with three slips and a short leg to AB de Villiers.

17.19 (IST): In the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2012, Faf du Plessis's fighting ton had saved South Africa on the final day of the match. That day he took 178 balls for his fifty. Today, his half-century has taken 142 balls.

17.12 (IST): Oh, what a ball! That one was pitching on off and moving away from AB de Villiers, beating the outside edge of his bat. India need a wicket here.

17.11 (IST): Meanwhile, in Sharjah, Sri Lanka have lost an early wicket against Pakistan in the third One-Day International.

17.05 (IST): Shami bangs one in and Faf du Plessis pulls it to the boundary to bring up his third Test half-century. He seems to be on course to repeat his performance from Adelaide 2012.

17.03 (IST): Shami gets the first big appeal with the new ball. The ball turned sharply into the batsman after pitching. There was a clear inside edge before hitting onto the pads. South Africa 255 for 4.

16.59 (IST): De Villiers get two loose deliveries in that over and he gets two consecutive boundaries off it.

16.58 (IST): Zaheer comes back into the attack with the new ball in his hand. He is still bowling from round the wicket.

16.55 (IST): Kohli continues, perhaps for the last time for now as the new ball will be due after the current over. Meanwhile, 50-run stand between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis comes up.

16.49 (IST): For those who missed the first session, here's a quick wrap: India started with Petersen's wicket by Shami, Jacques Kallis played some exquisite strokes before being hard done by a poor umpiring decision that gave Zaheer Khan his 300th Test wicket. At the end, meanwhile, Faf du Plessis has been as steady as a rock. Hosts need a little over 200 to win while India chase six wickets, probably five if Morne Morkel fails to come out and bat.

16.44 (IST): Dhoni continues with Virat Kohli as well. The stump mic picked up Dhoni saying something on the lines of 'Don't try too hard, bowl wicket to wicket' to his bowler . South Africa 241 for 4.

16.41 (IST): Ravichandran Ashwin has the ball in his hand. He continues from around the wicket and gives one run away in the over. South Africa 237 for four.

16.40 (IST): The second session is about to get underway. It will be interesting to see how the Saffers approach this game from here.

16.06 (IST): Lunch time! That's the end of the first session. South Africa go in with 236 for four. They have been positive in terms of scoring their runs but have lost a couple of crucial wickets of Alviro Petersen and Jacques Kallis. Faf du Plessis continues to fight on with AB de Villiers at the crease. Can they recreate the Adelaide 2012 magic? They need 222 runs to win from the remaining two sessions while India are six wickets away from taking a 1-0 lead.

16.00 (IST): Big appeal! Shami looks convinced. The ball pitched on off and turned into De Villiers and hit him on the back pad. The umpire says not out and the replays suggest it may have just clipped the top of off-stump.

15.59 (IST): Mohammed Shami comes back into the attack, to replace Kohli.

15.52 (IST): Big turn for Ashwin! Faf went on his back foot to a ball that pitched outside off-stump and moved in sharply. Ashwin is bowling a good, attacking line here.

15.48 (IST): Now Virat Kohli comes into the attack. He is seen off with much ease from the two batsmen.

15.47 (IST): Ever since arriving at the wicket on Day 4, Du Plessis has been resolute. His approach has clearly been to protect his wicket and avoid a collapse. He can take heart from his own performance against Australia in Adelaide last year and look to repeat performance today. At the moment, he has the same partner from that day, AB de Villiers. South Africa 223 for 4.

15.41 (IST): Ishant's length has not troubled the South African batsman today. He bowls one fractionally over-pitched and AB de Villiers drives to the extra cover boundary. South Africa 220 for 4.

15.33 (IST): Ravichandran Ashwin into the attack with half an hour of play to go before lunch.

15.21 (IST): That Kallis wicket could be the tipping point for South Africa's downfall today. And unfortunately it has come due to an umpire error. Lot of responsibility on AB de Villiers's shoulders now. South Africa 205 for 4.

15.16 (IST): There comes the 300th Test wicketfor Zaheer. He traps Kallis in front of the stumps but the big South African seemed unhappy. You can't blame him as replays showed that there was a big inside edge. South Africa four down now for 197.

15.02 (IST): And there comes another one of those good deliveries, taking Kallis by surprise this time. The South African was looking to play a forward defensive stroke but the length ball seemed to climb unexpectedly. An outside edge flies past the slips. The seam probably landed on one of those cracks that led the ball to behave so differently in the end. That must have taken Kallis back to the day when Sreesanth offered something nastier. He'd be glad it didn't have the same effect today. South Africa 194 for three.

15.01 (IST): Zaheer's around the wicket line has been ineffective so far. Apart from a couple of testing deliveries, he has allowed both Kallis and Du Plessis to free their arms and picked up boundaries.

14.55 (IST): Ishant comes back into the attack.

14.54 (IST): But his line and length against Kallis is poor as he strays outside the off-stump, allowing Kallis to cover drive him for a four. South Africa 179 for 3.

14.51 (IST): What a ball from Zaheer! He continues around the wicket, angles the ball into Faf and gets it to straighten after pitching to beat Faf's bat. South Africa 174 for 3.

14.47 (IST): Kallis gets another drive going! This time its down the ground. India need to get rid of him before he takes the game away.

14.44 (IST): Almost bowled! Du Plessis defends a yorker from Zaheer and the ball pops up under the bat and falls just inches beside the leg stump.

14.39 (IST): Kallis is unleashing boundaries here. After cover driving Zaheer in the previous over, he hits Shami in front of point. Good sign of positive play from the big South African here.

14.32 (IST): Zaheer comes into the attack and starts off from around the wicket. He offers a poor, over-pitched delivery to Kallis who cover drives it to perfection and picks up an easy boundary. Zaheer follows it up with a fuller delivery that Kallis had to dig out. SA 156 for three.

14.30 (IST): Half-chance! Shami bowls one on the pads to Kallis who attempts a flick. The ball is just an inch or two away from the reach of Pujara at short leg.

14.28 (IST): Ishant is troubling Faf du Plessis here. The ball is pitching and moving into the right hander who is shuffling across pretty late, increasing the chances of a leg before dismissal. Ishant needs to pitch it further up.

14.20 (IST): Played on! Shami strikes to remove Alviro Petersen. After facing a stinging inswinging yorker in the previous ball, Petersen was a bit tentative. He ended up playing the ball onto his stumps. He falls for 76. SA 143 for 3 in 49.2 overs.

14.14 (IST): Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are on the verge of individual milestones. Zaheer is on 299 Test wickets, while Ishant has 148.

14.05 (IST): FACTOID: India has never lost to South Africa at Johannesburg, with their only win coming in the same venue.

14.03 (IST): Shami's over ends with an appeal for leg before, but the ball, that hit his front pad below the knee roll, was drifting down the leg side. Good call from the umpire. South Africa 138 for two.

13.59 (IST): Mohammed Shami starts the proceedings on the final Day. He gets some swing straightaway. Hint of late swing away from the right-handed Alviro Petersen.

13.48 (IST): Shaun Pollock believes the pitch, that saw uneven bounce due to the cracks on Day 4, will continue to behave similarly. He also says that South African batsmen have to get stuck in and stay for a long period and hope for a win or a draw.

13.31 (IST): In Johannesburg however, two sets of teams are gearing themselves for a compelling day of cricket. After their meek surrender in the ODI series, not many expected India to put up a fight against the mighty South Africans. But, they've been a different side in white kits and have bossed most of the sessions played so far. The most important ones, however, will take place today. Can India register their second Test win in Johannesburg and take a 1-0 lead in the series, or will South Africa pull off a record chase? We will have to wait and watch. Not long before the start of play.

13.27 (IST): Elsewhere in Australia, England's premier off-spinner Graeme Swann has quit international cricket with immediate effect, in the middle of the ongoing Ashes 2013-14. Tributes have been flowing in following Swann's sudden decision.

13:00 (IST): At the end of Day 4, India's batting hero Cheteshwar Pujara was confident that the visitors had enough runs on the board. "The conditions will be a little more difficult on the final day. We have got enough runs," he said. However, Pujara did add that India needed to pick up early wickets.

The final reckoning

Over the past four days Johannesburg has witnessed the ebb and flow of Test cricket as the first game of the India vs South Africa series has lived up to expectations. The match at the Wanderers enters the final day with India on top, but all three results still possible. The permutations and combinations are as follows:

- India need eight wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series

- South Africa need to score 320 runs to win. Stalwarts Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla have already been dismissed while the injured Morne Morkel will bat only if necessary.

- South Africa need to play out 90 overs to secure a draw.

Sounds simple? It really is, as the top two Test sides in the world have ensured that the match goes down to the wire. (Proteas face epic fifth day)

At the close of play on Day 4, the Proteas finished on 138/2 in their second innings in pursuit of a world record victory target of 458. The odds are stacked heavily in India's favour to go 1-0 up. On Day 4, however, the hosts did well to recover from the 222-run partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli and bowl the Indians out for 421. Pujara went past 150 for the fourth time in his Test match career to finish on 153 (270 balls, 21 fours) while Kohli finished four runs short of his second century in the match (193 balls, 9 fours). (Kohli falls short of milestone)

Once the partnership had been broken, the Proteas took the last eight Indian wickets for 106 runs, thus removing the need for MS Dhoni to make a declaration. Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis finished with identical figures of 3/68 while the two spinners, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir, took two wickets each.

The task faced by the South African batters today can be compared with the 148 overs that they batted out to secure a memorable draw against Australia at Adelaide a year ago or the 163 overs that Mike Atherton's England team survived against the Proteas at the Wanderers Stadium in 1995.

The stage is set. The task is simple. Only one of either Smith or Dhoni will be smiling in a few hour's time.

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