CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):
An unbeaten 114-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar swung the series-deciding third Test back towards India at stumps on day two yesterday, despite a fighting 161 from South Africa's Jacques Kallis.
Gambhir reached 65 not out - a 15th Test half-century - and Tendulkar supported with an unbeaten 49 as India recovered from 28-2 to close on 142-2 at Newlands, 220 runs behind the Proteas' first-innings 362.
In the see-saw battle, which top-ranked India have to win for a first series triumph in South Africa, Kallis had earlier hit his 39th Test century in a seven-and-a-half hour vigil as the home team crumbled around him - eventually losing their last six wickets for 100 runs.
The last wicket
Kallis put on 52 for the last wicket with Lonwabo Tsotsobe (eight not out) to pass 150 for the first time in his home city of Cape Town and lift South Africa, after they had slipped from 232-4 overnight to 283-8 under a new-ball barrage from fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.
Kallis also played with bruising to his rib area and a muscle strain after being hit by a bouncer on the right side of his chest. South Africa's team doctor said Kallis would be able to bat in the second innings, but would not field for the rest of the match.
"It was a bit sore during the innings, but you just get on with the job at hand," Kallis said. "It was nice to contribute in a big way in such a big game.
"You grow up on these wickets, you generally learn how to play here and when you're in form it certainly makes life easier. The wicket went round a little bit, so I think we did well to get to 360. Hopefully we can get a few early wickets tomorrow (Tuesday)."
In the face of a swinging and seaming attack, Kallis anchored South Africa's effort, reaching his 100 off 209 balls with a single to fine leg. That moved him level with Australia's Ricky Ponting in second place on the all-time list of Test century makers, with 39. Tendulkar leads with 50.
Gambhir and Tendulkar then seized control for India with their partnership after Virender Sehwag (13) had fallen to a Graeme Smith catch off Dale Steyn and Rahul Dravid (5) was run out by A.B. de Villiers, attempting a quick single when Gambhir was dropped by Alviro Petersen.
Gambhir hit eight fours and was dropped twice in his comeback innings after missing India's series-leveling victory in the second Test in Durban due to a hand injury.
The vastly experienced Tendulkar had five fours, one a sublime straight drive off Morne Morkel, to guide the tourists safely to the close.
Earlier, Sreesanth had led India's bowlers with 5-99 - just a third five-wicket haul in Tests for the fiery-fast man - which included two wickets in two balls, as India seized the early initiative in bright sunshine. Left-armer Zaheer Khan finished with 3-89.
"We are looking at it positively," Sreesanth said. "Hopefully, we can still put the South Africans under pressure. They are playing at home and if we get scores tomorrow, we can apply the pressure. Let's see, there's still a lot of cricket to play."