Smith backs Steyn, Philander’s decision to go for draw in first Test against India

Johannesburg, Dec 23: South Africa gave up on the chance to set a new world record in chasing down 458 for victory against India on day five of the first Test at the Wanderers on Sunday, falling eight runs short as they settled for a draw in the closing overs, according to reports.

According to Sport24, the Proteas ended the match on 450 for seven, the third highest fourth innings score in Test history, but played out successive maidens in the second and third last overs of the game to ensure they would not lose the match rather than go for the historic win.

It was a massive anti-climax on one of the great days of Test cricket as South Africa went into the final day needing 320 runs to win with eight wickets remaining, the report said.

Captain Graeme Smith said that the team showed a lot of mental strength not to fade away and that he respects the decision of the guys in the middle to go for a draw after Faf du Plessis got run out.

After the loss in the morning session of Alviro Petersen (76) and Jacques Kallis (34) had put India on top, a 205-run fifth wicket stand between Du Plessis (134) and AB de Villiers (103) laid the platform for what would have been an extraordinary win, the report added.

At seven wickets down South Africa decided to play for the draw, with Philander and Dale Steyn (six not out) shouldering arms in the closing overs, the report further said.

The second Test of the two-match series starts in Durban on December 26, the report mentioned. (ANI)