Watch: The historic Sreesanth Jo’burg eight-for on either side of a bizarre batting dance
Watch: At Johannesburg in 2005/06, S Sreesanth took 8-99 on either side of a bizarre dance to bowl India to their first win in Test cricket on South African soil.
Until 2005/06, South Africa remained the only Test-playing nation where India had not won a single Test match. In nine Tests across three tours, they had lost four and drawn five. This time, too, few gave them a chance after the hosts thrashed them 4-0 in the ODIs.
Now, in the first Test match, at the Wanderers, India recovered from 14-2 to reach 205-9 before Sourav Ganguly, on his return to the Indian side, and VRV Singh, in his third Test match, pushed the total to 249 in contrasting styles.
This middling total seemed gargantuan by the time the Indian seamers had bowled the first four overs. While Zaheer Khan took out Herschelle Gibbs, Sreesanth got Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla, leaving the South Africans reeling at 5-3.
After lunch, Sreesanth took out Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, and Shaun Pollock, and at 45-7, South Africa faced the threat of having to follow on – before they ‘recovered’ to 84.
The South Africans had succumbed before they could come to terms with Sreesanth’s beautiful seam position and movement with the new ball. But he was not done.
South Africa predictably hit back despite an injury to a young Dale Steyn. But perhaps just as predictably, VVS Laxman rose to the challenge with an innings of 78, lifting India from 148-7 to 236.
The total involved a last-wicket stand of 17 between Sreesanth and VRV. Immediately after hitting Andre Nel for a six over his head, Sreesanth broke into, well, an act that can be classified as dance. On air, Ravi Shastri called it the funniest moment he had seen.
But Sreesanth was still not done. He got Smith, Amla, and Kallis again to reduce the hosts to 84-4. Chasing 402, they were bowled out for 278 as India finally won a Test in South Africa.
Watch S Sreesanth’s eight wickets and dance here: