India stretch lead in 2nd South Africa Test

KOLKATA: India capitalised on some sloppy fielding by South Africa to reach 431-6 by lunch on the third day of the second and final Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Venkatsai Laxman was batting on 39 with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (27) as India stretched their first-innings lead to 135 with four wickets in hand in reply to South Africa''s 296.

India, who lost the first Test in Nagpur by an innings and six runs, need a win to square the series and retain their number one position in the official Test rankings.

The South Africans squandered chances in the field, which could prove costly as they seek their first Test series victory in India for nearly a decade.

Nightwatchman Amit Mishra (28) enjoyed a brief flourish and a couple of reprieves before falling to an ambitious upper cut which was plucked by Jacques Kallis off Morne Morkel (2-90) at second slip.

Mishra, dropped once each by Kallis and Graeme Smith, hit five fours in his 38-ball knock. Kallis was also guilty of letting off Dhoni in the slips on 23.

Dhoni charged down the track to loft left-arm spinner Paul Harris over long-off for a six and followed it up with a firmly hit four to take India''s lead past 100.

Laxman started the day with a couple of flicked boundaries in the first over of the day by Dale Steyn, who has taken just one wicket at the cost of 99 runs so far.

The wristy batsman has hit seven fours in his 96-ball effort and shared 47 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket with Dhoni.