CAPE TOWN, Jan 6 (PTI): Set a daunting target of 340 for a win, India opted to play safe and bat their way to a draw in the third and final cricket Test against South Africa to end the high-profile series 1-1 here today.
The Indians never made an effort to chase down the stiff target and the batsmen played out time to crawl to 166 for three in their second innings before play was called off to mark the end of a fascinating three-match series.
Although the Indians could not achieve their dream of a maiden away series win over South Africa, it was a creditable achievement for the visitors as they drew a Test series for the first time on the African soil. The result also meant that India maintained their number one ranking.
The visitors lost the first Test in Centurion by an innings and 25 runs but showed great character to bounce back and win the second Test in Durban by 87 runs.
The Indians could have entertained hopes of going for the target had Virender Sehwag (11) fired but the dashing opener fell cheaply to end the series without too may runs to his credit.
Gautam Gambhir defied an elbow injury and played a resolute knock of 64 to be the highest scorer in the second innings. Sachin Tendulkar (14) and VVS Laxman (32) were at the crease when play was called off after 82 overs.
The engrossing series between the the two top ranked teams in the world will be remembered for Tendulkar�s historic 50th Test century and the batting heroics of Jacques Kallis who scored three centuries.
Faced with the stiff target, the two Indian openers Gambhir and Sehwag adopted a cautious approach and were more content in playing out the new ball without taking too many risks.
Both the South African pacemen Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel got some movement and bounce from the fifth day track at the Newlands. Some of the balls rose alarmingly but the two batsmen managed to get themselves out of the way.
With the experienced Jacques Kallis not on the field because of a rib injury, South African captain Smith bowled a few overs himself to make up for the loss of the fifth bowler.
Spinner Paul Harris got a few balls to jump from the rough and both the batsmen had to face a few anxious moments.
South Africa: 362 and 341
India 1st innings: 364 all out
India 2nd innings: Gambhir c Boucher b Steyn 64, Sehwag c Smith b Morkel 11, Dravid c Prince b Tsotsobe 31, Tendulkar not out 14, Laxman not out 32. Extras: (B-7, W-5, NB-2) 14. Total: (For three wkts in 82 overs) 166. Fall of wickets: 1-27, 2-106, 3-120. Bowling: Steyn 18-6-43-1, Morkel 15-6-26-1, Tsotsobe 13-4-29-1, Harris 30-19-29-0, Smith 4-0-27-0, Petersen 2-0-5-0.