at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
India debutant Stuart Binny's maiden fifty made sure of a draw with England in the first Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday.
On a docile pitch, a draw had always seemed the most likely outcome and so it proved as the first of this five-match series ended in stalemate ahead of Thursday's second Test at Lord's.
This result extended England's winless run to nine Tests -- their worst sequence since they went 10 without victory from 1992 to 1993 -- and meant India had now gone 15 Tests without an away win.
The match was an all-round triumph for 24-year-old India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar who, in his seventh match at this level, posted three Test-best performances in making 58 and 63 not out separated by a return of five for 82.
However, a draw had all but been assured after England's Joe Root (154 not out) and James Anderson (81) shared a Test record tenth-wicket stand of 198, eclipsing the 111 put on earlier in the match by India's last-wicket pair of Kumar and Mohammed Shami (51 not out).
But after India resumed on 167 for three in overcast conditions on Sunday, they lost three wickets for 16 runs to give England a glimmer of hope.
Stuart Broad, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, sparked the slump by taking two for none in five balls.
Broad, who had been severely critical of the sluggish wicket, had Virat Kohli, aiming across the line, plumb lbw for his overnight eight.
The fast-medium bowler then induced Ajinkya Rahane (24) to edge straight to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Broad then found Mahendra Singh Dhoni's outside edge only for England captain Alastair Cook to drop the routine slip catch with his opposing skipper on five.
It was a miss that added to the woes of Cook, struggling for runs and under fire for his tactics.
Fortunately for England, however, it was not an expensive error as Dhoni had only made 11 when, aiming towards mid-on, he was bowled by Liam Plunkett's first delivery Sunday, with the ball reversing in and flicking the front pad before crashing into the stumps.
After lunch, England took the new ball as soon as they could, with India 244 for six off 80 overs.
Three overs later, Anderson had Ravindra Jadeja (31) caught behind to leave India 249 for seven.
Binny, who before lunch had cover-driven Plunkett for four, was briefly unsettled by a couple of well pitched-up Anderson deliveries.
But having made just one in India's first innings, he quickly regained his composure, and a single off Plunkett saw the 30-year-old all-rounder to an 86-ball fifty, including six boundaries.
An increasingly assured Binny, the son of 1983 India World Cup-winner Roger, went down the pitch to drive part-time off-spinner Moeen Ali over extra-cover for six.
Ali, though, had his revenge when Binny, on 78, played down the wrong line and was given out lbw by Sri Lanka umpire Kumar Dharmasena.
Replays suggested the ball would have missed leg stump but, with no Decision Review System this series because of Indian objections, it was the end of Binny's near three-hour innings.
With India more than 300 runs in ahead at tea, Cook gave his frontline bowlers a rest in the final session.
Kumar, 31 not out at tea, struck Root's occasional off-spin over mid-wicket and through extra-cover for four before a single off the Yorkshireman saw him to a 114-ball fifty with eight boundaries.
Cook, in a sure sign the match was over as a contest, then brought himself on and, while performing impersonations of several ex-England bowlers, had Ishant Sharma caught down the legside by Prior to claim his first Test wicket. – AFP