India in dire straits against South Africa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CENTURION - South African fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel ripped apart the Indian batting on the rain-affected opening day of the first cricket Test here Thursday.

Steyn (3/34) and Morkel (4/20) reveled in helpful conditions as India were left struggling at 136 for nine in the first innings after just 38.1 overs of play was possible, before bad light stopped play at the Super Sport Park.

Indian batsmen failed to get the measure of the track and at the close of play, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was batting on 33 in the company of debutant Jaydev Unadkat, who was on one.

After a delayed start of nearly four hours, India, who were asked to bat first, made a disastrous start with opener Virender Sehwag departing in the third over of the day, without opening his account, when he chased Dale Steyn’s away going delivery and Hashim Amla took an easy catch at third man boundary.

Gautam Gambhir (5) was also scrappy and was dismissed by Morkel in the 13th over. Morkel again struck in his next over, trapping Rahul Dravid (14) leg before for his 100th wicket in 29th Test.

Sachin Tendulkar (36) and V.V.S. Laxman (7) took India to tea at 55 for three. Tendulkar (36) was the only batsmen, who could score freely on both sides of the wicket and pulled Lonwabo Tsotsobe twice for fours and again drove the left-arm fast bowler through the covers for another boundary.

Tendulkar hit eight boundaries in his 34 ball cameo and was trapped leg before the wicket by Steyn as wickets started tumbling again in the final session.

Laxman was castled by Steyn after he tried to work a straight delivery to midwicket and Suresh Raina (1) edged his third ball from Jacques Kallis to Ashwell Prince at third slip.

Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh (27) came up with a crucial 39-ball stand off 45 balls that helped India cross the 100-mark. Harbhajan, who scored back-to-back centuries last month in the Test series against New Zealand, was run out with an excellent piece of work from wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

will not be displayed