Steyn’s 4-36 reduces India to 168/6 (Tea report)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

DURBAN - India once again crumbled in the face of fast bowling and were reduced to 168 for six at tea on a lively Kingsmead track on the first day of the second Test against South Africa.

South African speedster Dale Steyn (4-36) was the pick of the bowlers, hitting the right length to take four wickets. Left arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2-30) took two wickets, including that of Sachin Tendulkar.

At the break, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) and Harbhajan Singh (2), who struck two Test centuries against New Zealand at home this year, were at the crease. India lost four wickets in the second session.

Tendulkar (13) left immediately after lunch when he edged a wide delivery to Jacques Kallis at second slip.

Rahul Dravid (25) and V.V.S. Laxman (38) looked to draw from their vast experience and got down to forge a partnership. Laxman came up with some crisp boundaries and a pulled-six off Steyn. The two survived half-chances and added 38 runs before Dravid was beatifully set-up by Steyn, drawing him forward with good length balls and finally managing an edge.

Laxman fell to a brilliant reflex catch from Tsotsobe at mid-wicket.

Cheteshwar Pujara, who replaced Suresh Raina, played 45 balls for his 19 before throwing his wicket through an indecisive pull and top edging the ball, giving Tsotsobe his second wicket.

Earlier, Steyn dismissed Virender Sehwag (25) and Murali Vijay (19) after both enjoyed their share of lives and raised 43 for the opening partnership.

It looked like a repeat of the Centurion Test when Indian skipper Dhoni lost the toss in overcast conditions and Graeme Smith put the visitors in. The morning drizzle delayed the start by an hour and left the pitch, which looks greener than the one at Centurion, and the outfield moist.

The ball darted around sharply and bounced high, testing the two openers. Albie Morkel, who ran through the Indian line-up at Centurion, struggled to find the right length and was not as lethal as he was in the first Test, but Steyn was quick to get into the groove.

Vijay, who came in for injured Gautam Gambhir, struggled with his footwork and was indecisive in judging the length of the ball. He was lucky to be dropped by Paul Harris at first slip off Steyn.

Sehwag backed his istincts, hitting Morkel and Tsotsobe for two boundaries each. Steyn pitched the ball up and Sehwag edged the moving delivery to Jacques Kallis, who took the catch high at second slip.

Vijay, after managing to escape the outstretched hands of a diving AB de Villiers at third slip, ran out of luck and edged the next Steyn delivery to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Tendulkar, who struck his 50th Test century in the first Test, upper-cut a bouncing Morkel delivery for a four and then mishit a similar ball for another boundary over the keeper’s head to survive the last over before lunch, with India at 74 for two.

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