Match Report: SA v Ind, 1st Test - Day 1
Centurion, Dec 16:India struggled to 136 runs for nine wickets on a difficult batting pitch at the close of Day One’s play on a rain-curtailed first day of the opening Test against South Africa here on Thursday.
Captain MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 33 while debutant Jaidev Unadkat was batting on 1 when play was stopped due to bad light. It’s up to Dhoni to try and squeeze as many runs out of the innings as possible when play resumes tomorrow.
South African speedsters Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis made the most of the damp pitch and ran through the Indian batting order brutally.
Morkel, who bowled venomously throughout his spell, got the better of S Sreesanth in the 35th over. Sreesanth survived for few deliveries only to drive straight into the hands of Dale Steyn at mid-off. In doing so Sreesanth joined the other non-scorers of the day - Ishant Sharma and Sehwag .
Harbhajan Singh played a spirited knock of 27 runs before running himself out in an untoward fashion. The incident occurred when Morkel bowled a no-ball which Dhoni smashed to cover boundary. At first it looked like four, but it didn't go all the way and the Indians had to scurry for their third run. Alviro Petersen returned the ball to Boucher who took a couple of steps and flicked it between his legs to hit the stumps. Harbhajan fell short owing to a dropped bat earlier in the run.
Ishant Sharma, not known for any tail-enders’ heroics, lasted all of two balls as Morkel had him caught at slip.
Sachin Tendulkar was looking dangerous on 36 off 34 balls, but Steyn got him trapped LBW right in front of the wickets. Suresh Raina, who has been going through indifferent form off late, didn't do much exiting the crease having scored only the single run. Jacques Kallis took his wickets’ tally to 268 when Raina pushed one outside off stump and was caught by Ashwell Prince at third slip.
After having smelled blood early in the innings, Dale Steyn got the Indian crisis man VVS Laxman out for seven. He only faced 20 balls in 36 minutes and never really got going. India were left reeling at 66-4.
At Tea, Sachin Tendulkar was 22 not out and VVS Laxman 6 not out as India battled through 20 tricky overs.
Fiery Indian opener Virender Sehwag was out for naught and then India lost Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid in quick succession to slip to 27-3, with fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel making use of the pace-friendly conditions at SuperSport Park.
Sehwag fell in the third over when he attempted a flowing back-foot drive off Steyn and sent a catch to Hashim Amla at third man.
Morkel struck twice in two overs, Gambhir edging to Paul Harris at first slip for 5 and Dravid out lbw for 14.
Brief Scores: India - 136/9 in 38.1 overs (MS Dhoni batting 33, JD Unadkat batting 1, Sachin Tendulkar 36, Harbhajan Singh27), Dale Steyn 10-1-34-3, M Morkel 12.1-5-20-4, Jacques Kallis 6-1-20-1