South Africa grind Indian bowlers down

Updated: 15 April 2008 12:21 IST

Kallis, de Villiers score fifties as South Africa lead by 147 runs at the end of Day 1 of the Ahmedabad Test.


Dale Steyn's series-turning effort laid India's batting to dust on the first day of the Ahmedabad Test on Wednesday.

After Anil Kumble chose to bat, Steyn took 5-23 and spearheaded the South African attack to shoot India out for 76 - only their second lowest score at home

Building on the performance, South Africa's batsmen helped themselves to 223-4 with determined fifties from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. The pitch that assisted seam in the morning, eased out by afternoon.

The visitors jumped into lead in just the second session - an extremely rare occurrence in Test cricket - and now lead by 147 runs.

It would need a spectacular comeback from the Indians to stop South Africa from winning this game. There are only five instances of a team scoring less than 100 in their first innings and winning. The last of these was 101 years ago.

Test cricket or T20?

Earlier in the day, Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Morne Morkel blew India away in just 20 overs in a shade less than two hours of play.

Steyn took 5-23 in eight overs, Ntini 3-18 and Morkel 2-20 in six overs each.

From the Indian batsmen, resistance was rare, common sense even more so. Only Irfan Pathan, who was brought in for the injured Sachin Tendulkar, displayed a straight bat and finished with 21 not out. Mr. Extras was the next highest at 19.

India made a breezy beginning to the game, racing to 16 in the fourth over. That's when Ntini struck. Wasim Jaffer poked at one outside off, and edged it to first slip.

Fresh from a triple ton, Virender Sehwag played Steyn on attempting a luxurious drive, his footwork probably left behind at the Chidambaram.

VVS Laxman, promoted up the order, shouldered his arms to Ntini's stock ball and watched it cut back and clip the bails.

Sourav Ganguly's half-hearted attempt to a leave a similar ball cost him dear, as it took the inside edge to the stumps.

Rahul Dravid perished to the ball of the innings. Steyn pitched it around middle, and got it to swing out. Dravid played all around it and lost his stumps.

Dhoni batted positively for 14 but then drove loosely against Morne Morkel and edged it to Mark Boucher. In the same over, Anil Kumble chopped a rising ball on his stumps.

Steyn then ran through the tail. Harbhajan Singh was trapped plumb in front, RP Singh edged one to slip and Sreesanth lost his stumps to a straight ball.

India's score was only one more than their lowest score at home - 75 against the West Indies in 1987.

Kallis, de Villiers consolidate

Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie began confidently as they erased the deficit in the second session. Smith got away with a couple of edges past slips and one sharp chance to Ganguly at short leg.

He scored 34 before falling leg-before to Sreesanth.

Harbhajan Singh threatened briefly to turn the game around. He struck on both sides of tea, making the ball loop and turn.

McKenzie departed caught at slip just before tea and then Hashim Amla was caught at short leg after the break.

Continuing the spell, Harbhajan trapped Ashwell Prince leg-before with a doosra.

Here onwards, Kallis and de Villiers dropped anchor and gave India no quarters. It would take a miraculous performance for India to save this game now.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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