Update at Stumps on Day 1
South Africa have effortlessly put India on the mat in the first Test at Centurion by reducing them to a paltry 136 for 9 in 38.1 overs before it was too dark for any further play on a truncated opening day. As many as six wickets fell inside 20 overs after the Tea break and India is left with a remote hope of Skipper MS Dhoni stretching the small total towards anything better. Dhoni has collected an unbeaten 33 which includes two fours and two sixes so far.
Laxman was the first to go after Tea when he was late in a flick shot around middle to get bowled by a straight delivery from Dale Steyn. The next over that is in the 24th, Suresh Raina nervously edged Kallis on the backfoot to third slip and in the 25th over, India's lone hope in this innings - a well set Sachin Tendulkar paid penalty for moving back to a full ball from Steyn to get lbw. Tendulkar had by then scored an attacking 36 from 34 balls with 8 fours.
India at 71 for 6 was looking terrible but a fighting stand from Harbhajan Singh with MS Dhoni provided some relief to the dying spirits. The pair added 39 runs before Harbhajan Singh got run out in the 33rd over when Boucher smartly under flicked a throw onto the stumps while the former had lost his bat in an attempted third run. Harbhajan had contributed a cameo of 27 from 25 balls with 4 fours and a six. In the same over, Ishant Sharma edged a rising delivery from Morkel to the slip cordon and around a couple of overs later, Sreesanth drove the same bowler uppishly into the hands of short mid off. Both Ishant and Sreesanth got out for ducks.
Dhoni is now left with no.11 Jaidev Unadkat to score as many runs as possible before it gets all over for India in this first innings. Morkel with 4 for 20 and Steyn with 3 for 34 have been too hot to handle for India while Kallis has looked in fantastic rhythm.
Update at Tea on Day 1
India are on the backfoot in the first Test at Centurion with a score of 55 for 3 in 20 overs before Tea on Day 1 after being asked to bat first by Graeme Smith. The visitors had a disastrous start ever since Virender Sehwag slashed a wide length ball from Steyn on the frontfoot towards Amla at square thirdman to be dismissed for a duck in the 3rd over!
With Sehwag's early exit, India was forced to get into the defensive mode and just when Gautam Gambhir seemed to be settling down, he lost his wicket to Morne Morkel in the 13th over. Morkel was very clever as he set up Gambhir with a series of short balls before dishing out a slightly pitched up ball outside off and luring the left hander into a false drive. Gambhir (4) could only edge it to Harris at first slip after a 43-ball scratchy stay in the middle. Morkel then produced a lethal blow in the 15th over when he got one to nip back and stay slightly lower than what Dravid (14) was anticipating and that got the right hander lbw. Dravid looked plumb infront but Hawk Eye revealed that the ball was going over the top of middle with Dravid hopping up in the air.
India was shaken up at 27 for 3 and Tendulkar decided to start a counter attack and he punished Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a couple of boundaries to get going. By Tea, Tendulkar moved to 22 from 19 balls with 5 fours while Laxman who has joined him has got to 6 which includes a lovely inside out drive off Paul Harris for a boundary.
Toss and Teams
The first day's play of the first Test at Centurion is finally getting underway after four and a half hours delay caused by heavy rain. Hosts South Africa have won the crucial toss and they have put India to bat first on the truncated first day. There is quite a lot of cricket to be played on this first day with as many as 48 overs to be filled in. For India, Zaheer Khan will be missing out due to a hamstring injury. Saurashtra's left arm pacer Jaidev Unadkat will be making his Test Debut in Zaheer's place ahead of Umesh Yadav.
South Africa have gone in with three pacers and a spinner with Jacques Kallis providing the fourth pace option. JP Duminy misses out to give way to Ashwell Prince while Alviro Petersen will be opening the batting with Skipper Graeme Smith.
The pitch is expected to assist the seamers with a fair sprinkling of grass on the surface. Spinners can also expect something out of the pitch while its the batsmen who will have to fight it out to get the runs.
South Africa : GC Smith (C), AN Petersen, JH Kallis, HM Amla, AB de Villiers, AG Prince, MV Boucher (WK), M Morkel, PL Harris, DW Steyn and LL Tsotsobe
India : G Gambhir, V Sehwag, R Dravid, SR Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni (C&WK), SK Raina, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth, I Sharma and JD Unadkat
- BV Swagath