By BV Swagath
India crashed to a 134-run defeat to surrender the short ODI Series at Durban. Chasing 281, India were shot out for a paltry 146 in 35.1 overs. This time around, not a single batsman could score anything significant for the visitors. The top order was blown away by the South African pacers in no time.
The slide for India started with Shikhar Dhawan’s flashy square drive off Dale Steyn into the hands of point in the 3rd over for a duck. Virat Kohli too didn’t trouble the scorers, feeling for an away going delivery from Lonwabo Tsotsobe to tamely edge him behind. Rohit Sharma (19 from 26 balls) tried to be aggressive with a forcing pull off the same bowler but only to be brilliantly caught by a leaping Amla at short mid wicket. By the 10th over, India lost its fourth wicket when Ajinkya Rahane was wrongly given caught behind in an attempted cut off Morne Morkel.
In the next 10 overs, India lost Captain MS Dhoni (19 from 31 balls) caught behind trying to nudge Vernon Philander to thirdman. By this time, rain was threatening to disrupt the proceedings but it was blown away with the wind. SA continued hunting for wickets and next to fall was Suresh Raina (36 from 50 balls) caught by the diving Miller at extra covers in a flamboyant drive off Morkel. India slipped to a miserable 95 for 6 and could just get some sort of respectability through Ravindra Jadeja, who scored 26 which included a massive six off Morkel.
The most successful bowler for SA was Tsotsobe with 4 for 25 followed up by Steyn with 3 for 17. For a second consecutive time, Quinto de Kock collected the Man of the Match award.
De Kock, Amla tons take SA to 280: South Africa have left India with a formidable target of 281 from 49 overs in the Second ODI at Durban. The hosts got off to another massive opening stand between Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla. Both the openers went onto score centuries to set up South Africa towards a big total.
The Indian bowling looked sharp with Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav opening the attack and followed up by Ishant Sharma. However, the pace trio had no answers to Quinton de Kock who was on high confidence. The young left-hander dominated the bowling attack and in his company, Hashim Amla batted himself in. Very soon, India lost ideas on how to get rid of the opening pair.
India’s much needed breakthrough came very late in the 36th over with Quinton de Kock sweeping R Ashwing into the hands of squareleg with SA strongly placed at 194 for 1. De Kock scored 106 from 118 balls with 9 fours which is his 3rd ODI century. India seemed to have curtailed the scoring rate with AB de Villiers walking in at no.3, faced just the four balls before he was stumped out in Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling. Hashim Amla was next to be dismissed, bottom edging a pull off Shami to MS Dhoni. The bearded batsman scored his 12th ODI ton, and got out with 100 to his name in 117 balls with 8 fours.
When Amla got out, SA were 233 for 3 in the 44th over. Shami struck three balls after removing Amla when he had the dangerous David Miller lbw with a skidding inswinger. Just when India’s death bowling was going alright, a disappointing last over from Umesh Yadav saw SA rob as many as 20 runs to finish with 289/6 in 49 overs.
For India, the three pacers didn’t make much impact although Shami picked up three wickets again. The two spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja got some grip off the dry surface to keep the South Africans under a check.
Toss and Teams: The match has been delayed by 90 minutes but just the two overs have been lost! India have won the toss and opted to field first like in the Johannesburg match. The visitors have made three changes with Rahane, Ishant and Umesh Yadav replacing an injured Yuvraj, Bhuvneshwar and Mohit Sharma. South Africa have made one change with Vernon Philander replacing Parnell.
Update at 1:10 PM IST: The Second ODI at Kingsmead, Durban is off to a delayed start due to wet ground conditions. The match is likely to be delayed by 30 minutes. On the other hand, the pitch for this match should be better for India with less amount of grass and the bounce isn’t expected to be as steep as it was in Johannesburg.