By BV Swagath
South Africa crushed India by 141 runs in the First ODI at Johannesburg with the tourists finding the pace and bounce too difficult to handle. Skipper MS Dhoni did show some heroics scoring 65 but the rest of the Indian batsmen failed against the fiery fast bowling duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. India chasing the huge target of 359 folded to 217 in 41 overs.
Chasing the massive target, India lost Shikhar Dhawan in the 6th over with the opener getting into a miserable position to pull a short ball from Morne Morkel. By this time the pressure was building up on India as Rohit Sharma struggled to put bat on ball against Dale Steyn’s speedy outswingers. Virat Kohli showed some sparkle although he was lucky to be dropped by Wicket Keeper Quinton de Kock after gloving a short ball from Morkel. Kohli struck 5 fours before his fight ended with Ryan McLaren got one to nip away to force the former to edge it to slip. The Indian no.3 scored 31 from 35 balls and got out in the 15th over with India at 60 for 2.
When Yuvraj Singh walked in, nobody would have expected him to survive the short stuff from SA. And he lived to the expectations, getting hit on the helmet to the first ball he received from McLaren. The tall bowler surprised Yuvraj with a fuller length inswinger which got through the left-hander’s weak defences. Yuvraj lasted only two balls as India slipped to 60 for 3 by the completion of the 15th over.
Just four balls later, Rohit Sharma was run out as Suresh Raina called him for a non-existent single trying to get away from strike. Rohit batted out 43 balls to score just 18. Surprisingly, Suresh Raina looked decent against the short balls and with Skipper MS Dhoni got a partnership going. However, there was another run out which got a bonus wicket for SA, this time it was Suresh Raina (14) trying to steal a second run from Dale Steyn’s rocket throw. There was another promising partnership for the visitors as Ravindra Jadeja looked fine until he was cleaned up through the gate by a lovely inswinger from Jacques Kallis. Jadeja scored 29 from 30 balls with 6 fours and his exit saw India reduced at 158 for 6 in the 30th over.
South Africa and Ryan McLaren were lucky to get the next wicket as R Ashwin was wrongly given caught behind after scoring 19 from 19 balls. Without wasting much time, SA wrapped up the match, bowling out with nine overs remaining in the match. MS Dhoni waged a lone battle, scoring 65 from 71 balls with 8 fours and a six. His end came through an inside edge off Dale Steyn. Quinton de Kock was adjudged as the Man of the Match.
Earlier South Africa had piled up a massive total of 358 for 4. Quinton de Kock scored his 2nd ODI ton while AB de Villiers and JP Duminy scored blazing half centuries.
India simply struggled to find their first success of their tour as openers Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla flayed their bowlers. Mohammed Shami was an exception though as his pace off the pitch was too difficult to handle. And it was Shami who got the breakthrough, in the 30th over when Hashim Amla (65 from 88 balls with 5 fours and a six) was bowled dragging an inside edge onto his stumps. By now SA had got a solid base at 152 for 1.
Shami got his second wicket soon with Jacques Kallis driving him into the hands of covers in the 33rd over. Meanwhile, the 20-year-old Quinton de Kock scored his century in 101 balls. The left-hander eventually got out in the 42nd over, caught and bowled by Virat Kohli off a leading edge. De Kock finished with 135 from 121 balls with 18 fours and 3 sixes while taking SA to a formidable position of 247 for 3.
The slog overs proved to be a disaster for India as AB de Villiers and JP Duminy using all their skills got boundaries and sixes at will. Even Mohammed Shami had no answer in containing these two batsmen. De Villiers raced away to 77 from 47 balls with 6 fours and 4 sixes. Duminy at the other end was even more destructive scoring 59 not out in just 29 balls with 2 fours and 5 sixes.
Toss and Teams: India have won the toss and opted to bowl first in the opening ODI at Johannesburg under overcast conditions. The pitch is conducive for the seamers with a good grass cover on the pitch. There is a threat of thunderstorms in the evening and dew is also expected to come in.
India have gone in with the same team that beat West Indies recently. South Africa are wearing pink kit today in support of the fight against breast cancer.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (WK), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (C), JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma