Proteas decimate India in tour opener

1st ODI: South Africa thrash MS Dhoni's team by 141 runs at Johannesburg.

TIMBER: Yuvraj Singh (0) had his middle stump disturbed by Ryan McLaren.

Scorecard | Match pictures | Schedule | Full coverage

JOHANNESBURG:
India’s supermen were pelted with the cricketing equivalent of Kryptonite on Thursday evening as South Africa thrashed them by 141 runs in the first ODI at the Wanderers. If it wasn’t bad enough conceding 358 after being given the best of bowling conditions, India’s tackling of the gigantic chase was even more execrable – unless you were not Indian, or prone to drawing vicarious gratification from the suffering of others: a little schadenfreude, if you please!

Even if, for a moment, one chose to overlook the hiding that Quinton de Kock (135), Hashim Amla (65), AB de Villiers (77) and JP Duminy (59*) inflicted upon their guests – this is, after all, the age of batsmen – Rohit Sharma, in the 43 uncomfortable deliveries he faced at the beginning of the pursuit, symbolized all that ails Indian cricket.

The Mumbai opener entered the series on a rich vein of form and comparisons with a recently-retired legend. As it happened, he took 14 deliveries to get bat on ball, his first runs coming off a lucky leading edge. The other stalwarts of this star-studded batting card fared no better in seaming conditions, as India were bundled out for 217 in just 41 overs.

Sheer incompetence

Unplayable: Morne MorkelSharma (18) was eventually run-out (the fourth batsman to fall) after surviving countless plays and misses against Steyn. The three batsmen who preceded him into the pavilion had looked equally incompetent. Shikhar Dhawan (12) was done in by a Morne Morkel delivery that hurried and rose on to him. Virat Kohli (31) was dropped by de Kock and struck a painful blow to the ribs by Steyn. He went on to crunch out a few retaliatory strokes before falling to a searing Ryan McLaren outswinger.

The cameras had caught a pensive Yuvraj Singh awaiting his turn. His stint lasted all of two balls, on the second of which McLaren flattened his middle stump. David Miller’s under-arm accuracy from cover ended Rohit’s agonizing stay, and a few overs later, Suresh Raina, equally scratchy anywhere except on the soporific pitches at home, was caught just short of his ground by what was almost a direct hit from deep square-leg by Steyn.

At 108/5 in the 23rd over, it was all but over. A face-saving half-century by skipper MS Dhoni (65) whittled away at the margin of defeat. There was, however, no escaping the humiliation that stems from the puncturing of big reputations.

Harsh welcome


South Africa had earlier accorded a severe welcome to their guests. De Kock and Amla, playing in an all-pink kit, added 152 in less than 30 overs for the opening wicket (the second-highest opening wicket stand by SA against India in SA) after Dhoni elected to field. India, however, squandered a couple of chances to dismiss either batsman early in their innings.

Amla was handed a run-out reprieve when he had scored seven as Dhawan failed to knock down the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Then, in the seventh over, de Kock slashed Sharma to square leg where Shami dove forward valiantly, but vainly, to take it on the bounce. The next ball saw Amla’s leading edge fall tantalizingly short of Rohit at cover point.

The bearded one rubbed it in by punishing Bhuvneshwar for four and six – the latter a casual flick that soared over square-leg and clattered into the giant scoreboard. De Kock was even more assertive. Having milked the seamers, he switched gars when spin came on in the 15th over, cutting R. Ashwin for fours and then sweeping him authoritatively from outside off stump.

The Proteas were coasting on 150 without losing a wicket in 29 overs when they opted for the Batting Powerplay and, as is often the case, promptly lost their first. Amla was the victim, playing on as he attempted to run Shami down to third man. Another victim of the Powerplay was Kallis, who was caught at extra cover trying to clear the infield off Shami.

Second ton: de KockSecond hundred

De Kock remained unfazed. Successive boundaries off Bhuvneshwar took him into the 90s and a free-hit six against Mohit brought him to 98. A single and de Kock was on his second ODI ton, his first on his homeground, in just 101 balls.

It took Kohli’s part-time medium pace to get the lucky break when he held a simple return catch to send back the centurion.

It was then that de Villiers and Duminy stole the game. They shredded a clueless seam attack hellbent on hurling in length balls (and nothing else!) for 105 runs in just 7.4 overs.

One-hundred-and-thirty-five were score in the last 10 overs, as Duminy smashed 59 off just 29 balls, clearing the ropes five times during his blinder, the pick of his strikes being an inside out maximum off Mohit.

De Villiers was no slouch. His 47-ball 77 included four sixes, one of them an unbelievable quasi-sweep that he, on bended knee, picked from wide outside off-stump and deposited over fine-leg. That remained the definitive moment of the match – until the sight of a hard red ball scrunching portentously into the ribs of India’s leading batsman replaced it.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »