Series set for ding-dong in Durban

2010-12-21 00:00

THE Proteas wrapped up victory in the first Test against India within half an hour yesterday morning, winning by an innings and 25 runs to go 1-0 up with two Tests to play.

Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel picked up a wicket each, as they both ended the Test with seven scalps.

Sachin Tendulkar was last man standing, on 111 not out.

But the real action of the day was reserved for the press conferences, where man-of-the-match Jacques Kallis was rather bizarrely accused of snubbing Tendulkar’s landmark achievement.

An eager visiting journalist suggested that the rest of the Proteas team had acknowledged the Indian legend’s 50th Test ton, but Kallis had been caught on camera looking unmoved.

“Of course I congratulated him as soon as he reached it,” a bristling Kallis countered, before skipper Graeme Smith waded in to fight his man’s corner.

“I think it’s great what Sachin has achieved in this match and in his career, but there have been some excellent contributions made in this match by a few of our guys, too, and I don’t think that that gets the recognition it deserves sometimes,” he said.

In a match of milestones, Tendulkar also chalked up 14 500 runs, team-mate Rahul Dravid breached 12 000, while the Proteas saw Kallis shake the double-ton gorilla off his back, Paul Harris and Morkel both reached 100 Test wickets and AB de Villiers made the fastest hundred in Tests for the Proteas.

Tendulkar’s genius is undoubted of course, but the South Africans look keen on not being overshadowed by one performance — especially after such a crushing victory.

“We said we wanted to put a peg in the ground in this match, and we have certainly done that,” Smith continued.

“Going one-down in a three-match series is never easy, and there will be a lot of pressure on the Indian side now. If we can have a really good start in Durban, we can hopefully add to that pressure and topple them.”

Smith resisted to bite the bait on whether South Africa’s dominant display had silenced those critics who expected them to struggle against the top-ranked Indians — especially after their struggles with the ball against Pakistan on flat tracks.

“There has been a lot said and written about our ability to take 20 wickets in a match, and I think we bowled really well in this match.

“The first innings had its own kind of pressure; bowling on a wicket that is helpful can sometimes be difficult. In the second innings, I was really pleased with how the guys stuck at it, on a flat deck and with Sachin and MS Dhoni really taking the game to us.”

Smith also mentioned the toiling Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who came in for some punishment in both innings.

“I think he is young and developing, but he will learn. He has already shown in ODI cricket that he is on the right track, so we need to be patient there,” the skipper said.

Certainly though, it is India who have personnel concerns.

Suresh Raina struggled in both innings, while their bowling attack looked worryingly average.

That bowling unit practised on the match pitch as soon as the match was over, and Zaheer Khan had a decent work-out with them.

They will need him and everyone else firing if they plan to make a strong comeback at the ding-dong in Durban come Boxing Day.

SCOREBOARD

India first innings 136 (M.Morkel 5-20)

South Africa first innings 620-4 declared (G.Smith 62, A. Petersen 77, H. Amla 140, J.Kallis 201 not out, AB de Villiers 129)

India second innings

G. Gambhir lbw b Steyn80

V. Sehwag c Smith b Harris63

R. Dravid c Boucher b Morkel43

I. Sharma c Amla b Steyn23

S. Tendulkar not out111

V. Laxman c De Villiers b Tsotsobe8

S. Raina c Harris b Kallis5

M. Dhoni c Boucher b Steyn90

Harbhajan Singh c Kallis b Harris1

S. Sreesanth c De Villiers b Morkel3

J. Unadkat c Prince b Steyn1

Extras (b-13, lb-5, w-8, nb-5)31

Total (all out, 128.1 overs)459

Fall of wickets: 1-137 2-170 3-214 4-242 5-256 6-277 7-449 8-450 9-456 10-459

Bowling: Steyn 30.1-6-105-4 (1-w), Morkel 31-6-94-2 (2-nb, 3-w), Tsotsobe 24-3-98-1 (1-nb), Harris 30-5-88-2, Kallis 13-3-56-1 (2-nb)

Result: South Africa beat India by an innings and 25 runs

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