So much for number one, then

2010-12-18 00:00

THE Proteas made a mini-mockery of the ICC ranking yesterday as they carved out a 230-run lead over India to take firm control of the first Test.

Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla spanked contrasting yet crucial centuries after the opening pair of Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen had started the ball rolling with a stand of 111.

Before all of that, Morné Morkel completed a five-wicket haul within the first three balls of the day, as he trapped the dangerous Mahendra Singh leg before to end India’s batting effort before the crowd had even woken up.

In this form, Morkel is one of those disgustingly awkward bowlers to face, mixing pace with bounce and seam movement. He was too much for the Indians in their first dig, and he was rewarded for his patience with outstanding, career-best figures of five for 20.

With 136 all out it was never going to be enough, but one expected the Indians to make a better fist of it.

They started well enough, with Ishant Sharma and Shantakumaran Sreesanth probing away with the new ball. To their credit, Smith and Petersen simply bided their time, in contrast to the flash and falter employed by the Indians the day before.

Smith was largely untroubled in reaching 62, but then he was caught at crease on the stroke of lunch off Harbhajan Singh.

Petersen brought up his own 50 after lunch, but also fell to Harbhajan, caught at short-leg by Gautum Gambhir.

If India were hoping for a revival of sorts, they were sadly mistaken.

South Africa’s premier batsman, Jacques Kallis, strode to the crease with the purpose of a gent on his manor, and he displayed the same swagger for the rest of the day.

This scribe has been one of those who occasionally criticise Kallis for being too pedestrian, but he drove that theory into submission yesterday.

His was a towering knock, dripping with class and certainty.

At the other end, the run-machine that calls Durban home just kept ticking away.

India must be getting sick of the sight of Amla’s blade, so proficient is the Proteas number three against them.

The classy pair, who are matched by few when it comes to an appetite for runs, proceeded to bat the Indians out of the game.

Kallis greedily gobbled up the pie-cart served up by part-timer Suresh Raina, smashing two sixes into the sunny Centurion grass area.

South Africa were already 100 to the good by tea, and the signs were not good for Dhoni’s men.

Harbhajan was adamant they would not miss Zaheer Khan, but the evidence of yesterday’s buffet bowling suggests otherwise.

There was still something in the pitch for the bowlers, as Sharma showed on occasion with some sharp risers.

However, the Indians didn’t do enough with it, instead letting South Africa get away from them after just two days.

Even the second new ball failed to rouse them, and both Kallis and Amla chalked up well-deserved centuries.

For the peerless Kallis, it was Test ton number 38. It is a startling record and he is not yet done.

Amla’s 12th Test hundred seemed becalmed, but that was because Kallis was going ballistic at the other end.

The pair racked up a stand of exactly 200 by the end of the day’s play.

The scary part for India is that AB de Villiers hasn’t even been needed yet.

The game has moved along rapidly, despite the delayed start, and India will have to dig mighty deep to show their top billing in the Test arena.

They have barely showed up on the first two days.

SCOREBOARD

India first innings (overnight 136-9)

G. Gambhir c Harris b Morkel5

V. Sehwag c Amla b Steyn0

R. Dravid lbw b Morkel14

S. Tendulkar lbw b Steyn36

V. Laxman b Steyn7

S. Raina c Prince b Kallis1

M. Dhoni lbw b Morkel33

Harbhajan Singh run out27

Ishant Sharma c Kallis b Morkel0

S. Sreesanth c Steyn b Morkel0

J. Unadkat not out1

Extras (lb-6, w-3, nb-3)12

TOTAL (all out; 38.4 overs) 136

Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-24 3-27 4-66 5-67 6-71 7-110 8-110 9-116 10-136

Bowling: Steyn 10-1-34-3 (w1), Morkel 12.4-5-20-5 (nb3), Tsotsobe 9-2-50-0 (w1), Kallis 6-1-20-1 (w1), Harris 1-0-6-0

South Africa first innings

G. Smith c Dhoni b Harbhajan62

A. Petersen c Gambhir b Harbhajan77

H. Amla not out116

J. Kallis not out102

Extras (b-2, lb-2, w-2, nb-3)9

TOTAL (for 2; 87 overs) 366

Fall of wickets: 1-111 2-166

To bat: A. de Villiers, A. Prince, M. Boucher, D. Steyn, M. Morkel, P. Harris, L. Tsotsobe

Bowling: Sreesanth 19-1-71-0 (1nb, 1w), Ishant 18-2-68-0, Unadkat 16-2-60-0 (2nb), Harbhajan 25-2-107-2, Raina 3-0-27-0, Tendulkar 6-1-29-0

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