Wednesday, November 16, 2005

South africans begin with a bang!

South africa stretched it winning streak to 20 games as they prevailed in the opening one day against India. The chinks in the indian armoury materialised sublimely when pitted against a south african side that oozed of quality and confidence. For the proteas it was just another day in the office. We are in India? So what? Indians have thrashed the sri lankans? So what? No fuss. Put us in a stadium and we'll win matches. The match lived up to its expectation of being competitive but barely. Indians at times just failed to realise that the match was going out of hand.

Early on, the south africans began by rattling the Indian batsmen to good measure with a fiery opening burst. The famed top order was consumed in a flash of good bowling and the score board read like a pin-code. Five wickets down at 35, the Indians were rudely shaken awake and Yuvaraj found himself in the hot seat. It is difficult to deliver when eyes filled with bloodlust are staring at you. Its even difficult if you are the lone man standing. But Yuvaraj put his hand up. Occassionally he carves out these exquisite innings that make you wonder why he is not rated as one of the best in business. He found a partner in the new found batting star pathan and the duo did the dog work of pulling India out of the dumps they had landed themselves into. A shocking late burst from Bajji ensured that the Indians had something to bowl at. A great recovery which reflects the attitude of this team.

Grame smith and kallis are the lynch pins of south african batting and both of them played a part in today's victory. Smith thrashed the opening bowlers with disdain by taking the attack to them ; something the sri lankans had failed to do. The Indians bowlers have a hard series ahead and they might do well to realise that they have been bowling at a sub-standard sri lankan batting in the last seven matches. Indians however pegged back strongly snatching up wickets at crucial moments and checking the flow of runs. The extra bite, however, was missing. At 160/5 the match was precarious for south africa and the Indians looked to possess the momentum but Kallis, the south african wall ensured that he saw the team through till the end. Although the runs and balls kept neck to neck, they were never under pressure thanks to the calm presence of kallis and some insipid bowling by the Indians. Dravid waited too long for something to happen, hoping that the batsmen would commit some mistake rather than forcing them to make mistakes. For the indians this match was like a reality check, they were placed in perspective. The fielding was below par at times and the bowling went astray under pressure. However, i wouldnt read too much from this defeat and still maintain my earlier final score line of 3-2 for India.

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