Proteas fail to keep momentum going

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Chennai, Mar 26 (UNI) South Africa failed to build on their good start in the post-lunch session and could add just 97 runs to go into the tea break at 206 losing two wickets on the first day of the first cricket test against India at the M A Chidambaram stadium here today.

Hashim Amla (31, 60 balls, five fours) and Jacques Kallis (3, 11 balls) were at the crease.

The sparse crowd as opposed to the common sight of full stands had little to cheer, with captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble, off spinner Harbhajan Singh and the two new ball bowlers left armer R P Singh and S Sreeshanth failed to really turn on the pressure on the Proteas on a wicket, which seemed to be playing easy.

Resuming at the lunch score of 109 for no loss, the Proteas seemed to be heading for more runs as captain Graeme Smith and his opening partner Niel McKenzie went on to add 20 more runs.

However, Team India had something to cheer as Smith, who appeared to be falling into an aggressive mood, striking three fours off Sreeshanth, fell to the Indian captain.

As the South African captain tried to force the phlegmatic googly bowler on the onside, Laxman at short mid-on grabbed the uppish shot. Smith scored 73 in his 151 minute stay at the wicket with McKenzie off 97 balls with 13 fours. With McKenzie, he put on 132 runs for the first wicket off 33.3 overs.

Batting on 56, when he saw his captain fall unexpectedly, McKenzie carried on undaunted with his new partner Hashim Amla.

As Kumble desperately switched ends with his bowlers R P Singh, Sreeshant and Harbhajan, Mckenzie and Amla, without being adventurous, put on a 50-run stand for the second wicket off 91 balls in 65 minutes.

A desolate Kumble removed himself from the attack at the pavilion end and brought in Virender Sehwag.

However, ten minutes before the tea break, Harbhajan after seeing umpire Asad Rauf turning down an appeal, had McKenzie snapped up by Rahul Dravid at slip. McKenzie made a valiant 94 off 142 balls in 230 minutes with the help of 18 fours.

South Africa were 196 for 2 in 50.5 overs and an upbeat Kumble now brought himself back at the pavilion end after Sehwag's two overs turned out fruitless.

As Jacques Kallis joined Amla, South Africa posted their 200 off 32.2 overs when Amla hit Harbhajan to the fence.


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