India tottering at 43/4 after 11 overs

Written by: Pti
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L Nandan,

Durban, Jan 12 (PTI) Chasing 290 to win, India weretottering at 43 for four after 11 overs in the first cricketone-dayer against South Africa here today.

India will have to play out of their skin to win thematch as the visitors still need 247 runs off 39 overs withjust six wickets in hand to take a 1-0 lead in the five-matchseries.

India''s run chase started on a precarious note as MuraliVijay fell in the fourth ball of the innings, lbw to Steyn.

If that was not enough, already carrying a depletedbatting line-up in the absence of Virender Sehwag and GautamGambhir, India were dealt a severe blow in the fourthover when Sachin Tendulkar perished, top-edging a LonwaboTsotsobe delivery to Steyn at fine leg the visitors scoreboardreading 13 for two.

India''s problems were further compounded when MorneMorkel struck twin blows in the 11th over.

Rohit Sharma was the first of Morkel''s victim, caught bywicket-keeper AB de Villiers in the first ball of the 11thover but the batsman felt otherwise and left the grounddejected at umpire Simon Taufel''s decision.

Much was expected from new man in Yuvraj Singh but he toofailed to do justice to his reputation as he departed threeballs later, nicking another to de Villiers off Morkel.

The onus is now on Virat Kohli (15) and captain MahendraSingh Dhoni to bring back the Indian innings on track afterthe four early dismissal.

For South Africa Morne Morkel scalped two wickets whileDale Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe accounted for a victim each.

Earlier, AB de Villers and JP Duminy notched upcontrasting half centuries to propel South Africa to achallenging 289 for nine.

Batting first after winning the toss, South Africa werelooking good for a few more, but four wickets for just 56 runsin the last 10 overs somewhat foiled their plans.

Duminy (73 off 89) and de Villiers (76 off 69) scored atwill, picking the gaps and finding the boundaries withconsummate ease, after Hashim Amla (50 off 36) gave the hostsa flying start with an aggressive half-century at the SaharaStadium in Kingsmead here.

Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel and Rohit Sharma finished withtwo wickets each, while Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra andSuresh Raina accounted for a victim each.

While boundaries kept coming at regular intervals as longas de Viiliers and Duminy were at the crease, the two also ranhard between the wickets to steal the singles and twos. MOREPTI LN SSC

After Munaf brought to an end the out-of-sorts Colin Ingram''s 34-minute stay in the middle, de Villiers signalledhis arrival with two fours on either off Nehra.

Along with Duminy, who came in at the fall of Amla''swicket, de Villiers rebuilt the hosts'' innings by playing somesensible cricket.

De Villiers'' knock, which included seven fours and onesix, was in stark contrast to the one played by Duminy. Whilethe former found the boundaries at will, including a straightsix off Harbhajan Singh midway into the innings, Duminy reliedon ones and the twos. He, however, sent a Yuvraj Singhdelivery over long-on for the maximum.

Apart from that six, Duminy had just one four to showfor.

Thanks to the de Villiers-Duminy combo, South Africa werecruising at 213 for three before the 131-run partnership cameto an end, courtesy Rohit Sharma who was lucky that his longhop found Harbhajan''s safe hands at deep mid-wicket.

David Miller came and left but the hosts were dealt a bigblow when Duminy, trying to reverse sweep Sharma, foundhimself trapped.

That pegged South Africa back who scored less than 100 inthe last 15 overs, and just 45 after Duminy''s departure in the42nd over.

Johan Botha (23) and Wayne Parnell (21 not out) collectedsome useful runs in the last few overs to lead their team to acomfortable total.

It all started with the classy Amla, who averages over 60in the shorter format of the game, giving South Africa atremendous start, carting the Indian bowlers to all corners ofthe ground.

Even as captain Graeme Smith looked a bit scratchy duringhis brief stay at the crease, Amla was elegance personified.

He creamed Nehra through the covers to open his account,but soon got a reprieve when a diving Rohit failed to pounceon to -- what many would call a missed chance -- off a ZaheerKhan delivery.

Soon after getting a life, Amla launched into an array ofdazzling shots leaving the Indian fielders gasping for breath.

While none of the Indian bowlers were spared during his36-ball 50, Amla was particularly severe on Nehra smashing theleft-armer for 17 runs, including three successive boundariesoff the first three deliveries, in his third over.

The opener then punished Zaheer by glancing one off hispas, before collecting two more boundaries off Munaf.

Such was his onslaught that South Africa''s fifty was upin the seventh over of the innings, but, going for one toomany, Amla was holed out to Harbhajan off Munaf.

Thereafter, the duo of Duminy and de Villiersconsolidated the innings with a century partnership.

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