Morkel And Steyn Take Charge For South Africa

Morkel And Steyn Take Charge For South Africa
Morkel And Steyn Take Charge For South Africa
©REUTERS/Mike Hutchings (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

India 136-9 (Morkel 4-20, Steyn 3-34) v South Africa
First Test, Centurion Park, day one

South African's pace bowlers were too hot to handle for the famed Indian batting line up as India were 136 for nine when bad light stopped play at Centurion Park on day one of the first Test.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the crease on unbeaten 33 with debutant Jaydev Unadkat giving him company batting on one.

On a rain-curtailed day with only 38.1 overs of play possible, South Africa dominated proceedings, as they won an all-important toss and elected to field first.

The South Africans utilised helpful conditions, with the early wicket of Virender Sehwag dismissed without troubling the scorers by Dale Steyn. The combination of Steyn and Morne Morkel were unplayable. Steyn kept it full and troubled all the Indian batsmen, while Morkel used his height to generate disconcerting bounce making life awkward. Lonwabo Tsotsobe, however, was very ordinary and the Indians helped themselves to some cheap runs against him.

The Super Sport Park was in action as play started at 15.00 local time and Morkel (four for 20) and Steyn (three for 34) made inroads on a lively pitch that exposed India's technical ineptitude on bouncy and seaming conditions.

Sehwag played his upper cut down the throat of third man off Steyn, while Gautam Gambhir looked at sea with his footwork. The left-hander got a benefit from umpire Steve Davis' blunder, when he was not given out off a straightforward caught-behind decision, before he was eventually caught by  Paul Harris in the slips.

'Morkel found his rhythm with the  big scalp of Rahul Dravid (14) - the 100th scalp of his ever-improving Test career as 'The Wall' was struck on the front pad dead enough in front of the stumps.

India limped to 66 for three but VVS Laxman (7) and Sachin Tendulkar (36) threatened to rebuild in the innings towards a respectable score  but their mission came to a halt when Steyn broke though after tea. 

The paceman had Laxman comprehensively bowled and an over later Jacques Kallis enjoyed Suresh Raina's penchant for flirting outside off stump as he edged into the hungry slips cordon .

India collapsed further with the score at 71 for six as Tendulkar, the lone hope, was beaten for pace by Steyn in front of the wicket and was trapped in front.

Dhoni was in a state of shock at the other end with his partners vanishing in no time as Harbhajan Singh (27) took the attack  to the Proteas as he did the New Zealanders a couple of weeks ago.

Against the run of play, the bizarre run-out of Harbhajan was the end to any hopes of India reaching a sound total, while Ishant Sharma (0) edged to the slips. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (0) followed soon after.

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