India set S Africa 299 to win first ODI

India set S Africa 299 to win first ODI

India set S Africa 299 to win first ODI

Asked to bat first, Virender Sehwag (46) and Dinesh Karthik (44) added 79 runs for the second wicket while Suresh Raina (58) and Virat Kohli (31) raised 66 in the only other significant partnership in the stop-start innings.

South African captain Jacques Kallis led from the front, claiming three for 29 from his seven tight overs.

Meanwhile for India, it was hardly the start they fancied. Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost a crucial toss, which rendered defending the team total even tougher since the bowlers would have to operate with a slippery, bedewed ball.

And the roaring welcome that greeted the Indian opening pair when they walked out in the middle was still hung in the winter air when Virender Sehwag's hesitation, Sachin Tendulkar's overzealousness and Herschelle Gibbs' athleticism brought a hushed silence in the Sawai Man Singh Stadium.
Sehwag (46) had punched the Wayne Parnell delivery to covers and set off before hesitation set in.

At the other end, Tendulkar (5) hared down the crease for a single that was never there. And they chose the wrong person to steal a single as Gibbs dived to his left and rifled a throw to the bowler who had all the time in the world to knock off the bails.

Dejection was in air but not panic as the second wicket partnership yielded 79 resuscitating runs before misfortune struck Sehwag.
Dinesh Karthik's (44) straight drive brushed bowler Charl Langeveldt's fingers before crushing onto the stumps at the non-striker's end with Sehwag nowhere near the crease.

Another four overs and Karthik also departed, missing his fourth half-century by six runs as his mistimed pull off Langveldt found the mid-on fielder.
With Sehwag looking subdued after Tendulkar's unfortunate dismissal, Karthik decided to counter-attack and he chose Parnell for special treament, hitting the left-arm pacer for three fours in the eighth over.

Sehwag too decided to get into the groove, hitting Albie Morkel for back-to-back fours before finishing the 14th over with a flat six and then made a bizarre exit in the next over after a 37-ball breezy knock with six fours and two sixes.
Karthik hit Johan Botha soaring over mid-wicket for a sweet six but was caught unaware by a Langeveldt snorter that cut short his 56-ball stay.

To make it worse, Albie Morkel took a low catch off Kallis to remove Dhoni (26) and from the comfort of 89 for one, India found themselves in a mess at 138 for four.
Raina and Kohli calmed the Indian nerves with a 66-run stand. Raina hit Kallis for two fours in the same over before on-driving Parnell to clear the long-on ropes but Kohli fell to Morkel after the team had crossed the 200-mark.
Yousuf Pathan (18 off 13 balls) sizzled for a while and Raina, having made his 15th ODI fifty, and Ravindra Jadeja (22) too fell in quick succession.

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