Bloemfontein (South Africa): India made a disastrous start to its campaign in the Test series, having been reduced to 123 for four by lunch on the opening day of the first match against South Africa in Bloemfontein on Saturday.Rahul Dravid, Shiv Sunder Das, V V S Laxman and Saurav Ganguly were dismissed with just 68 runs on board before Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag sought to steady the innings somewhat with an unbroken 55-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Tendulkar had smashed eight fours in his 45-ball 43 while Sehwag was batting on 11 when the lunch break was announced after 27 overs. South African captain Shaun Pollock won the toss and put India in to bat on a track that promised a lot to the fast bowlers. And then he led his speedsters from the front to derail the Indian innings even before it had gathered momentum. The Indians earlier played it safe and went in with six batsmen, and preferred Dravid to open the innings in place of the untested Connor Williams who was left out to make his Test debut later. There were two debutants in the Indian team nonetheless with Sehwag and Deep Dasgupta being included in the side. Dravid and Das started cautiously, the first three overs producing just one run. With Pollock and Mornantu Hayward generating good pace and bounce, the two Indian openers were forced on to the backfoot.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |