On a pitch that had just been beaten by moist weather, the seamers were likely to extract pace and lateral movement. South Africa who won the toss, sensed this advantage and chose to bowl first with the speedsters straight away wreaking havoc in India's top order. With play commencing four and a half hours late, and consequently split into two sessions with one tea break, India had to see out 48 overs.
But the visitors got off to an ultra cuatious and shaky start, when Proteas pace bowler Dale Steyn struck to remove Virender Sehwag for a duck. The batsmen tried to edge Steyn over third-man, but not getting enough momentum behind the shot, sent it straight into the hands of Hashim Amla. India were 1/1 when Rahul Dravid came to the crease. For nearly 10 overs, Gambhir and Dravid played very defensively, trying to work the sheen off the seaming ball. But in the 13th over, Gambhir ran out of steam and edged Morkel to Paul Harris at first slip. He was on his way for 5.
Just two overs later, and Dravid joined him back in the shed for 14 when Morkel trapped the batsman in front. India were in some distress at 27/3. Then the new batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman steadied the ship by playing some forceful shots. Tendulkar went after first-change pace bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe in the 16th over, smacking him for two fours, one swatted through midwicket and the other, creamed through the covers. But the Little Master was not through with Tsotsobe. In the bowler's next over, he struck him for two more fours, coming off consecutive balls. One shot went between midwicket and mid on and the other between the slip cordon and third man.
Then Laxman took India to over 50 with a stylish cover-driven four off offspinner Paul Harris in the 20th over. India had suffered a few set-backs in the first session of play for the day, but were on the road to recovery. The South African bowlers though, still hold the edge and will be itching to have another go at the Indian batsmen after tea.