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Steyn removes openers before lunch

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Published: Sunday, December 26, 2010, 16:17 [IST]
 
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Steyn removes openers before lunch

Play on the first day of the crucial second Test between India and South Africa began an hour late due to rain and India lost the toss, being put in to bat on a slightly damp surface. At that point, the visitors must have suspected that circumstances were conspiring against them once more, just as they had done on the opening day at Centurion. But India was cautious not to repeat the initial mistake of that encounter. The visitors got off to decent enough start, reaching 43 in the 11th over, but then faultered with seamer Dale Steyn removing both openers and pegging India back to 48/2. Then, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar steadied the innings, finishing off the session at 74/2.

Sehwag took a couple of overs to settle in before exploding. In the 3rd over, he smacked South Africa pace bowler Morne Morkel for two fours, one, a straight drive and the other, a lofted shot over the covers. Vijay had a bit of beginner's luck when he was dropped by Paul Harris in the slips off speedster Dale Steyn, in the next over.

With first-change bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe being brought on in the 8th over, Sehwag didn't allow him to settle. He smacked the pacer for two boundaries - one through the covers, and the other, past the slip cordon. But in the 11th over, Steyn brought Sehwag's belligerence to an abrupt end when he had the batsman caught by Kallis at slips for 25. India were 43/1 when Rahul Dravid walked to the crease.

Vijay was experiencing problems against the pace and movement of Steyn. He was dropped by A B de Villiers after edging one delivery which went through to the boundary. In the very next ball, the shaky batsman was caught behind for 19 and Steyn had picked up his second scalp. Tendulkar joined Dravid at the crease with the score looking unstable at 48/2 in 12.5 overs.

In the 14th over, India moved past 50 and then in the 17th over, it seemed the new pair was settling into a decent partnership as Dravid and Tendulkar each took a four off Morkel. Tendulkar seemed to have hit his stride, for he smacked Morkel for two more boundaries in the over before lunch. India went into the break at 74/2 in 19 overs.

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