Johannesburg: Hosts South Africa produced a clinical all-round performance as they crushed India by 141 runs in the first one-day International, thus taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
This is the second biggest margin of victory by the South Africans against India in the ODIs played between the two teams.
After hammering the Indian bowlers into submission with a massive score of 358 for four, the five-pronged South African pace attack came out all guns blazing to bowl out the visitors for 217 in 41 overs. It was a thorough professional performance by South Africa as the Indians were outplayed in all departments.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni fought a lone battle scoring 65 off 71 balls (8x4, 1x6) as most of the top-order batsmen found it difficult to counter the pace of Dale Steyn (3/25 from 8 overs), the bounce generated by Morne Morkel (1/29 from 8 overs) and the controlled swing bowling by Ryan McLaren (3/49 from 8 overs).
The South African pace attack once again exposed the Indian batsmen’s inability to cope with pace, swing and bounce in adverse conditions after the trio of Quinton de Kock (135), AB De Villiers (77) and JP Duminy (59 ..) pulverised the young Indian bowlers hitting them all around the park.
From the onset, Indian openers Rohit Sharma (18 off 43 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (12) found it difficult to score runs as Steyn and Morkel swung the ball at a great pace making life difficult for the batsmen.
Rohit, in fact, played and missed a lot of deliveries as he got off the mark only in the 17th delivery that he faced. Dhawan on the other hand hit three boundaries, but when a Morkel delivery kicked up, the Delhi lad mistimed a pull shot which was taken well by ’keeper De Kock.
Rohit and Virat Kohli (31 off 35 balls, 5x4) batted for nearly 10 overs adding 46 runs in the process. Steyn and Morkel bowled with controlled aggression as they gave away very little.
Morkel was unlucky not to dismiss Kohli batting on two, when he got one to kick from short of good length but De Kock, in his bid to engage in premature celebrations, dropped the chance.
Kohli took a blow on the rib cage but played some lovely drives including a forward defensive push off Steyn that raced through extra cover while another on-drive off the very next delivery also fetched him a boundary.
A cover drive off Morkel and a pull shot from a McLaren delivery had touch of class.
However, McLaren had the last laugh when he bowled one in the off-stump channel that moved away with Kohli dabbing at it and Kallis at first-slip took the resultant edge.
The lanky fast-medium bowler then rattled Yuvraj Singh with short ball, followed by a fuller delivery that swung in to the left-hander hitting the middle-stump.
India lost their fourth wicket when David Miller, at short cover, effected a brilliant run-out with a direct throw that found Rohit short of his crease.
At 65 for four, Dhoni and Raina (14) had a partnership of 43 runs but a magnificent throw by Dale Steyn from deep square leg boundary saw Raina being run-out despite a desperate dive.
At 109 for five, the chances of an Indian win became bleak although Dhoni tried his best in company of Jadeja (29), adding 50 runs before Kallis castled the Saurashtra all-rounder. Dhoni lofted McLaren for a six to complete his 51st international half-century, but ran out of partners.
Earlier, Opener De Kock’s century and significant contributions from skipper De Villiers and senior pro JP Duminy helped the Proteas reach 358 for four in 50 overs.
Young De Kock batted splendidly up front scoring a 121-ball-135 studded with 18 fours and three sixes as he added 152 runs for the opening stand with Hashim Amla, who scored a patient 65.
The foundation laid by De Kock helped De Villiers and Duminy to launch a furious assault on the Indian attack as 135 runs were scored off the last 10 overs of the innings.