South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 1st day December 16, 2010

No warm-up leaves India's welcome cold

India may not admit it, but their decision to go into a tough series in alien conditions without any warm-up games may have fuelled the disastrous start in Centurion
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South Africa makes you feel welcome in many ways. At the OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg, there's a big portrait of Nelson Mandela with the football World Cup. You check in at the hotel, and they say Ulwamkelo (Welcome in Xhosa). The Ndebele say Siyaalemukela, the Sotho say Kamogelo. The Indian cricket team get a grand reception, the best training facilities and a South African to coach them. However, come match day, India would have been kidding themselves to expect a welcome too different to what they got.

Once the ground was dried and the toss was won, out charged Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, with the holiday crowd (celebrating, ironically the Day of Reconciliation) behind them. A brief hug was exchanged as they decided their ends, and then came pace and fire. Bouncer after bouncer followed from Morkel's arm, and the crowd bayed for blood. They sang for Morkel, they chanted for Steyn, and the resultant symphony - although joyful for Test-cricket lovers - wasn't quite to India's liking. The best new-ball combination in the world, Steyn and Morkel complemented each other with hostility and with swing. If India were expecting anything different, they were kidding themselves.

Yes the pitch was damp, and the ball seamed and nipped around. Harbhajan Singh later said a few stopped too. However, except for Rahul Dravid's dismissal, none seemed a direct consequence of a wet pitch. Virender Sehwag didn't last long enough to let the dampness have any indirect consequence on him, and Gautam Gambhir was worked over by Morkel.

India knew what they were getting into, they were mentally prepared, they tried to simulate what they would be facing by pulling the big players out of meaningless ODIs and sending them here early, but no amount of net sessions, no amount of video analysis, no amount of camp days can substitute for time in the middle. In the first place, it was ridiculous that the coach had to beg and plead to get to South Africa early for the camp. India were originally scheduled to have just two days of practice - which is the amount of time some members of the squad eventually got - and turn up for their biggest test as the world's No. 1 side. Two days to acclimatise to bouncier, seamier pitches, and thinner air. Go figure.

The result, though a bit surprising and spectacular, was not entirely shocking. This, after all, is a side that last played out of the subcontinent in March 2009. The first ball Sehwag touched on this tour moved a bit more than his body has become used to in the last 15 subcontinent Tests. And South Africa were ready with a third man not quite at the boundary. Gambhir was not given anything full by Morkel, who had got him twice in one day in Nagpur. He scratched and he fought, but he couldn't last, edging one of the rare length balls.

In 2009, India got away without a warm-up game in New Zealand because the pitches there held little of the terror of old, and Chris Martin and Iain O'Brien - no disrespect to them - aren't quite Steyn and Morkel. And as feared, after that series win, this has become a bit of a trend. While others were preparing for the World Twenty20 in the West Indies, the Indian players were busy playing Twenty20 cricket in the IPL. The team somehow eked out a warm-up game in Sri Lanka but then lost the first Test there, which probably undermined team management's case for practice games on future assignments.

MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten - who Sourav Ganguly thinks should have pressed for one warm-up game at least - have been making positive noises, saying they are trying to do the best with whatever preparation time they have got. Harbhajan went a step further. "I don't think the warm-up game would have made any difference," he said. "We are actually playing on a very different wicket, I mean a wet wicket where the ball is seaming and nipping. The warm-up game would have been on a perfect cricketing wicket. You can't complain about wickets, but we need to make sure we come back into the game."

One would have thought criticism from former greats for India's Australia tour itinerary in 2007-08, which included just one warm-up game before the first Test, would have had some impact, especially considering their loss in Melbourne. Ridiculously, though, it has become a luxury to get that one warm-up game now. India only have to look to the other series in the Southern Hemisphere where England have played four warm-up games and three Tests. Even their tour got off to a poor start, but they knew they had done all they could do to prepare for it. That cannot be said of India.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sandt on December 19, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Now what people have to tell after India's secong innings performance. they have shown that they are not flat track bully like all these people is telling. This is the beauty of cricket. They had one bad day but you have to consider the conditions also. If India got toss and fielded maybe the picture must have changed, our bowlers also have done well.We have seen how frustrating and clueless when Shehwag and Gambir started 2nd innings, Smith and company was totally clueless. We know SA will win tommorow but atleast India had shown character and deserves respect for that.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    When you swing the ball back in its a new world, Amir exploited every single weakness in English and Aussie batsmen in the last Aussie summer and the English summer and with pace.

    Johnson just needs to bowl, he gets too technical with stuff, just bowl mate.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Lets not do this shall we, that they had no warm up of any sort, if that was the case, I did not hear that from you before the test, you were too busy talking about how Sehwag flayed Steyn.

    Stop the whining, they went their, practiced on pitches, with new tactics, stand up and give it up to the two bowlers, and to the fact that India or any batting line up will struggle when really good bowlers get it right. There

  • Agus2010 on December 17, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Guys! We all know now that what India is capable of? If any team want to be a No. 1 means they have to perform well in any kind of pitches, Amla and Kallis can perform in any kind of pitches, so that we can call them well performer, I don't like to write more about others who called themselves match performer or winners

  • henchart on December 17, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    Gambhir,Raina and Unadkat should be repalced by Vijay,Pujara and Zaheer at Durban .Not that the three replacements are Greenidge,Chanderpaul and Akram but just that Innings defeat, which looks imminent at Centurion, can be avoided at Durban .As for the Indian fans,when the writing is on the wall,they choose to turn their backs instead of reading it!

  • praful_cric on December 17, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    Nice article Sidhartha especially the IPL part saying "While others were preparing for the World Twenty20 in the West Indies, the Indian players were busy playing Twenty20 cricket in the IPL". IPL is the worst thing happened to Indian cricket but best to BCCI.

  • lvli on December 17, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    .hope u will turn the tables in this ongiong test match,,,v r wid u guys,,,u can fight out for a draw,,who knows a miracle like eden gardens 9 years back can strike proteas this time...and india can win this game...this was just a matter of who won the toss...but that vl b irrelevant...i m sure with pitch easing out now...indian batting line up will show the same fight and desire as they showed up in new zealand and will draw this match...and as i said...very few will think india winning...very optimistic i am...but v indians r lyk dat.....and i must tell u CHAITANYA......even very few knew about ISHANT when he travelled to AUS and struck ponting every time,,,who knows unadkat can do lyk dat...and Proteas dnt fear the pace man...they have guys like morkel and steyn consistently giving them the share of pace in nets,,,they have to be beaten up with swing...lets hope and back up unadkat rather than demoralising the guy...hopefully he will do well..

  • D.Nagarajan on December 17, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    Actually BCCI preferred playing 5 "important ODI's" vs New Zealand than to focus on preparing for what looks to be a a tour from hell but which is also a reality check. Heads will roll at the end of the tour a few retirements are possible!!

  • Harmony111 on December 17, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Hey all Indian fans, your fundamental problem is that you chaps are so weak mentally. Just a day bad in the office and most of you have started giving up? Bear in mind that the conditions must have been very bad on day 1 after so much rain. Its a pity Zaheer Khan is injured. But still, as a fan, the least you could do is to give unflinching support to your team. Look at WACA. 1 bad day, 1 good day for Aus. That is Test Cricket. Even if India lose this test, they still have 2 more to play. Don be over critical. Have faith, have patience.

  • on December 17, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    1st test out of subcontinent after March 2009.....! this explains everything, the undeserved no.1 position, the poweful cash spinning board, the demolition in centurian, the no over 40 avg of any of the greats in SA and so on! now let smith and alviro (and amla's frm who is the best in current batters of the world, hasnt even started)) u can win be truly no.1 by not winning a grand slam (aus in aus or SA in SA),, and with only 2 worldclass players, tendulkar (over stressed by expectations) and zaheer, always injured),,, so lets wait for som eplaccid pitch in SA

  • Sandt on December 19, 2010, 16:20 GMT

    Now what people have to tell after India's secong innings performance. they have shown that they are not flat track bully like all these people is telling. This is the beauty of cricket. They had one bad day but you have to consider the conditions also. If India got toss and fielded maybe the picture must have changed, our bowlers also have done well.We have seen how frustrating and clueless when Shehwag and Gambir started 2nd innings, Smith and company was totally clueless. We know SA will win tommorow but atleast India had shown character and deserves respect for that.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    When you swing the ball back in its a new world, Amir exploited every single weakness in English and Aussie batsmen in the last Aussie summer and the English summer and with pace.

    Johnson just needs to bowl, he gets too technical with stuff, just bowl mate.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:00 GMT

    Lets not do this shall we, that they had no warm up of any sort, if that was the case, I did not hear that from you before the test, you were too busy talking about how Sehwag flayed Steyn.

    Stop the whining, they went their, practiced on pitches, with new tactics, stand up and give it up to the two bowlers, and to the fact that India or any batting line up will struggle when really good bowlers get it right. There

  • Agus2010 on December 17, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Guys! We all know now that what India is capable of? If any team want to be a No. 1 means they have to perform well in any kind of pitches, Amla and Kallis can perform in any kind of pitches, so that we can call them well performer, I don't like to write more about others who called themselves match performer or winners

  • henchart on December 17, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    Gambhir,Raina and Unadkat should be repalced by Vijay,Pujara and Zaheer at Durban .Not that the three replacements are Greenidge,Chanderpaul and Akram but just that Innings defeat, which looks imminent at Centurion, can be avoided at Durban .As for the Indian fans,when the writing is on the wall,they choose to turn their backs instead of reading it!

  • praful_cric on December 17, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    Nice article Sidhartha especially the IPL part saying "While others were preparing for the World Twenty20 in the West Indies, the Indian players were busy playing Twenty20 cricket in the IPL". IPL is the worst thing happened to Indian cricket but best to BCCI.

  • lvli on December 17, 2010, 11:41 GMT

    .hope u will turn the tables in this ongiong test match,,,v r wid u guys,,,u can fight out for a draw,,who knows a miracle like eden gardens 9 years back can strike proteas this time...and india can win this game...this was just a matter of who won the toss...but that vl b irrelevant...i m sure with pitch easing out now...indian batting line up will show the same fight and desire as they showed up in new zealand and will draw this match...and as i said...very few will think india winning...very optimistic i am...but v indians r lyk dat.....and i must tell u CHAITANYA......even very few knew about ISHANT when he travelled to AUS and struck ponting every time,,,who knows unadkat can do lyk dat...and Proteas dnt fear the pace man...they have guys like morkel and steyn consistently giving them the share of pace in nets,,,they have to be beaten up with swing...lets hope and back up unadkat rather than demoralising the guy...hopefully he will do well..

  • D.Nagarajan on December 17, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    Actually BCCI preferred playing 5 "important ODI's" vs New Zealand than to focus on preparing for what looks to be a a tour from hell but which is also a reality check. Heads will roll at the end of the tour a few retirements are possible!!

  • Harmony111 on December 17, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Hey all Indian fans, your fundamental problem is that you chaps are so weak mentally. Just a day bad in the office and most of you have started giving up? Bear in mind that the conditions must have been very bad on day 1 after so much rain. Its a pity Zaheer Khan is injured. But still, as a fan, the least you could do is to give unflinching support to your team. Look at WACA. 1 bad day, 1 good day for Aus. That is Test Cricket. Even if India lose this test, they still have 2 more to play. Don be over critical. Have faith, have patience.

  • on December 17, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    1st test out of subcontinent after March 2009.....! this explains everything, the undeserved no.1 position, the poweful cash spinning board, the demolition in centurian, the no over 40 avg of any of the greats in SA and so on! now let smith and alviro (and amla's frm who is the best in current batters of the world, hasnt even started)) u can win be truly no.1 by not winning a grand slam (aus in aus or SA in SA),, and with only 2 worldclass players, tendulkar (over stressed by expectations) and zaheer, always injured),,, so lets wait for som eplaccid pitch in SA

  • dharmadasa on December 17, 2010, 10:38 GMT

    Same old story for decades - India are good at home and useless elsewhere. That's why they have such high run scorers. They can only bat on flat dusty pitches favouring batsmen. When the bowlers can come on strong, India folds.

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    Go Biff.. show the two kids where they belong to.

  • sunny1307 on December 17, 2010, 10:12 GMT

    Im an ardent India and Australia supporter but i m sorry to say that a 0-3 scoreline looks inevitable for India in the current test series. And the result in Odi's will also be 0-5......atleast 3-4 players will be in doubt for the world cup coz they would be broken by steyn and morkel delieveries....so i feel its better to go out and get out early for indian batsmen than stay in the middle get get hit in ribs,elbow,head,groin etc etc by steyn and morkel......rest these guys for 3rd test and the odi's so that they could be fit for the world cup.anyways 3rd test would be just a formality so better send a new team for final test and the odi's coz we need our best guys for the world cup.......anyways amla and kallis would never get out.......best of luck INDIA......

  • Alkais on December 17, 2010, 10:07 GMT

    I dont understand what problems BCCI have in scheduling 2 warm up matches before the test matches when Indian cricket team tour outside. By Seeing the bowlers bowl, I feel pity for the team. Its high time, BCCI is cleaned up. They have only money in their mind, even if India lose the series, they dont care(just dont care). I really really feel sorry for Indian Cricket team and I dont agree with Harbhajan, as he said "warmup match wouldnt have made any difference", bowlers would have come to know what length to bowl on these pitches. Batsmen would have had some time out in the middle instead of practicing in nets. I really fee sorry for India. I am baffled to see the selection of Jaidev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav for the SA tour. who dont have exp of playing in any intl match. Just to fill the zone quota these players have been selected. nothing else. What happnd to Munaf who is bowling well.. Where is he..? He should have been called to Indian team and not these two players.

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    hopeless Indian bowling. Where is the group who were saying Indian bowlers will rip thru SA top order? If you call these hopeless fellows as your national level top bowlers, i really pity. Can ICC allow India to bat their 2nd innings continuously and set the target for SA. I hope that will be less than 136. :)

  • ratedstfu44 on December 17, 2010, 10:04 GMT

    2010 in India.........ind VS SA.....steyn took 7 wickets and bowled out india cheaply on flat pitch with reverse swing....what happened then???

    SA bowling out india cheaply regularly....whether india or SA....so no surprise on day1

  • on December 17, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    What a joke to even take Unakad to SA tour. The guy is just bowling at speeds of 125KM/hr, I thought he is a genuine fast bowler. What is wrong with the Indian selection panel??

    And it really doesn't look like he can take wickets.

    Don't know whats going on here.

  • raviscreen on December 17, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Hello everybody,

    I have read so much about this boy Virat Kohli who has got excellent big match temperament and having capability to play moving and bouncing balls. Unfortunately, we have a habit of typcasting players as ODI experts and Test experts.....I feel that here is a player who can adapt to both because of his temperament and skills

  • Lion_of_Lanka on December 17, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Hahahaha this is too funny. Some are calling Morne an average bowler when he ripped the Indian batting line up apart and others are referring to a 2006 series - that's even before the last world cup. I've got a more recent result. How about India getting 88 all out against an inexperienced Kiwi line up in Sri Lanka couple of months back? Indians please give credit where it's due. SA outperformed and outclassed your team and deserves to be number 1. Just admit it.

  • sabee66 on December 17, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    ha ha ha, very funny, all indian lions on paper got exposed and so called the most disputed world number position too...................i already predicted and won even $100

  • ashish514 on December 17, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    friends, no matter how much i would love to see India fighting back strongly, I see a slim chance for that happening. With no rain and bright sunny morning today, even the conditions are not favorable. Add to that absence of Zaheer, Sreesanth's habit of leaking runs, Ishant's inconsistency(though i think pitch is most favorable for him), an inexperienced third seamer and the form of SA batsmen like Amla, AB, Kallis etc. I fear we are looking at a big 1st innings lead. The only hope was our batsmen. If atleast we could have made 250, there could be some chance. Call me a pessimist, but for me even if India can avoid an innings loss, it would be some achievement.

  • GireeshDixit on December 17, 2010, 7:57 GMT

    I think we are missing the plot here. I am partially agree with the author that they should have 1 warm-up match b4 this test match. But Mr Sidharth, Lion always remain Lion. He doesn't have to go for practice before his each hunting. We all should admit that Indians play pathetically against world class bowlers[Steyn & Morkel]. Gambhir & Raina looks like a street player. They both have similar problems in the past as well on the bouncy wickets. Let me remind you also, India has never won a series against Australia & SA. There is no doubt that Some of the Indian players are world class but they are only good on Spinners friendly wickets. Even in their last tour to NewZealand, NZ board prepared slow piches for Indian team. BCCI plays a big role in this. India should have Pujara/Yuvraj in place of Gambhir/Raina. It's a poor selection of the team. Well done SA. You derserve this.

  • eomer17 on December 17, 2010, 7:51 GMT

    @Seshnath Garimella are u serious .''he relishes bouncier pitches and taller bowlers".nice joke.yuvraj's career is all but finish.he's not even a certainity in the odi side.we just saw his form in NZ odi's against "taller bowlers".gambhir is miles ahead .I guess tou're still watching the first t20 WC!!! haaaHaAA

  • abc3 on December 17, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    One word for SA fans. At least win at home consistently and dream of being No.1. You cant even hold fort at home against all teams then why even cry over spilt milk. You had your chance and couldn't hold onto more than a couple of months and promptly lost it back by losing to Aussies at home. LOL at the hypocrisy questioning India's status of No1. when they deservedly got it by winning consistently at home and away for the past 7 years.

    I wasn't achieved over night. Since 2003 India away 10 wins 10 losses (excluding bangla & zimbabwe). Honors even At home I don't even need to say what kind of record India has (outstanding is the word). That's how they are deserved No.1

  • CandidIndian on December 17, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    SA outplayed India on first day for sure and i see many people celebrating even some Bangladeshi fans who cant even dream of winning against Australia at Perth or winning a series in England forget winning in reality .At least India achieved that so they should worry about their own team instead of laughing at India.India have performed better playing outside Asia than all other Asian teams in last decade.Not making any excuses on performance of Indian team, they had no clue whatsoever about those firing balls and full credit to SA bowlers .As of now SA is a better team i accept ,however lot of cricket is left in the series .

  • Idol on December 17, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    It is a bit unfair to say that none of the wickets were a consequence of a wet pitch. It is not the wicket-tacking ball alone that gets you a wicket but also the balls that have been bowled before it. As for warm-up games, there is no point in blaming the team for it when its the BCCI's responsibility to get those in order. Yes, what is not acceptable is the way in which India folded up when it has as many as four batsmen who would walk into its all-time XI. That is a lot of experience to counter any bad pitch. I also agree with someone's comment here that Morkel is not a great bowler. I cant remember Morkel ever doing well on a pitch where there was no bounce. On the other hand, his bowling partner takes out the pitch from the equation. Steyn is a true fast bowler

  • on December 17, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    Would'nt Sehwag ,Gambhir and co. dominated over Steyn and Morkel in batsman-friendly conditions?These guys are the best in the world for some reason, and if being invincible in friendly conditions over just about anyone isn't one of them, then i wonder what is.Give India some time.Their foolish board had planned no warm-up games, and as luck would have it, we were exposed to the worst, right up -losing the toss on a moisture-laden pitch.

  • JB77 on December 17, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Ah. So away from home, India the 'Number 1 pretenders' are found out and emphatically so. This, along with Mitch Johnson's return to form, has made my day (especially Harbhajan's hilarious run-out). Never fear Indian fans - your team could always escape be threatening to go home.

  • chokkashokka on December 17, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Who makes these pastures - its supposed to be a PITCH not a ping pong table or a grazing ground for the SA players in their spare time. Whatever man - I say the BCCI stop playing SA and once the funds freeze up, the SA will see the light and groundsmen will start preparing wickets where we can see Sehwag light up the scoreboard - what's wrong with that? India funds world cricket - it should make the rules. If anybody doesn't like it - they can go home and complain to their mommy. Let it rain let it rain let it rain - ho ho ho. I'm ready for test match no. 2.

  • AlexAlderic on December 17, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Hi! Guys, Good Morning to All!! First of We think about that Pitch, Its really bad for batting because of raining. even that morning also. If we won the TOSS. We got some good results for Our Seamer's. We cannot make decision, We have a time Wait and Watch We will come back for this game. Hai Ho!!

  • Ghillli11 on December 17, 2010, 7:16 GMT

    I understand the lack of practice games, but, I don't understand why the criticism starts only after the result is seen. Is there anybody dare to criticize before the result? I have always seen criticism after a bad result, however, I hardly read them before the start.

  • Dhanno on December 17, 2010, 7:13 GMT

    very good article by sidharth monga.. it explains everything about indian cricket very well..

  • Balumekka on December 17, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Well.. Well... Well.. Seems having hard times again for a Subcontinental team!!!! Its pointless to comment about the current team ranking system. I think this again is an eye opener to Subcontinental teams, just to be aware that there is a totally different ball game outside the Sub-continent. Indians, being the best batting line up from Subcontinent, having a terrible time up against the SA. Had it been Sri Lanka or Pakistan, I dont think that they would even make 100+ in the first innings!!!! I have seen thousands of hair splitting arguments about the current rank system and the ability of present batsmen to perform on fast bouncy tracks, between Indian fans and Indian haters. Anyway, I don't think this is something to be ashamed of. This is the REALITY. We, sub-continental fans think that our teams are the best in the world, who could dominate in anywhere in the world. We got to respect the others as well!!!!!!

  • vatsatheboss on December 17, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    @Kenny Matthew: Steyn and morkel are in a league of their own..agreed..and if u see my post clearly I would have said 'SA has the better attack'.. The thing is, in conditions like these if you have good swing bowlers and tall fast bowlers you will trouble any batting line up (South african batting not exempted) .. South africa were bundled out for 84 in comparatively easier batting conditions in Joburg when india last toured..So its not that they too would ve been comfortable when batting on that kind of bowling conditions..The Current Indian team is not like previous teams..they have pacers who can exploit helpful conditions to the maximum.. so we can expect good bowling from the Indians too..and the batsmen are certainly better players than what we saw..We should not write this team off only after 40 overs of cricket..

  • on December 17, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    U guys r being so so sceptical just after watching day 1 of this long series..omg ..guys chill and comeon don't tell india don't deserve no.1 india do they have performed consistently well .but yeah now it's time to go abroad and perform the same...if u see when aus were no.1 they too were champions in their own backyard everyone is...and even australia has faced probs while goin abroad they have had several collapses but they fight back now tht's wht india has got to do today ...fight back and fight it hard..bowlers shouldn't give any room to the batsmen...sree will be the key in these conditions...and the batsmen dravid looked the most composed and sachin too aggressive..so matter of time by which india would come out strong...lack of warm up games is the reason of this ..anyways support india rather than being hypocrites.. :) thnk u

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    I think everybody here is just blaming INDIAN batsmen for wrong reason. Yes Steyn and Morkel bowled exceptionally well on a wet pitch with uneven bounce...Some of them bounced way overhead,some directly at head and some not so much.One of those got Dravid out.A wet pitch with so much grass and new ball is a deadly combination.Any team would have suffered.Unfortunately it was India that had to withstand it.Most unfortunate fact was the run out of Harbhajan at a critical time when was playing really good.It was just a bad day at the office like the one they had back in India when they was down at 15/5. They will get over it. On the other hand,SA had a perfect day.Everything they did was fruitful. Well played, Springboks!!

  • vivvi on December 17, 2010, 6:48 GMT

    gambir clearly struggling against short ball...its better he avoid them instead of playing ...trying to play them makes him look akward plus the role of any opener is to see off the shine in the new ball and not expose the rest of your batting line up which is exactly india is not used to bcos ball is hardly new after 2 overs in dry pitches like in india ..... gambir should stay patient ...

  • kushankella123 on December 17, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    Why are we being so judgemental in a day, sorry not even a day's play people... agreed that we didnt play well gambhir was looking ridiculous while fighting hard.... i repeat he fought hard... but you should always expect something better from arguably the best new ball pair and that too in absolute peach of conditions for fast bowlers.... there is custom kid who has said that sehwag can play those shots on roads... sehwag knows that mate but he has been successful playing those shots in melbourne, newzealand where the pitches were half prepared and everywhere in the world.. someone has said vijay is a much better option than gambhir.. why people want to make fool out of themselves... has vijay played under such conditions ever... i bet vijay would not be able to play a single bouncer not even as akwardly as gambhir... i would give indian team great chance to win this series.. and request people if they dont know cricket please dont voice ur opinion against the team!

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:45 GMT

    huh! its just the first day first test of a long tour, sick with them, India is gonna come back hard. Give these guys a break, they have proven credentials to be there to play for their country against the best bowlers, crick gurus who brag out here, pls try to even get into club cricket!! lol

  • Lion_of_Lanka on December 17, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Sidharth Monga please stop coming up with excuses for India playing so bad. India was clearly outplayed and outclassed by SA who deserves to be number 1 side. This shows how much of a joke it is that ICC has ranked India as the number 1 test team.

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    @Man007 average bowler like Morkel? excuse me sir what ishant and sreesanth proved in their career so far21 test 70 wicket at 34 a piece for sreesanth and 28 test 83 wickets at almost 35 a piece..compare to morket 28 test 98 wickets 31 piece.. what these record show by the way. you keep my words ishant and sree not going to make any impact on this bowler friendly pitch.

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    Selectors should have used commonsense....this Gambhir, Raina these fellows are good in sub-continent against spinners...Yuvraj is the one i like to see in middle order, he relishes bouncier pitches and taller bowlers....excluding Yuvraj from SA,AUS,ENG,NZ kinda tours is as foolish as including Raina in these tours :) ..... next time BCCI should take commonsense as first criteria while appointing selectors...I thought Steyn and Morkel will bounce out these mousy boys(Yuvraj is a obvious replacement then)...but they didn't even stayed in crease for that time....Curious to know what went wrong with Pujara and Mithun !!!!! why they were not in the team?

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    I just feel like saying "PICTURE ABHE BAAKI HAI MERE DOST".......... it happens on a green pitch with lot of moisture........ all those who are enjoying the moment plz finish ur celebrations fast or else u find no reason to celebrate later....... everyone will face the problem with such a pitch, No:1 is not an exception but what is expected from thm is bounce back... all the bst for the No:1 team..... Just give ur bst shot...... even a series draw proves we r btr thn the rst at skill.......

  • on December 17, 2010, 6:18 GMT

    @Man007 U call Morkel an average bowler?? Well that "average bowler" just broke the back of the indian team. He is going to make the Indian batters look like school boys. Just because he did not have any success in India does not mean he won't in his own back yard.

    Yes it is the beginning of the series and WHAT??? do u think that it is going to get easier to play him.

    Don't call the SA bowlers average because both are ranked higher then the Indian Bowlers.

  • addiemanav on December 17, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    @MAN007,morne morkel,an ordinary bowler???

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    @Man007 - Morkel avg bowler?? just compare Morkel stats with both the hopeless bowlers who were not sure of their places in the team. Gambhir really was like a TOY for Morkel.

  • jugster on December 17, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    Please quit all the whining about the pitch. it is a normal centurion pitch. the sub continent teams just cannot handle pacy seaming pitches. If SA had batted a score of 350 - 400 would have been the norm. The last series in India, in the 1st test the groundsman prepared a green top. result. India batted twice SA batted once> SA won by an innings and a couple. The next test the indians requested a cabbage patch and luckily won the toss and batted first. result SA lost by an innings and a couple due to wicket deteriation. unlike in the first test where the pitch flattened out. If India want to be recognised as no 1 in the world, let them win something away from the subcontinent away from home. ie SA and Aus. Maybe they should prepare their domestic wickets like they prepare their food. Hot and Spicey.

  • on December 17, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    only two changes enough forthe indian team. Dravid was good player, but his time is over now. he is struggling 2, 3 years. Drop Dravid from the squad, thr are lots of young talented players there in india. give the oppor to youngsters. also Raina is not test player, he is only suitable for ODIs and T20s. Pick up pujar/vijay/kohli. sure this players strokes shows they are really suitable for TEST matches also. im sure dhoni is talented wicketkeeper and captain for india. there are non of the wicketkeepers proved their talents in international leverl like Dinesh karthik/Parthiv Patel. Dhoni and BCCI should drop Dravid and Raina from TESTS.

  • hashabjp on December 17, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    Lord i asked for no rain and countless wickets. You were even, can't have everything. Now some more terror from the batsman on the indian bolwers. let the runs rain. True south african supporter through thick or thin.

  • rdx155 on December 17, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    Morne Morkel & Dale Steyn were outstanding with the ball. They made good use of pitch & conditions after winning the toss. Probably practice game would have helped indian team. It is not that easy to apply yourself in overseas especially when you have just played a test series in sub-continent recently. Atleast 1 practice game would have helped indian batsmens. Such strong India batting line will sure get the momentum right.

  • Point4 on December 17, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    @Custom kid-Dravid definitely didnt resemble a cagged rabit...he looked calm and in terms with the bounce(remember the minus bottom hand edges and text book rock solid defence)till he got out.another batsman who seemed comfortable was Sachin (whats new there)but Lax will come good eventually..agree with all your comments though.this is how test matches should be played and BCCI..piss on them .hopefully Indian fans are watcing this and realising what Dravid means to India.(hes downplayed here a lotin favour of flat track bullies who hit 6s on end on roads)and full credit to Morkel and Steyn..bravo!!

  • ProdigyA on December 17, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Well there you are Indian haters at their best, waiting for every small opportunity to pounce on them saying over rated team, over rated batting lining up, over rated sachin blah blah blah and coming up with the most stupidest stats to prove those worthless points. The point is very simple if your team was better it would have been no. 1. Secondly, watever the consequence of this match/series, the greats will always be greats AND FINALLY WHAT THE HELL IS RAINA DOING IN THIS TEST TEAM, PLS KICK HIM OUT.

  • srcric on December 17, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    India is playing outside Indian soil,not the same pitches..here we will see how they play...good team should be able to play anywhere in any condition..but India play well and win only inside the subcontinent..this is a good example..

  • on December 17, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Most of the people expected India to crumble given their horrid past...so, where's the surprise? Even if the SA bowlers bowl badly in one session, they have the fielding to cover up for the lapses and come back strongly in the next. India won't be getting away nowhere. While India bat, they will literally bat out India of the series. No.1 country definitely needs rain god to bail them out.

  • Ind_Cric_Fan79 on December 17, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    Steyn and Morkel rockzzz... INdian batsmen need to learn a lot from these wickets... Hope India wil come back... gud and tough test for India in SA.... Indian bowlers should use the wickets to bring back India into the game... Common India... @for India bashers, batsmen of every team will find it difficult to play in bowler friendly conditions..

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    @ Venkatragavan - I know you dont have anything to comment except watch.. :)

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    To all those who says, if SA batted first they would have been in the same situation as India.. I totally disagree, they might have been 139/3 or 4 not 9.. Show me a bowler in the Indian playing eleven who can match with Morkel as Steyn is class apart. Ofcourse we have 4 days of play yet. But yesterday was a sheer fun to watch all the ROADSTAR Indian batting lineup getting bounced by the bouncer. Gambhir got the real test match taste outside sub-continent. Steyn always plans and traps Sachin. No other fast bowler has done like this to Sachin. Hats off Steyn. Go SA.

  • PATHANIAS on December 17, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    C'mon . No matter how gud player u r , u always need to get going with climate and conditions. Playing a Test straight is foolishness. I m not surprised to see India collapse. Should have played at least couple of three day games and then it Would have been different Indian team. By the time they get used to conditions series will be over.

  • kiranmn on December 17, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    sunil_just_loves_test_cricket : I dont know why you are going for Dravid's blood once again. For your kind information, he was the only player who looked calm and confident and was ready for a fighting test century in our entire innings. Unfortunately it was a bad decision against him and he was out.

  • stormy16 on December 17, 2010, 4:51 GMT

    An argument was won yesterday by SA but the battles and war are a long way off!! Ind were caught on a juicy first day wicket against the best opening combo in the world and I wouldnt put too much in to that - the result was inevitable and not many batsman would have survived that pace attack on that wicket. What suprised me is the TV commentary put up the stats of the Indian batters in SA and no one averages even 40 which was a shocker for me, with Sachin the best at 39. Their going to have to correct that to even think aout winning the series but they definitely have the biggest guns on board to do it - lets hope the wickets are a bit more friendlier than yesterdays.

  • East_West on December 17, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    This state of indian batting is NO SURPRISE!! If we have a backbone it is the time to prove it! I am NOT sure why BADRI is still ignored by Dhoni and BCCI! THis guy plays well against bouncy pitches and we still don't give him a CHANCE!! Let us see if Suresh Raina is good enough to be a test player against SA in SA!! Same with Gauti!! I am not sure what our team is thinking when they were going back to the dressing room!! May be they have a plane to catch or run to loo....or something else in their mind!! Pathetic batting...and funny we boast the best batting lineup......Sachin's 50th test century?????? yeah, hope he can score a decent 50 in this series!!! aren't we the #1 in TESTS!! yeah! i forgot!! Dravid the wall!! LAxman...hope he can come out with decent scores as well!!!UNDAKAT scoring a 50...that will be a good news!!

  • rohan024 on December 17, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    although being an Indian, it was pretty embarrassing to watch y'days proceedings but i say this is the cricket we all want to see..Good Pitches, Bouncy pitches are the need of the hour and only that can pull test cricket out of the rut it has put itself in...I may be hurt at India's batting but i give full marks to the curator for preparing an excellent pitch, which reminded me of the cricket of 90s...

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 17, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    oh..wait..it is just the beginning of this series. If av average bowler like morkel got that much bounce, assume what will happen when Ishant or Sreeshant bowls...and see how many 100s SAs will score...LOL

  • on December 17, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    @vatsatheboss: i would think twice before i post comments... how can you compare the Indian bowling line-up with the South Africans???? i don't get it.... and who do you think will match the quality of pace that Steyn and Morkel has ??? Sharma???? Please , even if India had bowled it would have been a different altogether... and India are the best players of spin bowling (i agree), but how about pace???? you come to SA u gotta play pace , so spin bowling is not a possibility.... I may be wrong in all what i said , but you can't deny that India are 136/9 and its all due to pace and the fact that Indians staring down barrel of defeat and the number 1 rank in jeopardy....

  • On-Drive on December 17, 2010, 4:29 GMT

    Why Only Indian batsmen? South African batsmen were bowled out for 80 odd in 2006-07 series. Everyone struggles on a seaming wicket with moisture. Indian batsmen are no exception

  • tareks_bangladesh on December 17, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    to prove that India is Number One they have win test series away from home...specially in Australia(WACA).....England (Oval).....South Africa (Centurian)....West Indies (Jamaica)......Sri Lanka (Colombo)....when u will win all these series...then come and we will acknowledge...India is number one....(Just like when Bangladesh thrashed Kiwis....some people told us to beat these teams).....BIG LOLLLLLLLLL

  • Morpheus273 on December 17, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    As a hardcore Indian fan yesterday was th enot the best day for Indian batters. Little bit of patience and application could have helped tremendously. Yes the wicket was tailor made for fast bowlers compounded by the fact that Steyn and Morkel used the conditions exceptionally well. But Sachin and Dhoni showed that with little precaution runs were not hard to come. In my opinion they could have batted better.

    Now, Saffers must not forget that they got lucky with the toss and would have found themselves in a similar, if not worse, situation at the end of the day. It is still not over. A score of close to 200 will be competative, considering the CHOKING capabilities of the Saffers. Wait and Watch.

  • ravirrs on December 17, 2010, 3:56 GMT

    Wow- this is Real Test cricket. But - I will not write off India, though this was expected. Perhaps, it would have happened to SA had they been batting.Since this is just the first day of play - i GUESS IT WORTH WAIT and WATCH. Traditionally, Centurion wickets gets better on day 3 onwards for batting.. SA should play well and hope rain God does not spoil the sport here :)

  • on December 17, 2010, 3:54 GMT

    Time to send Raina on the earliest flight back home and bring in Pujara.Agreed pitch was seaming and bouncy, but the way India played was not befitting a no.1 Far from it. winning in the subcontinent alone is not enough to be a world beating team

  • KAIRAVA on December 17, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    Drop Raina for the rest of the series and bring in Pujara who is a better test batsman and more technically correct.

  • dilscoop on December 17, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    Yes Indians have again proved that they are always poor starters - one has lost count on how many times they have lost the 1st test of an away series. The condtions had a lot to do with their predicament on the 1st day. 1. India should have defintely asked for a 3 day practise match - match practise is much better than net practise. 2. What was the need to play zaheer in the meaningless ODI's vs New Zealand? 3. Dhoni who is supposed to be instinctive on the field - is very adamant on calling "heads" at the toss (hoping law of averages will help) and continues to keep losing tosses - he should mix & match rather than being predictable at the toss. 4. Nowadays people get carried away by batting performances in T20's & ODI's - despite his start Raina does not have the technique to survive in test cricket (just like Yuvraj) - Kohli among the younger lot seems to be the best bet in tests along with Badri & pujara who seem to have the technique & the resolve to gut it out in the middle.

  • Tahmid_scofield on December 17, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    protia quickies ran through the indian FAMOUS batting line up,,,poor india,,,go SA

  • shettysaheb on December 17, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    Siddarth u seem have been watching some other game obviously, I read a lot of articles here and harsh comments but to say that weather and luck played a minor part is a big understatement... if the rain does not appear again it will be exciting to see how much movement morkel and steyn really generate under unhelpful circumstances... India played badly but to say all credit goes only to the bowlers is a bit harsh. If India had won the toss I am sure would have been turned there are some days when cricket just becomes difficult to play in... yday was one of them...

  • ATrueLegend on December 17, 2010, 3:24 GMT

    I agree that India shud have had at least one practice game. I think BCCI is most shameless cricketing body in world. They have been critisized so many times for their attitude towards cricket in general and towards Test matches in particular but when there are shameless ppl like sharad Pawar and his protege, ruling BCCI, you won't expect better than that. I would rather not blame players and agree that in such a condition and good bowling, none of the team in the world, would have scored better than this. I would rather praise SA bowlers than Indian batsmen. These batsmen are legend of cricket and will remain so and expect great performance by them in this series. All the best, India, come back strongly.

  • Rahulbose on December 17, 2010, 3:17 GMT

    No warm up, nice excuse for Indian team and fans. Fact is they could play 10 warm up matches and still will not be able to cope wiith SA pitches.

    I am surprised at how easily they folded, was expecting India to get in tight situations but given their batting order at least someone should have gotten some runs.

    This is starting to remind me of the 96-97 series.

  • on December 17, 2010, 3:14 GMT

    @CustomKid, why should we prepare wickets like this? We shouldn't prepare roads, but we don't need to prepare bouncy wickets either simply because spin is our thing. The ideal Test wicket is the one at Bangalore, which is a good batting wicket for the first two days, but with something for the fast bowlers in the first hour. Then one days 4 and 5, it really begins to turn. I think we should also prepare some dust bowls where the ball turns square from pretty much day one. If other countries have no qualms about playing fully to their advantage, then we shouldn't either. To our credit, we've only prepared sporting pitches in India for visiting teams in the past 5 years.

  • CricketkaFunda on December 17, 2010, 3:13 GMT

    I also challenge any team of any era if would have been played on this wkt under these conditions would have even worst result. The players from other countries can't play when wkt has a bit spin and they are crying hoarse after this one performance from India and from my point of view not great but certainly not as bad as making 80 odd runs which Aus made in Eng against Pak, recently that too when pitch had no demon in it. Keep watching . I'll be here again at the end of this match and after series and would love to see comments from ppl who does not know cricket but only make comments to downgrade legends of games. They themselves don't have any achievement in life but can start commenting whenever they see a little window. They are not fan of cricket but sadistic, underachieved ppl who feel good when they see momentarily failure from top achievers. I would rather praise SA bowlers for bowling a very good lines and for making full use of supporting conditions.

  • on December 17, 2010, 3:12 GMT

    SA bowling is hollow and once they see through Steyn and Morkel, India can have a free run as Bhajji showed with his effortless hits on Tstobe. In 2nd innings India should work hard to see these two bowlers off and show all their aggression on the bald guy, the old guy and the spinning guy.

  • on December 17, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    Gambhir was just embarrassing to watch. He just didn't have the technique to play the short ball. And I don't see him making any dramatic changes in his technique at this stage of his life. Vijay would definitely do better under these conditions. He is taller and has the technique.

  • CricketkaFunda on December 17, 2010, 3:04 GMT

    This is so strange, India made 138/9 on a bouncy, seaming wicket which had unusual bounce and seaming conditions because of rain and there is so much cry about Indian batsmen being flat pitch player and India not being no. 1 etc. It's not that India got out within 100 or made 70-80 odd runs. Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and even Harbhajan negotiated ball pretty well when they were at crease. Batsmen don't have many chances, one good ball can take wkt and pitch like that u need lots of luck alonwith good batting. I think India managed to make 138 runs on such a vicious wkt. It shows how much SA going to get hammered in this series. I give series to India by 2-1 or 2-0. It also shows India is no. 1 as there are more ppl to feel jealous about no 1 country. I wonder even previous no 1 teams like Aus and WI got out at times within 100 and not in such a vicious wkt and nobody cried at that time. Let the series unfold o/w all of u Indian detractors going to have egg on ur face. U'll see it

  • CustomKid on December 17, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    Nothing better than seeing bowlers destroy and scare the worlds best batsmen.

    Gambhir was plain embarissing the way he played that hostile bowling. Sewhag you can get away playing those shots on roads buddy but show us your defensive ability for a change.

    The rest looked like rabbits suck in the headlights of an oncoming car. THis is way test cricket in SA is the best. The WACA pitch was a ripper too - please start preparing more pitches like this that give the pacemen a chance.

    I'm betting Sharma is licking his lips to let rip on this deck given the crap he bowls on at home. I expect the Saffers to play it a lot better but again it's great to see the ball dominating the bat in a deadly fashion.

    Poor prep by the indians too, they needed more tour games but that is their own fault. They need to play their best to get through this one alive.

  • vatsatheboss on December 17, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    This Indian team is certainly not to be discounted.. Yes they batted poorly, yes the bowling was top class.. But we have the batting lineup to tackle it.. They will certainly play for a victory even now.. and All those people supporting South Africa just remember that in similar conditions a certain south african side was all out for 84 against an indian attack which was admittedly not upto the level of the current south african attack.. That goes to show that if south africa had batted yesterday they would ve been in a similar situation as they too would ve struggled to cope with swing and pace.. Also dont go overboard saying south africa are the best team.. they still dont know how to play spin.. Put them on a spinning track with bounce and even asif karim of kenya would ve dismissed them.. that evens out the scales.. No team is the undisputed best now..

  • Amar_bw on December 17, 2010, 2:09 GMT

    @mkstraight - You are stats are only partial. There are many instances of Sachin hammering Waqar, Akram, McGrath etc. To name one, have you forgotten Sachin's 98 against Pakistan in WC 2003 in South Africa? All the fast bowlers have great respect to Sachin. Don't forget that after all, he is a human and continuously playing tremendous amount of cricket and keeping his 1 billion fans satisfied for over 20 years.

  • on December 17, 2010, 2:01 GMT

    @JustOUT. The game has just started. I don't like to comment anything here except - wait and watch!

  • on December 17, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    INDIA EXPOSED- while there is no doubt this is a great Indian team, they are not despite all the chest thumping by Indian fans the best team in the world- FACT! Most of the points they garnered to rise in the rankings were from home series or away series against subcontinental opponents and of course New Zealand-who have been themselves been exposed as a very average side by Bangladesh!

  • on December 17, 2010, 1:43 GMT

    it was great to see the real fast bowlers and best batsmen fight. Though south african bowlers destroyed indian batsmen I hope they will return quite resonably........but it would be diffcult for them....Coz they hardly win test matches in other country except india/subcontinent. Now get ready for the another big fight.............

  • parpranav on December 17, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    i was kind of expecting this........however dravid's dismissal was completely unexpected as he was looking very solid.....i think that led to the downfall yesterday....

  • on December 17, 2010, 1:36 GMT

    I think, many of us expected this to happen. Writing away India is quite immature as much as expecting them to conquer and win this series.

    Also, the BCCI needs to be kicked for not letting them have a practice game. What the heck did they achieve by playing NZ in India? At this juncture, a practice game in RSA was more important than the ODI series in India. Doh!

    It'll be great to see the Indians fight back and survive. That will talk a lot more about their character and strength. \m/ Come on India \m/

  • on December 17, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    When the rest of the world was preparing for the T20 world cup in Windies, most of the Indians were playing IPL. We never learn from our mistakes do we ?

  • Kashi0127 on December 17, 2010, 1:25 GMT

    Wow - this waas real cricket. Watching Steyn and Morkel reminded me of Holding, Roberts days. And to Sehwag, Gambhir , Rainas who excel only on dead wickets this is the test they need to pass.

  • on December 17, 2010, 1:24 GMT

    Ha ha ha ha.. i am seeing lot may people criticizing indian batting line up against swinging conditions. I just imagine how SA plays against spin. There is nothing different. Indians have been exposed to their weakness and being tested. Same way, SA surrendered to India in spin pitches. Steyn looks awesome here and he was toyed by Shewag when he bowled to him in India. Would you criticize Steyn then? His weakness was exposed there like Shewag and other Indian batsmen here. There is nothing to regret and to be pride about it.

  • mahjut on December 17, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    a few things: @those few who have suddenly brought up 'choking' (so quickly when your team has a bad day!!?): SA are - rightly or wrongly (wrongly imo but i'll leave that for when the ODIs start) - known for choking, BUT.. it's for ODIs they're known for it. what they are not good at as far as i can see is finishing off the tail - they are also guilty of arrogance/overconfidence/complacency(whatever??) on occasion but this wicket was not worse than 'testing', made to look slightly worse by some very good bowling. Tsotsobe and Kallis CAN bowl but neither made the wicket look dangerous. ...@nuetral fan. I'm not convinced, I've been watching quite a lot of old videos, particularly of sobers, and the wickets were not worse than a lot i've seen in the last decade. not that I'm dissing those guys (i think real class will shine on challenging wickets - Dravid looked good, Tendulkar mostly looked good), but there are arguments - legitimate imo - that greatness exists not only in the past.

  • cricket_for_all on December 17, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    @ahheras; what? Are you including SL also. India didn't win SL as a number one team. So outside the Asia is not a good term. Please find better term.

  • swami_psg on December 17, 2010, 0:59 GMT

    As an Indian supporter, i have to blame the shot selection of quite a few batsmen for this batting collapse. Agreed. But please by no stretch should one call this a sporting track... if a ball shoots up from a bit short of good length, that is true bounce, but if a ball shoots up from well ahead of good length, that is just ridiculous! And dont blame the Indian pitches - come and play in the 4th day of a test at kolkatta or Mumbai and score a hundred, then we would say, the SA batsmen are world class players. Until you play in all parts of the world you are not a class player and so do it before you talk! and it applies for the Indian batsmen as well... over the next 3 tests you would get the answer as to why some of the batsmen in the Indian lineup are called world class players - so dont judge by this one innings on a overly juicy track!

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    I don't understand this hue and cry about India having to prove that they are No.1 in the world. ICC or someone is already calculating the points and have them at No.1. So what if they haven't yet won in SA? Did SA/Australia/England win in India? So if no one has won at all places, you only look at the best of the lot. This No.1 ranking does not imply India is the all-time best cricket team .It just means, out of the current lot they are better than the rest.

  • Hodra99 on December 17, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Hmmm..wonder how many more excuses we are going to hear? India have an aged batting line up and at best an average bowling unit. Number 1 in the world? at home yes, but away....no chance.

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    Raina is not a Test Player ... Dhoni still supports him while good players like Pujara are sitting and watching while Raina wasting a place. The only reason i can think of his inclusion is maybe he is a useful part time spinner. Batting Technique of Dhoni and most of all young kids look very ordinary.

  • HatsforBats on December 17, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    18 months of defending their castle at home to attain the #1 ranking and now 9 for not much in SA. What a suprise.

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:48 GMT

    guys match is not over yet...

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    Forget no1.This is vintage India of the 90s "Tigers at home, lambs abroad". BCCI is keeping too many Tests at home and too much of IPL too. Next year it is going to get worse with 10 teams in IPL. SA are looking clearly a top side, with awesome bowling by Steyn and Morkel. Morkel bowled like Curtly Ambrose. India now have to defend a paltry total with effectively only 3 bowlers (as Harbhajan is a batsman ! )- one of whom is a rookie.This match is done and dusted IMO. It requires strength of character to make a comeback in the series, that too with the next match being played at Durban, another traditionally weak ground for India.

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:47 GMT

    EXCUSES EXCUSES. No, SA wouldnt be in the same situation. We're used to wickets that are a little more difficult to bat on. INDIA don't have seamers any where near the class of Steyn and Morkel ESPECIALLY without Zaheer. So much hype about this series, especially from Cric info - the headline was "Series Preview: To Close To Call". I wonder who the author is supporting :-). More of the same today please. SA with a big lead and to bowl India out cheaply again. Sehwag caught at third man 4 out 6 innings, just you wait :-)

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:44 GMT

    @mahjut..lol You are pretty much right there mahjut. India are gonna prepare that kind of wicket. For an important series, you dont have Practice matches. Then, back home Gambhir is a God (or is he after Sachin). Let me tell you, even if he gets out for ducks in all of his innings, he would be selected for next test (saying, "Conditions in SA were difficult. He tried his best" lol). Ideally India would have wanted to bat out Day 1 and looking to score off from Day 2. But instead many batsman failed to aggressive strokes. Sehwag, do understand, you need some balls behind you before attempting a shot like that. Sachin & Laxman got out of similar deliveries. (Instead of trying to defend it with straight bat, they were trying to play on-side a straight & full delivery..they have something to prove..dont they). In theory this will never ends up...When SA comes next time to India, india would prepare a pitch for their liking and India might continue as No 1.

  • JustOUT on December 17, 2010, 0:36 GMT

    SA wouldn't be in this situation, if they batted first. So, all the Indian fans just accept your ROADSTARs will take atleast 2 matches to accustomed to BOUNCY pitches. It was sheer beauty to watch STEYN n MORKEL testing so called BEST Indian team. Eventhough 4 days still left, Day 1 was like real INDIAN masala movie where we had FUN(Gambhir surviving each ball against Morkel), Fast(Steyn & Morkel) and emotions(bhajji & Totsobe). Gr8 going SA. As Dhobi says, always play to your strengths means just lay GREEN BED for next 2 matches also.

  • mkstraight on December 17, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    To add to the Records: Sachin over all average 56.67 Against south africa 38.18 against Pakistan 42.38 Against south Africa sachin Average always remained below 40. he has never gone above 40. Against Pakistan sachin average till 1999 ( When Great Wasim and Waqar were playing) 32.38- Wow. Sachin scored bulk of the runs when Wasim Donald Walsh, Ambrose Waqar Retired from the international cricket. He is a bully on placid indian tracks and mediocre bowling attack. only two indian players were the best 1) Great Gawasker and 2) Rahul Dravid Sachin is infact very very good only when the bowling attack is mediocre. for a proof just filter his records

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 17, 2010, 0:23 GMT

    Only an idiot(s) would send a Test side abroad without at least one proper warm up game. The subcontinent is wholly different to SA. They will be half way through the series before they are actually in SA. it's an arrogant and foolish move. Further India's exalted position is built in no small measure on playing two Test series'. Serioiusly the ICC should weight series according to number of games in them, and generally frown on these mini series except vs Bang and Zim when they return, and move towards making them extinct. 3 Tests should be minimum and 4/5 Test series preferable.

  • kr_kinshuk on December 17, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    hmmm.... from what i remember a certain side fell for 84 when these two sides met for their first test match the last time india toured south africa....

    but noone wrote such obituaries for the south africans! did they????

    more importantly, south africa lost that game but came back to win the next two and the series and we've seen this side come back from bigger disasters.....

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    N DEY COMPLAINT BALL TURN SQUARE N BOUNCE VARIES ON OUR PITCHES ON 4th n 5th DAY....hmmmmmm

  • Nerk on December 17, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    You would think India would have learnt from their last tour to Australia. They failed to prepare there, got wolloped in the first two tests, and then fought back in the last two. They didn't prepare, they didn't have a first class game and they got beaten. If they had time playing a state side, they would have been prepared from the start and may have won the test series. Now they have done the same thing again. Will they learn this time? Probably not. On the other side of the world, England set themselves three first class matches before the first test, were well set and are giving Australia a hiding.

  • on December 17, 2010, 0:00 GMT

    i think drope raina and bring pujara in he has better technique than raina in playing fast balls or bouncer...

  • Chris_P on December 16, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    @bc1992. 100% agree with you. No one outside of India was the least bit surprised at this result. Most of the Indian top 6 have been to SA at least twice before, some more, and they have always struggled with the pace and bounce, so why, in their advanced ages where reflexes are slowed a little more should they suddenly improve? A look at their averages and perfomances in the past in SA (when they were even more in their prime) shows a huge deficit against their overall career averages so it makes sense they were always going to struggle this time. Anyone who thinks SA would have been similarly placed are dreaming. They have grown up in these type of conditions, they have a far better idea how to play to them. For those Dravid knockers, he was one batsman who was actually showing how to play in these conditions but received an absolute jaffa to be dismissed. Class is always on show in these conditions.

  • ahheras on December 16, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    Sehwag scoring triple century in flat subcontinent pitches haha where is he now, india can't win a single sereies outside of asia

  • UriGagarin on December 16, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    No warm up matches ? Why ? Last time Eng played Aus in Australia we played 1 and you saw what happened (not that it was the only fault, but it made the first game SO much harder).

    No matter how unimportant the tour is to the visiting party , and I can't imagine that SA should be regarded as playing Kenya or Canada, you need the time to get used to simple things like light, atmosphere and more important stuff like the pitches. OK, the weather hasn't helped but grief, learning all that in one go on the first day of a 3 test tour is quite frankly, stupid.

  • world_peace on December 16, 2010, 23:40 GMT

    @anselhosein, If Tendulkar is not the Best Batsman around , Who is? Just Wondering, Also iam gonna take your word for it coz you sound smarter and seem to know more than the legends of the game who played with Tendulkar. Your response will determine , who you are

  • Desihungama on December 16, 2010, 23:40 GMT

    BCCI is going to exhaust India Team before the WorldCup. Same old story over and over agian. I am from Pakistan origin and a big big fan of the likes of Sehwag, Ganguly, Dravid. I truly feel BCCI does it to the team every time before the mega event and play them too much, of course for the revenues. Players should be resting and play some domestic matches in mid February to get some quality pratice. But to be frank, India should be playing Pakistan for these practise matches but we all know that is not going to happen. How else are you going to improve f you don't play one of the best bowling teams out there? This series in SA on bouncy tracks is completely unneccessarry.

  • on December 16, 2010, 23:31 GMT

    India too damn overrated. They really showed us their true colors today. Cant wait till they clash against BD in WC and lose again :)

  • braindead_rocker on December 16, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Funny to see the jealous comments from some fans against India.

    This same SA team which is rightfully known as the choker team capitulated on the same Kolkata pitch when India made 690 to just 250? So can we say SA does not deserve the 2nd place? They lost that match by an innings.

    India can equally mount pressure on SA and remove them out cheaply. If India gets to 150-170 sorts and bundles SA for 250-270, then we have an even match on our hands. This batting collapse will not occur the 2nd time. I am predicting that this match will be a draw or a hardly fought SA victory but I can guarantee and the Indian 2nd innings batting will be far better than this one.

    The main problem is India did not practice much in SA. But I am sure they will bounce back. Go INDIA.

  • on December 16, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    Who is not No. 1 in their backyard? Almost everyone. This is a lesson for India to make better tracks other than flat dead tracks for batting. They are at No. 1 due to their winning record at home. Step out and this is what happens. Good Job SA.

  • on December 16, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    Im from pakistan and to me.. india is a way better team than any team in asia right now. The only problem???.. SHORT BALLS! once they sorted out this problem they are lethal and dangerous enough to beat anyone, however.. current good length experts are good for the team coz there only 65 days remaining in World Cup and this time india will be at their home ground. So why they learn SHORT BALLS right now?, just bear 65 days more, Win the world cup with Good Length Balls and then you have Four years to learn how to play a short ballz!. :)

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on December 16, 2010, 23:09 GMT

    Anyone who thinks the pitch was unsporting needs to re-evaluate their judgment. Yes there was a bit of seam movement and a little bit of swing, but in no way was that pitch in any way, shape or form even close to being unplayable or "unsporting". This is a proper cricket pitch where good quality fast bowling is rewarded. It is not your standard pancake/chapatti flat track you get these days.

  • mahjut on December 16, 2010, 22:52 GMT

    """Lesson for India: for the next home series, prepare pitches that turn square from day one.""" ...and hope the series is not vs SL - or worse BD (who may end up winning a test series in India should the wkt turn too much! :) ). Lesson really is: warm up - it is ridiculous that they didn't!

  • on December 16, 2010, 22:48 GMT

    One other thing: Raina OUT Yuvraj IN

  • Smasher79 on December 16, 2010, 22:47 GMT

    What !!! So the greats like sachin, dravid and the best player of 2009 LMAO gambhir (Seriously man) need a warm up to show their greatness. SA played Pak in alien conditions. Do you think they had some practice matches in their bag before they took them on and won the series. No I don't think so. Not to mention that Pak bowling attack will always be superior than India's, so winning against such a formidable attack on a stranger pitch is called a great achievement. There are always 2 reasons for a batting collapse. 1) Brilliant bowling 2)stupid shot selection. It was a display of both today. Nothing to do with lack of practice. Stop making excuses India!

  • on December 16, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Why oh Why did India not play any warm up games ? It is utter stupidity. Part of the reason why England are doing so well down under is that they have prepared meticulously, including THREE warm up games before the 1st Test. India wud rather play some meaningless ODIs v an awful kiwi side. What sort of preparation is that ?

  • on December 16, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    India is over rated!!!... Reality is what we are about to witness in the next few days.

  • on December 16, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    SA would have been in the same situation if they were asked to bat 1st....it's all about bad scheduling and no preparation before going onto field before any match practice

  • Reezmayan on December 16, 2010, 22:34 GMT

    guess ppl forgot about YUVI. this is also a great excuse if he was there India would have been in a much better state. come on guy!! the fact is India doesn't deserve to be no.1 thats the truth

  • anselhosein on December 16, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    This proves beyond a doubt that India is NOT the best Test team in the world right now. The are #1 only in India. Also, Tendulkar is NOT the best.

  • Bang_La on December 16, 2010, 22:32 GMT

    @BHARATLIFE, wow you have good memory! Yes we rember how mighty Indian batting is on the pitches of Kanpur 2008, or Mumbai 2004. YES! Indian pitches, right! Well, now wake up, its South Africa!

  • cricket4evar on December 16, 2010, 22:31 GMT

    India doesnt have the batting quality to sustain the Number 1 position and their batting has been found wanting against quality fast bowling in the past. Its just that india hasnt had to face decent fast bowling for a while now. Either way. I think south africa take this series 2-0

  • MrGibbs on December 16, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    I love the excuses here... Sure it was a bowlers paradise but it was just plain old bad batting - Terrible shots, puts it down to pressure. India should have adjusted and batted accordingly to the loss of early wickets. Keep it coming SA.

  • Sandeep7282 on December 16, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    Well, what the fuss is all about..!! Australia at its prime never shared a great success in India same the case with SA they don't have a great record against india in india. HOME IS ALWAYS ADVANTAGE, you cannot write it off, and this is just 1st day of the 1st test, most ppl are talking as the scores are settled already.SA are notorious for as chokers, they always THINK they are the best in the world. They probably are best in their own backyard. I want all of you ppl to....AUSTRALIA lost number of series in india even when they are ranked no.1. HOLD your egos and let they fly on the final day of the final test. :)

  • on December 16, 2010, 21:56 GMT

    Well what the hell do you expect when they didn't have any warm up games? That is either very arrogant or very stupid. England had THREE warm up games before the first test against Australia, and India have NONE? Well the result really isn't surprising then is it?

  • jupiterlaw on December 16, 2010, 21:53 GMT

    Now, with Steyn establishing himself in Sehwag's head, I expect Sehwag to have a miserable series.

  • bc1992 on December 16, 2010, 21:30 GMT

    Honestly, no one outside of India is surprised at what happened on the first day - flat track bullies are not suddenly going to discover batting technique on a testing pitch. Its not a bad pitch by any means, a bad one is where life and limb is in danger. Actually having to work for your runs - wow, what a concept!

  • Herbet on December 16, 2010, 21:28 GMT

    Seaming wicket + good fast bowlers = India in trouble. Works every time.

  • davidvt on December 16, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    ALL YOU PPL ARE JUST MAKING EXCUSES FOR INDIA. HERE IS THE TRUTH: INDIA ARE NOT THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD. THEY HAVE REALLY GOOD PLAYERS, BUT THOSE PLAYERS DONT PERFORM CONSISTENTLY FOR THEM TO BE THE BEST TEAM. SOUTH AFRICA HAVE GOOD PERFORMERS AND THEY DESERVE THE NUMBER ONE SPOT. INDIA GOT TO NUMBER ONE BY BEATING TEAMS LIKE NEW ZEALAND AND THE LIKE. TEAMS LIKE NEW ZEALAND CANNOT BE COMPARED TO SOUTH AFRICA(SMITH,KALLIS,AMLA,DE VILLERS,STEYN). THE QUALITY IS A BIIIIGGG FACTOR.

  • BHARATLIFE on December 16, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    Well this is like... if this is this... then that... it that then this..... i think this is is an bit of an over exeggerated article..... I mean, Gary was absolutely right.... in taking the players some days.....I think India would have also had South Africa in tatters had they won the toss..... I mean let us not forget Kanpur 2008, or Mumbai 2004, I mean... things happen...... It is just the early jitters...... Tendulkar was comfortable, So was Dhoni and Bhajji,,,,,, it is not like we cannot play.... Of course... they should have gone with a warm up or two.... Still i do not see any reason......why they need to crucify Indian batting over one performance.....I would say...... see the next three days...i do not think neither team will reach.....400 in this test....... So ... let us see....

  • on December 16, 2010, 21:05 GMT

    Nothing really surprising,we (especially die hard indian team fans)should take this with a pinch of salt, on a seaming pitch, INDIA was not up to it, both preparation and application have gone horribly wrong,we have got what was waiting for us. Still if we can save this test (wishful thinking? overambitious? or both ? ) without help from weather ,then we can salvage some pride.We really need to pass the Steyn-Morkel test to remain No 1.

  • Emad1209 on December 16, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Sounds like the longest excuse anyone's ever written for their team on cricinfo...

  • green_jelly on December 16, 2010, 20:45 GMT

    Lesson for India: for the next home series, prepare pitches that turn square from day one.

  • da_team on December 16, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    WOW and to think of the Heat the Aussies are getting on their batting oh well go SA.

  • on December 16, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    either rain or shewags second innings can save this match to a draw >

  • cabinet96 on December 16, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    So true. From the first ball (where Gambhir could have been out LBW if there was a review system) India have looked out of their depth.

  • on December 16, 2010, 20:13 GMT

    India's FTBs failing on a track that gives a little assistance to the bowlers,well thats not a surprise now is it?

  • YogifromNY on December 16, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    No amount of criticism from former greats, or reporters, or from fans who will vent here will make the BCCI change their ridiculous policy of sending India to defend their Test ranking overseas with not a single match of preparation. England's preparation of having FOUR warmup games shows up the stupid bosses of the BCCI and their money-grabbing ways. The result was there for all to see on day 1 of this test. As usual, India will lose the first test, bounce back in the second and then go on to lose the series 2-1.

  • on December 16, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    I think it wasn't surprising by any means.Gambhir is what we call flat track bully.The way he was dancing in the T-20 WC against Darren Sammy at Barbados gave impressions of a player who has no skills of negotiating the bouncing balls.He didn't do any better here.Dravid being so short in confidence was only looking for boundaries through third man.Laxman and Tendulkar disappointed.Dhoni should get rid of his buddy Raina.Dhoni's luck has ran out.He can't win tosses at all.From now on,India will be catching up South Africa in this test.

  • KrikFan on December 16, 2010, 20:10 GMT

    Harbhajan is right in the sense that they might have played the practice match on a much less futile track than they got for the first test but still warm-up match would have made a big difference in acclimatising the players to local conditions and getting a feel of leather on the wood. Also since the famed Indian batting line-up scores less than 40 per innings, any runs in the warm-up match maybe a 50 here and there from the big 4 bats would have gone a long way in easing out the pressure and they would have come on the field with more confidence.

    On the funny side - doesn't Jaidev looks like having a head of Venkatpathy Raju on Venkatesh Prasad's torso :)

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on December 16, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    If nothing else, I hope more respect is shown for great batsmen of the past. THIS IS A WICKET FROM THE PAST, A TRUE TEST WICKET and too often fans downplay batsmen like Bradman,Sobers,Gavaskar and Hobbs who had to play more often on pitches such like these as well as rank turners Steyn and Morkel once again stepped up and proved that they are the best fast bowling pair in the world, no, not Asif and Amir but Steyn and Morkel (would also like to see "fans" start showing more respect for players other than their own). Still THIS MATCH IS FAR FROM OVER and SA will feel pressure to first clean up the last wicket cheap and then bat sensibly on a challenging pitch.

  • on December 16, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    First of all India should drop Gaumbir he has major flaws that dont show on flat pitches in India but very much exposed when they go abroad.

  • Steve_Stifler on December 16, 2010, 20:02 GMT

    Before the match started there was a lot of talk whether or not Sachin would score his 50th test hundred. After the match started, the biggest question though, was whether India would get to 100.... And somehow they did....

  • golax on December 16, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    Seriously! Sid Monga needs to take a stand consistently. One moment he's talking about it being too tight to call between both teams (admittedly with a very bad excuse for a head to head analysis) and not he's talking about how evident it was that India would capitulate.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    everything is going as expected

  • Venkat_Super_11 on December 16, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Sidharth, it's more easily said than can be done. If the same Indian batsmen have stayed there for long and scored 200 for 1 or 2 wickets today, your article would have been different. I am undoubtedly, a great fan of your articles--but only today I am unfortunately falling apart. I think Harbhajan didn't say anything that you or I failed to witness today. Ball certainly seamed, swung and also stopped and we did see that. Don't just be too hasty to write off Indian team and don't bring in IPL and world cup here to substantiate your claim. Haven't we seen mighty teams succumb to opposition's bowling attack in less than 50 runs? Or haven't we witnessed the same team which had to follow on in the first innings gone all the way to win the test? Criticizing is good but must be healthy enough. I am keen to see what you will write (hope you won't go and hide yourself--with all due respect, I am saying this) tomorrow if India manage to get the SA out in 200 runs.

  • phoenixsteve on December 16, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    It seems the Indians have been scalped by the cowboys - this time around! Oh dear .... can't wait to read the fan's reactions! It's easy to guess which copuntry the posters will be supporting- but harder to decide which PLANET some of them are on!

  • ATrueLegend on December 16, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    I don't understand this, India has history of playing first match really bad. In most series, either home or away, they tend to undergo holes and lose matches (though sometimes saved by VVS). Why don't they play 3 day or 4 day matches with some first class team whenever they tour away? As you mentioned, no amount of practice can match time at the middle, It's been long that I have seen India playing any first class cricket before the real series match. Who listen when board and players are more interested in endorsements and money, who has time for real cricket? Though I am an Indian fan still I am really happy from this result as it is good for the test match and to show that you require more than casual effort to get success in test matches.

  • Bang_La on December 16, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    India ought to export an India-made pitch alongwith the advance contigent to show their batting might! Otherwise, it will be same ole story again and again on bouncy pitch with 140 km fast bowling :)

  • dhonis11 on December 16, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    ALL is not lost..if dhoni and that new kid can fight early morning n we get a score of 175.things can become even stevens.Our bowlers have to bowl good line and length and make the batsmen earn for each and every run.Even if INDIAN team loses...we all wanna see some fight.this will test their character and mental strength.One bad perfomance cant destroy what these top 5 batsmen have achieved in the past.This is stills world best batting line up on any given condition.if they fail,i dont see many others succeding ..go MSD..we r with u !!!

  • i-s-r-a-r on December 16, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    You can come up with many excuses like india is traditionally slow starters or they did not get to play warm up matches, but at the end of the day what was apparent is india is still clueless when it comes to dealing with genuine bounce. they looked like rookies out there except sachin and dravid (who incidentally are the most experienced ones, so no surprises there). and just a warm up match wouldn't have made a difference in what india has been incapable of dealing with probably since they started playing test cricket.

  • KAIRAVA on December 16, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Why did BCCI not schedule atleast a 3 day first class tour match before the start of this all important test series ?????? England played not 1 but 3 tour matches before the start of Ashes 2010 in Australia and have reaped great results so far. No amount of training and camping can substitute valuable playing time in the middle. Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Raina, Laxman, Dhoni, Ishant, Sreesanth, Harbhajan, Unadkat reached SA 10 days in advance and it is ridiculous that they did not play even a single tour match during this period !!!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    Very well said, the BCCI had this series as per the FTP. They could have easily requested to move the New Zealand ODIs to some other time slot, the Kiwis would have obliged. Mr. Pataudi has said that 'moral value' of BCCI should increase, it should includes value towards Test Cricket and performance of players.

    Other option would have been to spice up the wickets in the home tests versus the Kiwis, but the pitches were called '10 day Test pitches' etc. Not having a single former Test cricketer in the top role in BCCI does this. Selectors only have roles in selection and not organising.

  • itduzz on December 16, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Good to see Indian FTBs exposed by Steyn & Morkel.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Alright bad performance by India but I agree with Bhajji when he said a warm-up wouldn't have made much of a difference. I dare say things would have been similar (almost) if India had won the toss and bowled. Agreed there was lack of application by some batters - Wiru played the way he always does, Gauti got bogged down and more then anything else Morne kept playing on his mind, Raina - well I honestly doubt if he is suited against quality pace/swing/bounce, Sachin/Laxman looked good for sometime but eventually made mistakes (that got them runs on easy paced wickets) and it was good to see Dhoni fighting it out with his unorthodox pattern. - I'd say let's reserve our comment(s) till the end of the series and then start questioning Team India

  • Gulshan_Grover on December 16, 2010, 19:22 GMT

    India is still far better than other subcontinental teams. Other teams would not have gotten past 80. I mean if a team does not play tour games and directly goes to a test match this is expected. India will win the third test is given. Who ever wins the second test will win the series. Simple.

  • NewYorkCricket on December 16, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    well said. You are always in doubt if you don't prepare well. Net practice does not help.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    considering these tests are pushed into an itineary.. why shud one complain... and its not like the first time India has suffered this bad... aint SA the place where we got shot out for 66 and 100.. to be fair.. if we had Zak and had bowled first SA wud have been in tatters tooo maybe not as bad but defn not a spectacular 300/2 or anything...

    to add; u make an absolute turner and invite SA and they wont cross 120 in the fourth innings no matter what they prepare.. this is just the reverse for us.. lets not fret over tht.. a natural check before the WC wud b grt... circa 2003 NZ tour anyone???

  • kalyanbk on December 16, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    No excuses. The Indian team as a whole are not the best players of fast bowling in bowler friendly conditions. This weakness has improved over the years but with so much experience behind their backs, one would have hoped for better. The test match however is not over until we see how the Indian bowlers bowl and how they bat in the second innings. I however predict a run fest for SA and an innings rout in the first test. I expect draws in the other two games and India will retain their No. 1 ranking.

  • apoorvajoshi13 on December 16, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    Why dont you stop doing such silly analysis over and over again...agree that this is your job but dont you feel the people who need to act on these common sensical thoughts(BCCI pitch committee and other officials) perhaps dont ever read this....its pathetic what we common cricket fans can understand but the people who govern never get to feel that...preparing pitches where the bounce is knee high and all these batting stalwarts getting tonnes of runs...shame on BCCI ( just waiting for the next big fiasco IPL4 to happen)

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    Hope India come back inot this game, we want to see a contest

  • GeekyCricket on December 16, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    BCCI ,really doesn't care about players or practise games.Even Dhoni or Kirsten request's wouldn't have made any difference.Am not making any excuses or Taking anything away from South Africa.Proteas are a very good team,in their backyard they are devastating. One could really see that indian batsmen were not upto it.It takes time to get used to conditions and weather. Practise games would have helped. But ,i guess even inthe future away tours PRACTISE MATCHES will never happen for India. End of the day,"If you fail to prepare,you prepare to fail".BCCI and Selectors are the biggest joke.

  • sunil_just_loves_test_cricket on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    Same story no match practice on different condition and a collapse. However, the story would be same if SA batted first here either someone like it or not. Its a win win situation for Smith during toss because if this was happened to SA after choosing batting first then he will simply blame on conditions and of,course they did well so no prob. Few things very annoying in this short day of test cricket. Raina does not count in playing 11 as a batsman he is just a fielder. He should be quickly out of test arena and bring Pujara. Viru bold and beautiful:bold for his daring acts of hitting dangerous shot and beautiful for the shots he plays, so no issues. Series is just started the contest is not over b/t S & S till 6 innings. Dravid please retire. Gambhir this is a real test for him. Sachin ahmm master got a good bowl and somehow missed. Dont worry Indian fans this is only the first day. Match practice and all its Ok be cool and patience its test cricket.

  • mrcricketlover on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    Ah the match is not yet over, just wait for the 2nd and 3rd day too before giving credit to SA. India did disappoint us but can still bounce back ....common India, we love you :)

  • Anshul.Abbott on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    An article written in complete hindsight. Fair points but wonder if the same would have been written had India scored 130/2 at stumps today. An article a day too late and typical Indian media style. Expected better from Cricinfo. Are we recommending Harbhajan to bat at No. 3 next? Btw, when was the last time you saw an opening spell like the one today? Any team would have suffered.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    INdia played sloppy cricket it was tough too in new conditions but yeah everyone expects no.1 team to play well but i do feel tht we'd play much better once we get used to it a bit so i expect a much better performance iin the 2nd innings by the batsmen...and among the batsmen well i felt only dravid was calm composed and was sure of his shots and himself...tendulkar was gud too but he too had some awkward movements chasing the ball away from his body...gambhir well was struggling from the word go..rest all were victims of some classy seam bowling...raina still struggling to move forward...rest dhoni i hope he continues for another half n hour or so looking gud...then the bowlers should do the job for india by taking imp wickets :)

  • Desihungama on December 16, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    Every top team has played Pakistan before gearing up for the mega tournament in March next year. This only proves it is only Pak no matter how testing times are, can put opposition to the brink. Take that India. By the way, what are you doing playing on these bouncy wickets when the World Cup is on dead pitches of Sub Continent? Go Sehwag. You are a star.

  • on December 16, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    How is it that no one is complaining of a bad pitch? If a subcontinent team were to dish up a rank turner, people from all over the world would start screaming saying it was a bad wicket and not one up to international standards. Was this wicket up to international standards then? Hmmmm..... I think there needs to be a balance between bat and ball - if you have a wicket where the test will most likely end in 3 days time and where the toss is as vital as it was today - what's the fun in that? Stick the shoe on the other foot and let me know...I am sure the South Africans would have been in similar territory if they had batted today.

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  • on December 16, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    How is it that no one is complaining of a bad pitch? If a subcontinent team were to dish up a rank turner, people from all over the world would start screaming saying it was a bad wicket and not one up to international standards. Was this wicket up to international standards then? Hmmmm..... I think there needs to be a balance between bat and ball - if you have a wicket where the test will most likely end in 3 days time and where the toss is as vital as it was today - what's the fun in that? Stick the shoe on the other foot and let me know...I am sure the South Africans would have been in similar territory if they had batted today.

  • Desihungama on December 16, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    Every top team has played Pakistan before gearing up for the mega tournament in March next year. This only proves it is only Pak no matter how testing times are, can put opposition to the brink. Take that India. By the way, what are you doing playing on these bouncy wickets when the World Cup is on dead pitches of Sub Continent? Go Sehwag. You are a star.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    INdia played sloppy cricket it was tough too in new conditions but yeah everyone expects no.1 team to play well but i do feel tht we'd play much better once we get used to it a bit so i expect a much better performance iin the 2nd innings by the batsmen...and among the batsmen well i felt only dravid was calm composed and was sure of his shots and himself...tendulkar was gud too but he too had some awkward movements chasing the ball away from his body...gambhir well was struggling from the word go..rest all were victims of some classy seam bowling...raina still struggling to move forward...rest dhoni i hope he continues for another half n hour or so looking gud...then the bowlers should do the job for india by taking imp wickets :)

  • Anshul.Abbott on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    An article written in complete hindsight. Fair points but wonder if the same would have been written had India scored 130/2 at stumps today. An article a day too late and typical Indian media style. Expected better from Cricinfo. Are we recommending Harbhajan to bat at No. 3 next? Btw, when was the last time you saw an opening spell like the one today? Any team would have suffered.

  • mrcricketlover on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    Ah the match is not yet over, just wait for the 2nd and 3rd day too before giving credit to SA. India did disappoint us but can still bounce back ....common India, we love you :)

  • sunil_just_loves_test_cricket on December 16, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    Same story no match practice on different condition and a collapse. However, the story would be same if SA batted first here either someone like it or not. Its a win win situation for Smith during toss because if this was happened to SA after choosing batting first then he will simply blame on conditions and of,course they did well so no prob. Few things very annoying in this short day of test cricket. Raina does not count in playing 11 as a batsman he is just a fielder. He should be quickly out of test arena and bring Pujara. Viru bold and beautiful:bold for his daring acts of hitting dangerous shot and beautiful for the shots he plays, so no issues. Series is just started the contest is not over b/t S & S till 6 innings. Dravid please retire. Gambhir this is a real test for him. Sachin ahmm master got a good bowl and somehow missed. Dont worry Indian fans this is only the first day. Match practice and all its Ok be cool and patience its test cricket.

  • GeekyCricket on December 16, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    BCCI ,really doesn't care about players or practise games.Even Dhoni or Kirsten request's wouldn't have made any difference.Am not making any excuses or Taking anything away from South Africa.Proteas are a very good team,in their backyard they are devastating. One could really see that indian batsmen were not upto it.It takes time to get used to conditions and weather. Practise games would have helped. But ,i guess even inthe future away tours PRACTISE MATCHES will never happen for India. End of the day,"If you fail to prepare,you prepare to fail".BCCI and Selectors are the biggest joke.

  • on December 16, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    Hope India come back inot this game, we want to see a contest

  • apoorvajoshi13 on December 16, 2010, 19:12 GMT

    Why dont you stop doing such silly analysis over and over again...agree that this is your job but dont you feel the people who need to act on these common sensical thoughts(BCCI pitch committee and other officials) perhaps dont ever read this....its pathetic what we common cricket fans can understand but the people who govern never get to feel that...preparing pitches where the bounce is knee high and all these batting stalwarts getting tonnes of runs...shame on BCCI ( just waiting for the next big fiasco IPL4 to happen)

  • kalyanbk on December 16, 2010, 19:15 GMT

    No excuses. The Indian team as a whole are not the best players of fast bowling in bowler friendly conditions. This weakness has improved over the years but with so much experience behind their backs, one would have hoped for better. The test match however is not over until we see how the Indian bowlers bowl and how they bat in the second innings. I however predict a run fest for SA and an innings rout in the first test. I expect draws in the other two games and India will retain their No. 1 ranking.