South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 2nd day December 17, 2010

Indian bowling listless in Zaheer Khan's absence

Under pressure after a poor batting effort, on a pitch that had eased out but was still lively, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth missed Zaheer Khan, the leader of the attack
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Harbhajan Singh was bullish when asked, at the end of the first day, whether Zaheer Khan's absence had done India psychological damage already. "We have not bowled a single ball yet, so I can't say if we have missed Zaheer Khan or not," he said. "We have got other bowlers. If you see previous games, Ishant Sharma bowled really well in Nagpur. The other guy, Sreesanth, bowled really well. Spinners also bowled really well. So we don't depend on one particular bowler. And we have bowlers who can adapt to any condition and get us wickets. We are no more a team that depends on one particular batsman or bowler. We believe everyone can perform in given conditions."

On paper, or even on websites, that sounds good. In reality though, under pressure after a poor batting effort, on a pitch that had eased out but was still lively, Ishant and the "other guy" missed the leader of the attack. The man who could show them what lengths to bowl, the man who would stand at mid-on, put an arm around their shoulder, and suggest slight corrections to get them wickets.

It could be argued that the Indian medium-pacers didn't have the pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, and were hence ineffective. Sreesanth and Ishant, however, have always relied on movement as opposed to pace. When he won India the Wanderers Test on the previous tour, Sreesanth did it with movement, and not pace.

There was movement to be had here too. And both Sreesanth and Ishant had it aplenty in the first spell. Except that Sreesanth kept erring on the shorter side, not bringing Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen forward at all, which is where the edges would come. Loud tuck after loud tuck followed off Sreesanth's bowling as both the batsmen could stay back and cover the movement, and also leave balls on length. The stares that he gave the batsmen after they defended balls back to him smack off the middle of the bat grated, and also earned him a lot of heat from the crowd who cheered when he misfielded, and had a lot to say to him. One of them seemingly had to be asked to leave too.

Ishant looked likelier to get a wicket, especially with the seam movement he obtained at the start. The first ball he bowled beat Smith, but it was pitched outside leg. The second missed the edge slightly outside off. However, despite the movement Ishant failed to make Smith play enough. His lengths created doubt, his lines ruined the effect. The openers chose to leave 17 deliveries from him, and Smith deliberately played inside the line of several others. Ishant didn't go round the wicket to Smith, nor did he try a bouncer like he meant it. The new ball would set the tone, and there was no doubt as to what kind of music it played.

The bouncers arrived when the ball was some 40 overs old, and had some sort of impact on Hashim Amla, but one wonders if that sort of variation would have taken so long coming had Zaheer been there. By then, a selection blunder had also been put on display. Jaidev Unadkat, about as non-violent as the other man from Porbandar who came to South Africa decades ago, clearly is not the fourth-best fast bowler in the country. He didn't swing the ball, he didn't have pace, he wasn't Test-ready. Nor is Umesh Yadav the fifth-best.

Rahul Dravid, speaking after the day's play, admitted Zaheer could have made a difference. "He has obviously got a lot of experience," Dravid said. "He is someone who has played all over the world, and is the leader of our attack, so obviously you are going to miss him. You can't help it. These things happen. People get injured. Especially when you fall behind in a game, you need somebody to step up and Zaheer has usually been our go-to man in the last couple of years. He wasn't there today.

"The other guys tried their best. [But] South Africans batted really well, and the wicket eased out really considerably. It's a learning experience for a lot of our younger bowlers, in terms of their lengths. Maybe we could have bowled a bit fuller, maybe we could have made them drive a bit more."

Abhimanyu Mithun impressed the team management with his strength and spirited bowling on the Sri Lanka tour, where India drew the series on unhelpful tracks in the absence of Zaheer, Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh. He will now be wondering what wrong he has done to not be on this trip. Knowing the Indian selectors' ways, in all likelihood nobody has told him. To send two rookie fast bowlers on such a big tour, one of whom has played four Ranji Trophy matches and the other who failed to create any impression in two ODI defeats against Zimbabwe, was as big a blunder this selection committee - used to making blunders - has made. There could be an argument worth considering that the selectors have been frustrated by Munaf Patel, but against Mithun there is no case.

Two days into India's tour of reckoning, both their wings have malfunctioned, and they find themselves facing one of their worst defeats in recent times. While they have been at the wrong end of conditions to an extent, neither did the day-one conditions merit 136 for 9 nor did those on day two merit 366 for 2. Test cricket provides a second chance though, a shot at redemption. This team has redeemed itself in the past, but the players know if they are to get out of this one - without the help of weather - it will take the very best of their efforts and huge improvements in all aspects of their game.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • StarveTheLizard on December 18, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    I don't believe there is a sport out there that is more dependent on the environment than cricket. The nature of any match will be completely controlled by the pitch, for example. The current pitch is definitely a case in point. It is the kind of pitch that SA players grew up on. Indian players only see something like this on occasion. A similar situation is happening in Oz right now. The first two pitches were low-slow things. England won easily. Perth is hard and bouncy and they look like a totally different outfit! Put India on a pitch that resembles their home ones and they will perfom much better.

  • Razor88 on December 18, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    HenryFonda - There are Lots of points which Caught my Eyes But this one Jus Got me like a Raw Shot of Gin."Its the Village Blokes who are Stronger than the City blokes".Its a Proven fact But Our board can't spend enuf money on that Petty things like Conducting a programs in the rural,Giving a Better Facility in the Stadiums and Especially Having a Sporting Wicket - the fact is when they come to the HQ they wont need any Pockets because they wont have enuf of it.Its the sort of Idea the guys in India have and hence you see the IPL tournament which is a Huge hit.They give more importance to that than the world itself.

  • on December 18, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Nice excuse Sidharth ... So what is the excuse for getting all out for 136? Was Zaheer supposed to prevent that too? And isn't cricket a team game? Since when did teams rely only on one individual? Steyn or Morkel didn't get 7 or 8 wickets individually right? Excuses excuses excuses :-) Never heard many from the real number ones in the past. Neither the WI team of the 80s nor the Australian team of the 2000s!

  • spinkingKK on December 18, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    I don't how an 18 year old fast(?)bowler can get picked up for a top fo the table test series just because he has taken 13 wickets against the mighty West Indies B!!. West Indies B wouldn't win the tournament in Afghanisthan domestic tournament if given a chance. West Indies senior team might just win it. I can't understand how the selectors could pick up these bowlers who bowls in 120KPH and hope that they will win the matches for India. I am sorry Unadkat, you are a young guy with lots of dreams and may be you will become a world beater one day. However, I am sure you and Yadav will agree that you guys are wrongly picked infront of R.P.Singh, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Ajith Agarkar, Mithun, and Balaji. Most of these guys (except Mithun of whom I haven't seen much of and Pathan) are all capable of bowling at a speed between 130kph to 145kph. How can I put an idea in Srikanth's brain to bring in Irfan Pathan!!? He only has to remember the Perth Test match 2 years ago.

  • Bang_La on December 18, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    @Aussasinator, well you are calling # 1 team's bowling as rubbish! Wait till India play on their home pitches with the umpires :)

  • andrew-schulz on December 18, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    What a blissful couple of days of Test cricket as the two great pretenders get their noses rubbed in the dirt. Australia have now picked up 15 English wickets within the space of 190 runs while making a good score in between, and India are heading for one of the greatest beltings in Test history, showing how woeful they are when things are not stacked heavily in their favour. India and England, flat-track bullies, makers-up of rules as they go along, horrible abusers of power off the field, and beneficiaries of a hopeless rankings system, which Hraig seems to take too seriously, are getting totally what they deserve. In fact, India are just kidding themselves if they think they have ever been in the top two, while producing devastating results in the last three years at Ahmedabad, Colombo, Nagpur and now Centurion. Losses by an innings and plenty which just don't show up in the ratings. Massive results in the sub-continent but complete disasters away.

  • on December 18, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    really angry with the selectors... why did they pick two reserve bowlers who couldn't have even played for India B team...how could they be so blind for such a crucial series...Ashish Nehra,RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan all are cooling their heels in India and we have send Jaidev and Umesh Yadav to South Africa, i dont blame these two young kids... but they have to prove themselves at Domestic level, IPL is no parameter for Test cricket...Mr. Srikant you were awfully wrong in picking 15 players for S.Africa tour...the Blues have been undone by their selectors....please pick bowlers who can pick 20 wickets in a test match!!!

  • Icyman on December 18, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    Who on earth is Jaydev Unadkat ? No past record, why select him in the first place. Whne you have proven people like RP Singh who have done well in RSA, get them in and make them play. Though in the current match, even Zak wouldn't have been able to penetrate the African batting. He may have got Smith early on in the innings, but thats where the buck stops.

  • cricket4evar on December 18, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    @rahulbose not quite. Didnt you see the one day series in aussie. there more to the attack than malinga. there are genuine swingers of the ball which is more than i can say for india. @HenryFonda Sl's batting lineup got a bit more grit. And zaheer or no zaheer, SL tops indias bowling lineup hands down one arm tied behind its back. The real question is how did a team like india qualify for no1. answer is with a bunch of tests all played in the subcontinent. India barely qualify for top 5 in my book

  • bhaloniaz on December 18, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Zaheer is a decent fast bowler. He can play a role in any test team. So india would do a little better with him. There is no doubt indian batting is gr8, but their average is a bit inflated (because of flat tracks). For the same reason india has weaker fast bowling. Indian fast bowling is weak. But they would do better with PK, Zaheer, Irfan, Sreesanth/Isanth/Munaf. Indians are obsessed with pace. No other country will play a bolwer just because he can throw at 140k range. Regional bowling and batting record should be used to pick a player. Irfan as an allrounder gives so much flexibility(watson, kalis, perera, johnson). Indian trick of playing two fast bowlers in india work because spinners can bowl long spells at home. but spinners also have worse strike rate. Also India does not have a dominance in spin. Pak, SA, Sri, Eng, (even NZ, WI, Bang, Zim) all have comparable spinners. India's best bowler is not Harbhajan, its Zaheer.

  • StarveTheLizard on December 18, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    I don't believe there is a sport out there that is more dependent on the environment than cricket. The nature of any match will be completely controlled by the pitch, for example. The current pitch is definitely a case in point. It is the kind of pitch that SA players grew up on. Indian players only see something like this on occasion. A similar situation is happening in Oz right now. The first two pitches were low-slow things. England won easily. Perth is hard and bouncy and they look like a totally different outfit! Put India on a pitch that resembles their home ones and they will perfom much better.

  • Razor88 on December 18, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    HenryFonda - There are Lots of points which Caught my Eyes But this one Jus Got me like a Raw Shot of Gin."Its the Village Blokes who are Stronger than the City blokes".Its a Proven fact But Our board can't spend enuf money on that Petty things like Conducting a programs in the rural,Giving a Better Facility in the Stadiums and Especially Having a Sporting Wicket - the fact is when they come to the HQ they wont need any Pockets because they wont have enuf of it.Its the sort of Idea the guys in India have and hence you see the IPL tournament which is a Huge hit.They give more importance to that than the world itself.

  • on December 18, 2010, 11:11 GMT

    Nice excuse Sidharth ... So what is the excuse for getting all out for 136? Was Zaheer supposed to prevent that too? And isn't cricket a team game? Since when did teams rely only on one individual? Steyn or Morkel didn't get 7 or 8 wickets individually right? Excuses excuses excuses :-) Never heard many from the real number ones in the past. Neither the WI team of the 80s nor the Australian team of the 2000s!

  • spinkingKK on December 18, 2010, 11:09 GMT

    I don't how an 18 year old fast(?)bowler can get picked up for a top fo the table test series just because he has taken 13 wickets against the mighty West Indies B!!. West Indies B wouldn't win the tournament in Afghanisthan domestic tournament if given a chance. West Indies senior team might just win it. I can't understand how the selectors could pick up these bowlers who bowls in 120KPH and hope that they will win the matches for India. I am sorry Unadkat, you are a young guy with lots of dreams and may be you will become a world beater one day. However, I am sure you and Yadav will agree that you guys are wrongly picked infront of R.P.Singh, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Ajith Agarkar, Mithun, and Balaji. Most of these guys (except Mithun of whom I haven't seen much of and Pathan) are all capable of bowling at a speed between 130kph to 145kph. How can I put an idea in Srikanth's brain to bring in Irfan Pathan!!? He only has to remember the Perth Test match 2 years ago.

  • Bang_La on December 18, 2010, 10:47 GMT

    @Aussasinator, well you are calling # 1 team's bowling as rubbish! Wait till India play on their home pitches with the umpires :)

  • andrew-schulz on December 18, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    What a blissful couple of days of Test cricket as the two great pretenders get their noses rubbed in the dirt. Australia have now picked up 15 English wickets within the space of 190 runs while making a good score in between, and India are heading for one of the greatest beltings in Test history, showing how woeful they are when things are not stacked heavily in their favour. India and England, flat-track bullies, makers-up of rules as they go along, horrible abusers of power off the field, and beneficiaries of a hopeless rankings system, which Hraig seems to take too seriously, are getting totally what they deserve. In fact, India are just kidding themselves if they think they have ever been in the top two, while producing devastating results in the last three years at Ahmedabad, Colombo, Nagpur and now Centurion. Losses by an innings and plenty which just don't show up in the ratings. Massive results in the sub-continent but complete disasters away.

  • on December 18, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    really angry with the selectors... why did they pick two reserve bowlers who couldn't have even played for India B team...how could they be so blind for such a crucial series...Ashish Nehra,RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan all are cooling their heels in India and we have send Jaidev and Umesh Yadav to South Africa, i dont blame these two young kids... but they have to prove themselves at Domestic level, IPL is no parameter for Test cricket...Mr. Srikant you were awfully wrong in picking 15 players for S.Africa tour...the Blues have been undone by their selectors....please pick bowlers who can pick 20 wickets in a test match!!!

  • Icyman on December 18, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    Who on earth is Jaydev Unadkat ? No past record, why select him in the first place. Whne you have proven people like RP Singh who have done well in RSA, get them in and make them play. Though in the current match, even Zak wouldn't have been able to penetrate the African batting. He may have got Smith early on in the innings, but thats where the buck stops.

  • cricket4evar on December 18, 2010, 10:26 GMT

    @rahulbose not quite. Didnt you see the one day series in aussie. there more to the attack than malinga. there are genuine swingers of the ball which is more than i can say for india. @HenryFonda Sl's batting lineup got a bit more grit. And zaheer or no zaheer, SL tops indias bowling lineup hands down one arm tied behind its back. The real question is how did a team like india qualify for no1. answer is with a bunch of tests all played in the subcontinent. India barely qualify for top 5 in my book

  • bhaloniaz on December 18, 2010, 10:18 GMT

    Zaheer is a decent fast bowler. He can play a role in any test team. So india would do a little better with him. There is no doubt indian batting is gr8, but their average is a bit inflated (because of flat tracks). For the same reason india has weaker fast bowling. Indian fast bowling is weak. But they would do better with PK, Zaheer, Irfan, Sreesanth/Isanth/Munaf. Indians are obsessed with pace. No other country will play a bolwer just because he can throw at 140k range. Regional bowling and batting record should be used to pick a player. Irfan as an allrounder gives so much flexibility(watson, kalis, perera, johnson). Indian trick of playing two fast bowlers in india work because spinners can bowl long spells at home. but spinners also have worse strike rate. Also India does not have a dominance in spin. Pak, SA, Sri, Eng, (even NZ, WI, Bang, Zim) all have comparable spinners. India's best bowler is not Harbhajan, its Zaheer.

  • jsoops on December 18, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    lets also remember Australia bowled out South Africa for 138 @ durban,march 2009, lost the series 2-1 too, so SA also lags when its come to sweet chin music, so lets not harp too much on the indian collapse its part of the game, but i agree that indian bowling line up is not of international standard,even if zaheer is fit he will need support, he alone cant guarantee india the 20wkts,

  • Chapelau on December 18, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    SA are a good, well balanced side just missing a spinner. They are making the so-called world No.1 team look very second rate. Before the game I said I could not see India taking 20 wickets - maybe I should have added "in the series".

  • vpk23 on December 18, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    There is this guy...ABU NICH OR SOMTHING...HE WAS QUICK OF WHAT WE SAW OF HIM IN THE Champions League. 140KS

  • on December 18, 2010, 9:40 GMT

    why India is harping on second fiddle bowler like Sreesanth ? he is of no class to this kind of cricket .. how can india stay No 1 for long with this class of bowlers in country like South Africa !!! may be captain wants his friend with him ! even now it is not too late !! can call Mithun for the rest of the tour ..otherwise , india is going to get defeat of washout 3-0 !! that is for sure Srikkanth to wake up !! save country's pride ..n to stay at No 1 position .. captain cannot keep quiet like this for long

  • JustOUT on December 18, 2010, 9:39 GMT

    Ques for all Indian Fans - Lets say Zaheer plays this match, do you guys think still India can take 20 wkts in SA. NOOOOOOO WWWWWAAAAYYYYY. The way these 2 hopeless bowlers are bowling, i think Zaheer has to take 5 wkts per match and Bhajji has to change himself into Fast bowler. If India scores 500+ in SA, then SA will score 700+ with these Indian bowlers.

  • on December 18, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    India being no.1, (so much cry these days for this) means India have played relatively better Cricket against a cluster of team. By no means it says that the India is better than SA. In the same period SA's performance against other nations taken as one entity has not been as good as India's even though they may b superior to India. Remember in 1996-98, India had defeated Aussies 3 out of 4 times,, still they were never regarded team better than Aussies or anywhere near #1.

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 18, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    Just look at the face of Sreesanth in this article??? Will anyone accept it's an aggression? NO WAY. He is one of those ugliest sportsman I've ever come across in my life. Wonder how people support India when they have a player like Sreesanth. Can't even imagine... Such a disgusting player...

  • sristykrishnaprasad on December 18, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    What one has to understand is that India has never proved its track record overseas. It is no doubt undisputed champion at home but again the level of competence globally is what matters. One can't really blame unacclimatisation for dismal performance that India has just put up. A good bunch of boys left for south africa well in advance and even got training sessions at the kirtsten's academy. Well the problem is with the degree and quality of attack. India has never trained its products on bouncy tracks and hence this struggle and paltry scores should be palpable. What one needs to address is the crux of the problem. If the statutory body decides to train the boys abroad by loosening their schedule a little, the quality of attack can be improved.

  • AB235 on December 18, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    India has no desire to develop fast bowlers. Occasionally some good bowlers come on the horizon but petty politics and regional bias coupled with dead Indian wickets keep them out. India also does not have a development program in rural and tribal areas, still we concentrate on the available talent in our cities. The same reason that prevents India from doing anything good at Olympics, we can assign for India's difficulty in getting bowlers who need stamina and fitness. If we remember right, Kapildev came miles away from any recognised city for cricket in the 1970s and even today, we are waiting for a worthy successor to him. There are many, will be many, if we go get them from where they are. If one says that this argument is not good since India has good batsmen. Exactly! it is not difficult to find batsmen in cities - in fact, most of them prefer to be batsmen for the sort of conditions our pitches offer in India. And then a good, fit and strong talent like Mithun is left behind!

  • Aussasinator on December 18, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Let's face it - the Indian bowling is a heap of rubbish!

  • ABP235 on December 18, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    It is rubbish to say that India is struggling without Zaheer. It will struggle even with him! These guys cant go beyond 130kph, what they will do even on good bowling conditions? the 10-15kph higher pace that Steyn and Morkel bring in makes such a big difference. See even Tsotsobe who cant bowl faster is found to be useless at the end. Having said that, there is no argument to the fact that the selectors know only to make blunders and that Mithun, who bowled so well even on dead tracks in Sri Lanka, has so much fitness and proved his swinging abilities at a higher pace - closer to 140, is left behind to play Ranji matches! And another bloke, Ashish Nehra, who bowls good swinging deliveries at close to 140kph, who has bowled consistently well in ODIs and stated his desire to play test cricket, was not even selected in the original team against NZ recently. Blunders! Nehra and Mithun should have been there on this tour,full stop. Even a tidy Munaf is handy to keep one end tight.

  • Hraig on December 18, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Since comeback SA has never been no. 1 and they can never be, they are losers at big stages. India is No.1 rating saya that, lets first India slip to no.2 spot then we will discuss. Even if India loses 3-0 they stilll be no.1. As no other team match Indian team not Australia, England, Sri Lanka or even CHOCKERS ( SA ). If we can`t blame weather here in Ceturion then we can``t blame weather for 1992 semifinal and even not for 2003 world cup debacle.

    Now not a single team is dominant so there will be close race for at least 2-3 years about no. 1 also this good for cricket the end of one teams domination and all teams now equal, now condition is India, SA, Australia and England are at equal level, the team who play well on a given day will win.

  • ashish514 on December 18, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    Well our bowling have always been really weak, at one time I thought the things are changing when I saw Zaheer Khan and an-form Irfan Pathan settled in the team with bowlers like RP Singh, Munaf, Nehra, Sreesanth and Ishant knocking the doors regularly. But suddenly I see Nehra pulling out due to fitness, Munaf's hopelessnes, disappearing of Irfan's Swing and pace, and yes, where's RP now?? So now if Zaheer is injured we are left with the two of the above lot who are doing well only in patches and third completely ineffective seamer(if he can be called that) and in the store for us is another unknown quantity in one of the most important test series.

    I would like to see Irfan Pathan-and before anyone makes any noise i would add this- "of old" in the team with a fit Zaheer Khan, Ishant, Sreesanth and a new bowler who can constantly hit above 145. We can have a luxury of playing four seamers at least in SA when one of them can bat. So the question is still there, where's RP Singh

  • stormy16 on December 18, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    That I must say was a pathetic show with the ball by the nummber one team. After day one I thought this is going to be tricky wicket but you'd swear SA batted on a different wicket. Sure the wicket had eased and Ind got a the raw end of the deal getting caught out on a damp greenish wicket up front but man the bowling performance yesterday raises alot of questions. Its one thing to say the batters are home bullies but you would expect the bowlers to relish the SA conditions but it seems they too struggled to make use of the conditions. India has a lot to prove on this tour and sure its only day two but boy that's two shocking days of test cricket at the start of a tour with so much at stake. I'm afraid blaming selectors ETC it just a weak excuse for poor cricket folks so lets call a spade a spade - that was two days of very poor cricket from India. Anyone noticed how well SA have done!!! What a show against the number one team on the first two days of the opening test.

  • bang_on_target on December 18, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    why the hell a club-level bowler like unadkat was selected for such an important test series?this guy has nothing-no pace,no swing- to trouble the top class batsmen.umesh yadav has at least pace but he is too raw to play at top level.munaf should have been the ideal choice.I still can not believe that when guys like sudeep tyagi and rp singh r around a guy like unadkat got the nod of ahead of them.Mr k srikanth should be removed from the post of chairman of selection committee as soon as possible in the interest of indian ckt.He is the worst man on the planet to be a selector.

  • bang_on_target on December 18, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    as an indian cricket fan i honestly feel that we don't deserve to be called the no 1 test side of the world after the batting collapse in the 1st day of the 1st test against safrica...our batting was pathetic and bowling mediocre...i don't think even zaheer khan could have made much difference in this match as safrican batsmen can handle such bowlers easily on such pitches.Safrica is clearly the superior side with a lethal fast bowling attack and quality batting lineup.india is an emerging side with few consistent performers in the side..but they r not the no 1 side..

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:49 GMT

    @All the comments criticising Indian ranking: Will you guys stop commenting for now and wait till the series end. One bad day does not tell a team's capability. No commentator or any of us cant comment on the capability of Tendulkar and Dravid. They have nothing to prove now. They have done it for us and we respect it For some one who told its a shame that India is no1, always remember that its the Indian cricket that has made the sport so popular and you cant take the credit out of it.

  • Slobberdog on December 18, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    Who is this great Zaheer Khan? Is this the guy who averages a staggering 32 runs per wicket in test cricket? In all likelihood he would've made little difference. Just another excuse for Indian fans. They seem to make a habit of belittling the achievements of other teams and talking up their own by highlighting every which way India is disadvantaged (injuries, toss, pitches, umpiring, selection, weather, preparation) and conveniently forgetting the misfortunes of others. If South Africa crushes India in the first test, it won't be because of Zaheer's absence.

  • naru3868 on December 18, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    I think, India was done in by the rain, toss, their niceness and then poor batting and good bowling, necessarily in that order. Anyone who has played even a little bit of cricket will understand that the wickets have eased out considerably.

    Do not go by the TV commentators' pitch report. They just want to say that the pitch is still good for bowling. It is a batting beauty now. This is in no way to take credit away from Steyn or Morkel and the poor display by the Indians.

    I think we are being too nice on the tour. There was no reason for play to have started on day 1. The pitch was at least 50% of teh Delhi Track, when Srilanka Quit half way.

    Too bad. I think India has to stop being nice and play the game professionaly. Agreed our bowling is bad. However, India has helped SA cricket in many ways. WOuld SA have batted/played in such conditions in India- I doubt it.

  • japper on December 18, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    @Ramanujapuram Krishna: Which second innings are you talking about that Unadkat is likely to get a chance. South Africa are more than likely to get a lead in excess of 500 and if India can make them bat again its going to be an achievement in itself. Unadkat is simply not ready for test cricket yet and to put him against one of the most devastating and inform batting lineups in the world is a big blunder by the Indian selectors. He has just been fed as a lamb to a pack of hungry wolves. Just feel for the kid. But ya the kid has a chance this innings itself, hope he picks up some wickets, fingers crossed.

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    WHY Abhimanyu Mithun HE CAN BOWL ONLY 130, UmESH YADAV HAS PACE THEY SHOULD HAVE TRIED Him instead undkat . there is one guy (abu nechim ahmed)ICL player who can bowl near 140 he can be picked. rp should be tried ,india should not pick fast bowlers while playing in Indian DEAD PITCHES ,TRY TO BRING Some BOWLERS From WEST INDIES OR SOUTH AFRICA AND make them play for India.india batted very poorly south african players would have scored 30000 runs and 80 average if they play in india regularly

  • HenryFonda on December 18, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    india is not no.1....everybody knew that....with a batting line up of 5 people SRT, Sehwag, Dravid, Harbhajan(wat he lacks in technique he makes it up through grit), VVS....bowling line up of 1 bowler(sharma)....and a host of bad fielders...they need a bowling line up of zaheer, ishant and somebody other than unadkat for sure....test cricket not meant for sub 130 k bowlers....at least if u cant swing it.....take pk for wat u hav but not unadkat..fiolks if uv seen yadav bowl...he is like vrv singh....nedither very quick...not 145....nor consistent enough...

  • gammy_79 on December 18, 2010, 6:55 GMT

    we saw many time Praveen kumar took MANY TIME wicket in early over or even in first over too in ODI ,it make opposition team in presseure and hecne other bowler bowl well too ,Pitch in SA will help praveen kumar to swing the ball more ,why he is not in team ,i think he is the best smart bolwer in inida team now in ODI.SHOULD BE given chance in test too.

  • vpk23 on December 18, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    SREEEEEEE....DON'T GROWL, PROWL! PREY ON THE BATTERRS' WEAKNESS INSTEAD.. WITH SMITH BATTING ALL YOU NEED JUST TO BOWL IS JUST ONE RIGHT AREA. FORGET ABOUT AREAS.. THE FINGERS. GO FOR THEM...BREAK EM MAN..IF YOU ARE GOOD AT BREAKDANCING THEN OF COURSE YOU CAN TEACH THEM SOME..SREE STYLE.

  • Cricket_Waves on December 18, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    "Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail" is a classic quote repeated often by Coaching Legend Bob Woolmer.

    Let us cut the Hype and look at the plain facts - and the reasons are clear. England arrived in AUS for the Ashes 3 weeks in advance and played 3 Warm Up matches - and the results are there to see. What does India do ? They get pitchforked straight into the First Test against the waiting South Africans on conditions quite Alien at Home within a week after a Series against NZ at Home- with no practice matches. What else can we expect ?

    The BCCI does not blink an eyelid even to increase IPL Matches to nearly 100 and the IPL teams to 12 next season - But does not care for even one practice Match or proper planning for such Away Tours. When Big Money is the only consideration for the BCCI, such embarrassments for the Indians on Tour are bound to continue. But - mark my words - This same Indian Team will perform much better in the next 2 tests. Will the BCCI ever learn ?

  • HenryFonda on December 18, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    "y dnt indians have speed of 150+..??" My question is y dnt indians have speed of 140+..?? Look at the exercise regimes of australians and compare it with that of indians....Only Zaheer and to an extent Mithun looks strong enough to last 5 days among Indians.....where are fast bowlers talent hunts held? in places like Bangalore, New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta...u seriously expect to find fast bowling talent in Kolkata....go to places like Punjab, Haryana or even Up Bihar for that matter...its the village blokes that are stronger than the city folks.....Again who sits at selection committee...Srikkanth.. who believes swing is more important than pace....no both are equally important elements of fast bowling..in fact swing can be taught...pace only comes from sheer hard muscular work which cannot be taught...u can only strengthen the muscles.....look at ryan harris or mitchell johnson or morne morkel...they are strong blokes...

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:35 GMT

    Nehra in absence of Zahir would have made a differnece than so called Aggressive man.

  • vpk23 on December 18, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    WE CAN ONLY FEILD 11 GUYS.. FROM THE COMMENTS IT LOOKS AS IF INDIA REQUIRES THE ENTIRE BENCH STRENGHHT IF ANY TO TAKE THE FIELD

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Hopes can only sometimes translate into reality. Unadkat is in because Niranjan Shah has clout. The good part is that Pujara is also in for almost the same reason, albeit with a lot of intrinsic merit on his side. Unadkat need not be disappointed. He could do well in the second innings and carve a place for himself. RP Singh or Mithun should have been in this side. Munaf does not have the commitment or the pace, at present, to make a significant difference.

    This test needs to be written off to experience. However, there are still two more. Let's see what the Indians do there.

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    when u had someone with experience like munaf patel in the wings why would you choose undakat who has no pace and no swing, after seeing him bowl i really felt that srikanth should take retirment even from selection because selecting youngsters for test is anothe blunder. When you knew that our record in test against SA in SA is not very good u should choose best availble bowler and batsman. Raina is failing in tests and just because he got a test hundred u are keep on bringing him even though he is failing. Give chance to pujara or why not bring kaif who has done well when he palyed test for india.

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    I can't understand that why we so easily criticize toss for our performance. I wonder why MSD or India plays matches if they are so dependent on toss. They can decide to play after toss. One of the lame and clever excuses by Dhoni and he has made it sounds so genuine that we as stupids started believing in it.

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    I agree with cricket3evar... although Sri Lanka lack a bowler of Khan's quality, they have a number of quicks with strength and pace and I have not seen an Indian bowler with the physical strength to bowl out-and-out quick, which is surprising considering that they have a few billion people... perhaps some strong Sikh or Muslim quicks somewhere? As for Steyn and Morkel, pace kills true... but their line-length-movement, all come together to make them the best pair out there... hoping to see more ball dominating the bat for this series... both teams need a better 3rd seamer, although India's problems with regards to that should be solved once Zaheer is fit... perhaps Parnell needs to be given another shot... although I think the coaches are trying to sort something out with his bowling action... just imagine if he becomes a consistent left-arm pace bowler, this Protea attack would be the best 3-prong pace attack in ages; they'll be fighting for the new-ball too, esp if Parnell curves in

  • HenryFonda on December 18, 2010, 6:26 GMT

    Boy, there seem to be some real moronic ideas emanating from the selection committee...first i believe R.Vinay Kumar has a contract..michael clarke was playing him without helmet in the solitary ODI in india... u select Mr.Saha as backup wicketkeeper...then suresh raina playing tests...umesh yadav in test squad....i am really hoping to see an indian bowler who can bowl at Steynesque pace in my lifetime.... for the record, i am 22.. @Prabhat Teotia, is it just me or there is some jat bhaichara in suggesting deepak chahar..from what i know he is not expressly quick either especially if the definition of express quick means anything over 145 kph...rp singh though was a demon in these kind of pitches in 2007 world cup.. @cricket4evar Srl has a better pace attack than this bowling line up, not the one with zaheer...srl would have been shot out for 100-, anyways.

  • on December 18, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    India: A tiger in their own soil...but A simple mouse in overseas!

  • vpk23 on December 18, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    Dont loose heart guys! At the least it is the performance on the given day. India can still salvage a DRAW. Now lets all BELIEVE in that.----------------------------------- Let the LEGENDS OF INDIAN CRICKET TAKE IT ON THEIR SO CALL BROAD SHOULDERS AND PULL OF A LARA, OR A WAUGH OR EVEN A GILCHRIST TO MENTION A FEW FROM THE CONTEMPRORY LIST AT LEAST.THERE IS STILL TIME. --------------- ON THE BOWLING DEPT, LETS NOT FURTHER BURDEN THEM. PACE IS NOT THEIR STRENGTH BUT RATHER IT IS THEIR LENGHT. GET IT RIGHT GUYS & SEE THE DIFFERENCE TODAY. BY THE WAY HAVE SOME LEAD PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST

  • LoftedShot on December 18, 2010, 6:01 GMT

    Hehe...World No.1 team! haha. Flat track bullies pounding runs at home and then spinners taking 10 wickets on a powdery, 5th day pitch is one thing and standing up in front of seaming deliveries on true bounce pitches altogether another matter.

    After West Indies in 80s, it was only Australians who deserve to be ranked No.1 in 90s and early 2000s. Rest are all clowns, heroes at home, zeroes away. Hashim Amla and Kallis bat better on true bounce pitches where bowlers bowl at pace and seam than so called greats like Tendulkar, Dravid, LAX man etc. Bitter? Yes...but true.

  • pipsonian on December 18, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    A lot of our Indian friends get offended when the team is criticized. Its very hard to find a unbiased Indian fan. Well that is what you expect of the true, loyal and die hard fans. Everybody should agree that India is RANKED as no 1. Do they deserve to be no 1? The answer is YES. Why ? because they have comparatively played better cricket than other teams over last 17 months. Now the question is, whether this Indian team is the world beating team?. The answer is NO. Their batsmen are world class but their batting performance is very sub continental(exceot Tendulkar and Dravid 2 some extent). As I.Chappel once said that you cannot be#1 if you dont have a world class bowling attack.India needs couple of bowlers who are world class or are more than decent, someone in the the same league as McGrath, Warne, Allan Donald, Waseem, Waqar, Shoaib, Lee etc. Not someone like Zaheer or Ishant who would bowl good for couple of years and then fade away. Frankly speaking they both are not world clas

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 18, 2010, 5:34 GMT

    First time ever in cricketing history that no.1 side being hammered by the opposition. Wonder how this India become no.1. Can it be a BCCI involvement in applying additional points to India cause that's how cheating they are. India being no.1 is a SHAME for int'l cricket.

  • sbcanada on December 18, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Do not give execuses.Zahir is not Stern or Morkel. He is not a match winner. Have you forgotten world cup 2003? Can he defend 136?

    SA bowlers have performed extremely well even in India.Have you forgotton Stern's performance in India so quickly?Look at their record even in India.How many test matches SA have won in India & how many tests were won by India in SA? You will get the answer automatically.

  • John.C. on December 18, 2010, 5:23 GMT

    May be Atul Sharma can be the answer for India's Fast Bowling. I hope he is fit and plays in the IPL 4. He has pace and with some more control he can be brought in the Indian Test squad.

  • East_West on December 18, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    SID, I partly agree with you, esp on MITHUN's case..your questioning is very logical BUT if we are # 1 in Test ranking, then we have to have a great pool of fast bowlers..NOT just Zak alone! Zak alone can't make us look good as #1, when are others going to step up??? How come we don't have a pool of fast bowlers..what happened to RP, Ashish, Irfan, Pankaj Singh, Dhaval.....where do they fit in in the scheme of INDIAN CRICKET TEAM..what is our MRF pace foundation doing..and more importantly, what is happening to our so-called BEST batting lineup?

  • GRVJPR on December 18, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    This is the problem in India , a one bad innings and critics are all out. The only reason why SA are on Top is bcoz Chokers (SA) got the opportunity to ball on Flood day in centurion. Let the second ining begins and I can tell you South Africa will struggle .They are Like a football player who does well to go thru midfield ,but when sees a goal absolutely open just doesn't know how to put the ball in. What i have seen is that they are just two men attack, All india needs to do is to be bit disciplined and this is not an indian pitch by the way. It will not crumble like in India. Likes of VVS and Dravid have seen much more difficult situations then this and have successfully bailed out the team. In india the ball turns, reverse swing etc, But So called Competitive SA Pitches are Flat as a Glass. High Time ICC should look into pitches That are prepared for test cricket. Such pitches are Killing The GAme!

  • RJHB on December 18, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    This is a feast of pleasure for an Aussie fan watching a weak India get absolutely smashed by a true quality South African team and its horde of smarmy fans sucking on lemons!! Welcome to the real world people, there's actually cricket played outside the subcontinent!! Go South Africa, you're the true no.1 side for me!

  • agn007 on December 18, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Thats exactly wht im trying to say guys, sehwag did get out cos of poor shot selection.... with not the same help from the pitch and a bit more reserved batting india can definitly make a fight of this one...... and im sure they will.... wont have to wake up seeing an innings defeat.....

  • tiredofresults on December 18, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Cricket at its best tune to.... Aus vs Eng...not so called number one India only in the sub-continent......awesome bowling, catching and energy...

  • sunil_just_loves_test_cricket on December 18, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    This is true that in the absence of Zaheer, one of the best pacers of the international cricket, Indian bowling attack is tootless in test cricket. Sreeshanth doesnt know where to bowl he just bowl. Ishant bowls but not good enough to take wickets. Zaheer led from the front in test cricket. If you remember in england he was MOS when we thrashed English boyz. Again, in many serieses where we won he was the best bowler. Regarding to this match still lot of game has to be played lets see what we get. However, steyn and morkel are not so good as the hype is. They are no near to any bowling great. If it is the case, then why they were not able to bowl out twice England or the mighty Aussies in their own backyard leave apart overseas. It was due to rain we had this kind of result. Lets see how they bowl when there is sunshine....Go Viru show them their true class and sachin please mark a stamp on that from your classy display..

  • jsoops on December 18, 2010, 5:04 GMT

    Pace bowlers always relish to bowl outside sub-continent as its offer them some help in bowling, this was one pitch which both sreesanth & Ishant has failed to exploit because they do not have the ball control nor the sense of working a batsman out, a must for a good bowler, I think Sreesanth will better off showing his aggression in MOVIES, he looks very cute. On this wickets i am sure Praveen Kumar & Mumnaf Patel would have been a better options than Ishant & Unadkat,i have always felt Praveen Kumar he is Test Bowler rather than a one day specialist. just look at the averages of balls bowled to take a wicket of Sreesanth, Ishant its pathetic, Sudeep Tyagi should have been included in place of Unadkat, who alongwith Zaheer, Munaf & Praveen kumar can seam & swing the ball...... with Ishant,Sreesanth, Unadkat GOD please help India,,,, Smith, Peterson,Kallis,Amla,DeVilliers ..... MERRY CHRISTMAS

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    India should be ranked lower than WI.Cant fathom who put them NO1

  • hashabjp on December 18, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    Its amazing how Indian fan don't give credit to the bowlers. i mean dale and morne. These two guys bowled their heart out and Indian batsmen were clueless against them. The pitched would have eased a bit had they tried to survive. These are South African wickets which means patience upfront and then the aggression. Flat track bullies don't understand that, nor will they ever. Play Bangladesh or Sri lanka, perfect opponent to increase your number one lead. Keeping my fingers crossed. GO PROTEAS

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Seriously, i think Irfan Pathan would've been a better choice into this series than Unadkat. He can bat deep and surely is better than this guy Unadkat! Do they have a provision to bring in a player mid-series? Hopefully Zaheer is coming back for next match and I wish to see Abhimanyu Mithun flown in, just to give him an experience of foreign lands. Even Vinay Kumar & Sudeep Tyagi sounds more fitting to make this 11 than His highness Jaidev Unadkat!

  • MiddleStump on December 18, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    What is India thinking? Sehwag is not playing on sub continent pitches. Gambhir takes short pitched bowling like a fish takes to the Sahara. With Sehwag and Gambhir opening, an early wicket is almost guaranteed and puts immediate pressure. Raina is the ideal replacement for Yuvraj, both excellent at contributing nothing to test match cricket. Add to that a 19 year old fast bowler who is not likely to trouble good quality college batsmen with his 120 km/hr straight bowling. To cap it all, a schedule with no practice game before the first test. And now we need a 'think tank' to figure out why India is being thoroughly outplayed and resembles Zimbabwe on the field!

  • landl47 on December 18, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Before the test, the Indian fans thought their team was going to do well in this game- even without Zaheer. Now that things have gone badly, suddenly it's all the selectors' fault? The number 1 team in the world has to be able to survive without one player. Even if the replacement isn't of the same standard, the other 10 should be able to take up the slack. Still 3 days to go, but with SA 230 ahead with 8 wickets in hand in the first innings, it's going to be very hard for India to save the game. They already have no chance of winning it.

  • on December 18, 2010, 3:15 GMT

    I would be amazed if India give any positive results during the series. Yeah....they might look good on paper ,and in their own country but...They just look so mediocre abroad. I just don't get why cant they produce quality attack bowlers.

  • shovwar on December 18, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    THIS IS FOR ALL THE INDIAN FANS OUT THERE: 1. India is a great Team at home and they proved it.They played more test in the current period than SA and most of them at home and went ahead in the rankings. They Beat Aus at home, great, but not the same strong Aus that was beaten by SA in Aus in 2008. India had there chance to beat SA in India twice in the last 2 years but end up Drawing...That tells u the strenght of SA...They can play in India's spin friendly wicket better than India plays in the SA fast wickets. India never beat SA in a series in SA..won only 1 game out of 12. Where SA won more game in India and even won a series 2-0 under Cronje. But lets talk about presnt...India 139 all out...Excuses: 1. No Zak 2. Deadly pitch. Zak has nothing to do with 139 all out..he wud not scored a century.And the pitch...no.1 team should play good in all pitches. Austalia in their prime lost to India but did come back and won series in India later. SA innings: Give the SA Batters some credit!

  • on December 18, 2010, 3:02 GMT

    I can definitely sense that India is going to save this test match with ease.If anyone is dreaming of SA victory considering their formidable position is this match I am sorry.And if you need a reference to "How can India save this game ?".Please turn to India vs Australia,2001,Kolkata.There you will get your answer. You may say this is over optimism but I can't help myself.

  • anilnadaikkave on December 18, 2010, 2:53 GMT

    It's premature to condemn our batsmen as ''flat track bullies''.We need allow our youngsters to go through a learning process.More matches against SA,Aussies&England in their own home conditions will be the answer!

  • anilnadaikkave on December 18, 2010, 2:48 GMT

    It's true that India have fumbled!But that's how the youngsters educate themselves.These challenging conditions shall provide good education for our youngsters even if it be at the cost of a loss.Mind you we need to have long term goals rather than thinking about a 'one off victory'!I'm sure they'll learn

  • anishtulsian on December 18, 2010, 2:41 GMT

    Mithun and Munaf should have been brought in place of Unadkat and Yadav.

  • katwash on December 18, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    India bowled far too short. Sreesanth tries hard, but he is just not Test standard. As for SA, Amla is the best batsman to watch since Lara, he is all class.

  • Rahulbose on December 18, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    @cricket4evar , SRL pace department is worse than India. Didn't you watch any of the biannual series tests? They have one quality bowler Malinga who is easily topped by Zaheer.

  • on December 18, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    Indian bowling got exposed again, Zaheer Khan's absence is one thing, but what has Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma learnt over all these years of playing international cricket??? Why is Ishant still in team?? This guy got so many breaks from selectors, I can't think of a match winning performance from him in recent times. Keeps taking a wicket or two to keep himself in team. This put all burden on Harbhajan, whose the only experienced bowler after these two useless seamers!

  • abi.eqs on December 18, 2010, 2:01 GMT

    Zaheer - Lucky to got out of this match, will get the treat from SA's batsmen in comming matches. India's Chance for a win - Match interuption( Rain God), Laxman should repeat 2001 australia match at eden garden. India's chance for a series consolidation - Should stop playing in SA & get back to home ASAP. Chance for a series win - Include great Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev in the team. Chance to retain No.1 position - Should avoid sub-continent matches espicially in SA, ENG, AUS, WI. ( India miserable ). Likes - Dravid comments - Still there is a chance to..., sachin's bend neck( he should perform here atleast a little as he is a class batsmen with huge expierience but still a failure story in pressure situation(Im a big sachin fan). Surprise - Inclusion of Unakad & other instead of some expierienced like Nehra or Munaf, Raina should be replaced by pujara or else Kholi Question - Where gone Dhoni's brilliance, luck, sehwags strokeplay & Kirstens coaching???

  • sankar800 on December 18, 2010, 1:55 GMT

    Well, very pathetic performance by India! I expect in 2nd innings they will bat brilliantly! Sehwag, Dravid, Sachin and Laxman must stand tall!

  • Alexk400 on December 18, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    INDIA NUMBER 1 TEAM IN THE WORLD CRICKET!. jk

  • tiredofresults on December 18, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    A big disappointment as usual on the first day of a new tour outside the sub-continent. A big famed batting line-up and could not even cross 200. When you look at the other match between Aus and Eng at least without the batting gaints they were able to get 260. It's hard to believe that the team full of stars could not show half the mental strength of Micheal Hussey.

    Big selection blunder again to send two new bowlers on an all important tour outside the country. At least if India had half the intensity that was shown by Aus to get back in to the match, they would not have been on the receiving end. Anyways they are going to come back to the sub-continent and make tons of tons of runs....

  • joseyesu on December 18, 2010, 1:11 GMT

    Pace matters, where India lacks a lot. Even if this match is lost we can have the control on the remaining matches. A tough series is always a good one for WC. Credits to morne and steyn. Other than that SA is a another ordinary side in bowling. I hope a team like MCGrath, Brett lee, Warne, Gillespie. Still then any side is a weaker side in bowling.

  • VAMPIRE8986 on December 18, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    What was India really trying to do in this match. I guess they still believe that there second string team could be as handy as against New Zealand. With the likes of Ashish Nehra,Praveen Kumar,Munaf Patel and even Mithun why is Unadkat playing at the first place in a series as important as this one.Secondly why is Raina playing when he has big time problems with the short pitched stuff With the pace of Steyn n Morkel Wont a technically sound Pujara be a better option. The likes of Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra who are good in moving the ball either way India would have looked a more competant side. Indian Selectors have made a mockery of Indian team in trying to preserve their best one day bowlers for the World Cup

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:02 GMT

    Indian bowlers lost patience. Jaidev is not yet test ready. He could not move the ball. Pace is not the only criteria to succeed. Swing and control should be focussed upon. Sri and particularly Venky did not have pace.......Venky might just cross 130 at max...but the ability to swing was fab.

    Praveen was a better option. He has exp playing international cricket.

    ....Should have opted for Badri instead of Raina.

  • Hodra99 on December 18, 2010, 0:52 GMT

    What are India going to do now? The Indians are not beating their chests so loudly now. India's pain has not even begun yet. When all of their aged batting line up retires in a year or so, who will they turn to? The 20/20 generation is not going to have the technique to play test cricket. Get ready for years at the foot of the ICC rankings...

  • indianpunter on December 18, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    This is a reality check for India. Admittedly they got the worst of the batting conditions, but they dint stand up and be counted. Someone needs to ask tough questions after this (soon to be) innings defeat. 1. Why did the team not arrive a bit earlier? why is BCCI being so blind and greedy? 2. Is this the best 11 that india can come up with.Sorry, Unadkat..you might be test material in 3 yrs. Not now. 3. I said this a long time ago. Rahul Dravid is not the player he was. There is no place for him at 3. 4. Raina is a test pretender. Bring Vijay for RD and Pujara for Raina, before the colt bolts.

  • world_peace on December 18, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    @alexk400, Saha was the best wicketkeeper in form in the country at the moment, unless you may have in your mind that wicketkeepers have to be Gilchrist. He was the most improved keeper with good technique and inform( wicket keeping wise) and he is a very decent batsman. Put forward some names mr alex for back up keeping position. I bet you would put the names bcoz of their batting. Remember the wicket keepers cost us a lot of series.

  • Chennai_Dashers on December 17, 2010, 23:32 GMT

    Author is correct, India surely missing Zak in this match. Indian Selectors should get rid of Unadkat & Umesh in next match and replace them with Munaf and Nehra or even R.P.Singh.I don't know why on earth Raina is still playing test cricket, he can be better branded as T20 & ODI specialist...and No 6 belongs to Pujara.Indian fans has to forget this match unless SRT & RD produce mammoth patnership in 2nd innings. Sehwag record in 2nd innings is poor thus far, if he comes up something like his Adelaide performance...India can safely draw this match.I have a feeling that India's batting momentum has over reliance on Sehwag's start?

  • cricket4evar on December 17, 2010, 23:25 GMT

    @rahul bose actually sl would have made a better fist out of it. At least thre is some quality and pace in the fast bowling department.

  • cricket4evar on December 17, 2010, 23:17 GMT

    India lack a decent fast bowling attack. Unadkat looks about as ready for test cricket as sarah palin is to lead the freeworld

  • on December 17, 2010, 23:00 GMT

    a vry nice and eye opening article for indian selectors... liked the lines "Jaidev Unadkat, about as non-violent as the other man from Porbandar who came to South Africa decades ago, clearly is not the fourth-best fast bowler in the country"

    and this is so true.... there is smthing wrong going on inside the selection committee... wat we all feel after new zealand one day series is that they are giving chance to evry possible player.... bt whats the use of that if u dnt want to pick the deserving guys.. then y r they showing off..??? there are so many fast bowlers in india like munaf patel,ashish nehra,mithun and if u wanna try y dnt you think if deepak chahar.. he can b better then these 4 and 5 number indian fast bowlers.. its like a shame for india that they dnt have 4-5 quality fast bowlers.... y dnt indians have speed of 150+..?? i realy see any indian bowling at 150+ specialy on foreign wickets..

  • akshay4india on December 17, 2010, 22:16 GMT

    A very good article, you have bought up really important points. They should have bought in a more experienced bowler like Nehra, considering he put himself up for selection. Even Praveen would not have been a bad option. Considering how ineffective Indian fast bowlers were they might as well have bought in Ojha, who can contain the batsman at one end. I guess it's no point at looking at mistakes and they have to do the best they can with the resources available for this test.

  • on December 17, 2010, 22:01 GMT

    India just cant win overseas..... The most they do id draw series outside.. Although there record has improved in the recent past, yet they still have a long way to go before being the No.1 team in everyone's eye...

  • Anam on December 17, 2010, 21:57 GMT

    Is India always gna blame selection of the players and never focus on the fact that they bat and bowled horribly..oh well

  • da_team on December 17, 2010, 21:55 GMT

    LOL GO SA They have this.

  • evenflow_1990 on December 17, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    @agn007, you are right, this is not a subcontinental wicket. i have a funny feeling that could be india's problem. =P i cannot see how india can win a match with this bowling line up, so if things do go india's way, at best we will see draws from them. south africa, however, in a best case scenario can win, because they have good batting and bowling and plus they are at home. you would think south africa are favourites for this test match at present, just looking at the facts as they are given over the past 2 days.

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    as i have said before the indians are hugely overrated.....dont think harbajan would get a game in my clubs second XI

  • Nampally on December 17, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    The Selectors keep bringing in players and few months later they are forgotten men.There should be a minimal standard for inclusion in any test squad which will eliminate whimsical selction of the players or their dropping. It is too much of a risk to leave the team selection in the hands of the Selection team, especially when the players are in or out with no justification at all. Raina has failed during past 5 test matches but still retains his place.Against NZ he was all at sea and at least now he should have been out and Pujara IN. Harbhajan is batting better than Raina. Hullo, what is the wrong with #6 batsmen? It looks almost certain that India will lose this test by an innings.SA will not declare till they hit 650 and then India face the Chin music.India win because of batting. But if Sehwag does not stay at one end for couple of sessions, Indian batting is very vulnerable.Fab 3 are on the way out, except SRT. Only weather can save India now or some remarkable batting.

  • Alexk400 on December 17, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    BAD SELECTION AGAIN BY K SRIKKANTH even though i am supporter of srikkanth. It is second mess up after saha incident.

  • rko_rules on December 17, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    Aur karo ghatiya selection.... I m referring to ignoring Yuvraj and Abhimanyu Mithun

  • Faizal23 on December 17, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Hi were is IRFAN . they should have got minaf or nehra or praveen kumar.............its world record for loosing toss for MSD..................

  • Abhimanyu on December 17, 2010, 20:18 GMT

    I don't understand why everyone says that Parveen Kumar should not be picked for tests because he has no pace.... but Munaf, Sreeshant, and even Zaheer bowls at the the same pace as Parveen does!! Parveen bowls at around 132k mark somtimes even a little higher. Unadkat is not even touching the 130k mark, then why would you pick someone like Unadkat ahead of someone who can bowl faster and can also swing the ball big time n both ways......

  • on December 17, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    Sreesanth isn't the third best bowler either!! His bowling all over the pitch, his temperament, and him showing no signs of maturing --- is he a relative of Kris Srikanth by any wierd way??? Come on Chika bring him under the scrutiny ! time!

  • on December 17, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    SA cant play well on spinning tracks and India cant play well on bouncy tracks so Whos no 1 ??

  • ravimeetsu on December 17, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    It would have been interesting to see what would be the case had Steyn been injured and had not been in the playing 11. I think the match would have been more even then. Right now as it stands, with Zaheer injured, SA is simply a better team, may be not as much better as scoreboard indicates, but better still. Period.

  • on December 17, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Indian team's reality is exposed. They only can pile heaps of run in their wicket & win big. Play in their soil & score huge. But in real pitches..they are pathetically ugly.

  • on December 17, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    India situation is due to Damp pitch+fearsome bowling+lack of Zak and much improvement in the wicket

  • on December 17, 2010, 20:06 GMT

    India is No-1 test nation,hope Dravids words come true.Good luck.

  • testcricketrocks on December 17, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    Against South Africa our selectors somehow pull off suicidal stunts every time. How can you send third rated players for experience assuming they would not play. Even in those circumstances the second best (Mithun/ RP Singh/ Nehra/ Pathan) should be sent for good reasons. Last series W.P Saha was picked as a specialist batsman, this time it is Jaidev Unadkot, with 10 first class matches as the third seamer. Poor Mithun!.. Ditto for Suresh Raina the best IPL batter and the list just goes on. No 6 requires a gutsy batsman, like Ganguly was during the last Safari, as Bell is showing Down under. Raina is a flat track bully who can accelerate with 350 on board but not when 50/4. Hope they select Pujara who seems like having the right credentials for next match and fly in at least Nehra/ Munaf who are handful in seaming conditions.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:50 GMT

    I like the optimism of Indian fans...Maybe they actually will start believing in 6 months that their team is better than the Australian team that dominated world cricket for over 10 years. Yes India will save this Test match & Zimbabwe will win the 2011 world cup!!!

  • viveksr on December 17, 2010, 19:50 GMT

    Sehwag will probably go before harris comes ...

  • VickGower on December 17, 2010, 19:47 GMT

    Sreesanth's wicketless aggression had more than a grating effect on me.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    I thought that the PCB was probably the only board making big blunders regarding selection but it seems our neighbouring BCCI is not less. Why on earth did they send 2 rookies to such an important series, is anyone´s guess. I seriously believe that Ashish Nehra should have been selected. Mithun has been impressive as well, and it seems unfair not to pick him up. There is no alternative to experience (in Nehra´s case). Its also a bit harsh to thrust Unadkat in such a high profile series. Indian bowlers/fielders must get through this SA line up quickly or it´ll be catching up game for the rest of series. Good Luck Neighboures.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    @agn007 You are right this is not the sub continent. The SA bowlers know how to bowl at home the wicket will get better but WILL THE INDIAN BATSMEN PUT UP A BETTER FIGHT or go down like they normally do in SA.The only thing to watch out for is how HUGE the margin of victor is going to be??

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:42 GMT

    We should be happy that sreesant didn't give more than 4 RPO , Jaidev Unadkat found the worst time to debut(prob his last game for india)

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    And i don't even want to start on bhajji.Looks like there has been a secret agreement between him and ICC about not bowling the doosra and topspinner.Since being called for chucking he has totally stopped bowling those.Its funny when Ravi Shastri and Arun Lal calls his plain jane offies as doosras.For the past two years our batsman are winning us matches,some from improbable situations. But for once when we really needed our bowlers to step up,look what they managed to do!(zak s been an exception)

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    If Team India saves this game, it vl b like just more than winning it..!! Still I wonder why the best bowling talent in the country is not picked to play??..Guys can any one around come up with the answers for this..!!

  • kriskini on December 17, 2010, 19:34 GMT

    Weather forecast looking good for next 3 days. If India can save this test then they deserve to be number 1 team even if they loose the series.

  • mittemari on December 17, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    Reality bites for India. All questions would be answered on this tour. While i completely empathize with the team to an extent, by the look of our bowling the pitch seems to have changed completely overnight. Our batsmen really had a tough pitch to bat on. But at the same time, if you aspire to be #1 and hold on to it, you should be able to compete in all situations. But the nature of the pitch can be truly assed when SA bowlers bowl the second sometime tomorrow. If they get something out of this wicket, then it is the bowling class that would differentiate. I think lot of questions will be answered on this tour. 1. Are our senior's are past by sell date? Will their replacement puts their hands up and be counted. 2. Will our bowling hold us in good stead overseas? 3. Is Dhoni a really a great captain as the media has made him to be. I think he missed a trick to give Undkat the new ball considering that Smith has the weakness to in swing from Left armers.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on December 17, 2010, 19:29 GMT

    To say Zaheer Khan wouldn't be missed is just being optimistic. Maybe he wouldn't be missed vs NZ BUT THIS IS NOT NZ. Zaheer Khan has been carrying the Ind bowling on his shoulders for a few years and there is no way Ishant Sharma or Sreesanth are CONSISTENT ENOUGH to have an impact match after match. A lot of persons will say the other bowlers they picked aren't good but I haven't seen any1 else impressive. Munaf Patel was average in NZ, RP Singh is just as slow as the other bowlers and Ifran has only performed well consistently vs. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    This is too balanced an article. The Indian team has done nothing in this test match to merit anything except criticism. More forthright thoughts are needed from writers at Cricinfo.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Thought the Munaf Patel and Nehra experiment was over as far the test matches are concerned. When the ball stops swinging,the pace of the deck matters.unfortunately neither sree nor unadkat could utilise that. Thats where Umesh with his pace would have come handy. We are accustomed seeing sree and zak deliveries carrying to dhoni on the bounce in india,but in SA pitches thats just not acceptable.

  • atsquare64 on December 17, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Do you expect the kind of mistakes Indian selectors make on foreign tours from any other cricket board -- Doda Ganesh, David Johnson, Unadkat,Umesh Yadav? A rational mind would be tempted to ask what's going on behind the closed doors during the selection meeting? Sack the selection panel and replace them with business proffessionals -- a non player can do a much better and fair job.

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:04 GMT

    Also, try and understand the zonal politics here.. Unadkat(Niranjan Shah), Umesh Yadav(Manohar)..both have them done nothing in ranji cricket so far to warrant a place. there are better performers in ranji like mithun,kulkarni, even Praveen kumar(who has been slotted as LOI specialist without giving him a go)

  • on December 17, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    This has really been terrible from the selectors, especially wrt to seamers. first it was dhawal kulkarni, not even given a chance after being selected, and now Mithun.

  • Arrow011 on December 17, 2010, 19:01 GMT

    When they dont take wickets you all criticise selection, did anybody say Sreesanth will win match for India on previous tour that he was selected? Grow up, there is no specific mantra for selection, people have their own selections & they opted for Jaidev.First take a look at his First class record & then write bias. Jaidev is rated highly by Akram.This article is nothing but a piece of negative mind of the author.

  • Tahmid_scofield on December 17, 2010, 18:59 GMT

    @agn007....keep dreaming dude,,,u should wake up after an innings dfeat....

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Another bad day at office but honestly who expected our bowlers (minus Zak) to demolish SAF's batters or even challenge them. -- I kept looking for variation on the wicket after lunch when some of the commentators were crying that this pitch hasn't changed much, guess what - looks like it has changed for the most part but even after that someone (sree/sharma/jaidev) should have stepped up, unfortunately none came to the party. --- Only two things can happen now, 1- Draw - thanks to weather on last day and some gutsy batting ! 2- Ind Lose - honestly, looks most likely --- Now, I still believe India can come back during 2nd and 3rd test but that will depend on mental toughness and how they apply themselves.

  • cric4world on December 17, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    where is south african police? indian bowlers r being slaughtered pls somebody save them

  • g-anil on December 17, 2010, 18:55 GMT

    With 3 days still to go i think india is out of this test match

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:54 GMT

    Watching Sharma & Undakat company bowl reminded me of club cricket. Where does India get these bowlers? India should have played two spinners instead of a seamer of club level.

  • LookForward on December 17, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    My suggestions for encouraging pace bowling in INDIA:

    1. First, change atleast a few pitches.. NOT ALL. Dont get me wrong...we need spinner friendly tracks too .. thats always been our trait.. but we have to start encouraging our fast bowlers. BCCI.. loosen ur purse strings... dont be selfish like always.

    2. Recognize youngsters who show some promise. Make them do everything: Strength training, Upper body building (have u seen a few of our new bowlers.. they look malnourished), and train them to bowl fast. They need to hit atleast 130 kmph or more consistently. Otherwise.. all our bouncers, yorkers are no good at all.

    3. We need to have a good domestic competitive setup, where fast bowlers win us matches too.. its not about our batsmen everytime.. the people are sick of high scoring ... meaningless domestic matches.. and the silly records of our batsmen in ranjis etc.

    4. BE AGGRESSIVE !! When was the last time our bolwers bowled a YORKER... NEVER???

  • Tsotsi on December 17, 2010, 18:49 GMT

    Agn007 - Sehwag got out due to a good plan and his stupidity not the pitch.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Great job by Indian selectors..do not know when they would listen..sikka r u listening

  • Fifthman on December 17, 2010, 18:44 GMT

    Despite the best wishes of bliindly adoring Indian fans, this Test is headin one way, and one way only. A thumping innings defeat is on the cards and all the misplaced optimism in the world won't stop that.

    India have been half-baked in everything they've turned to in this match; batting, bowling and fielding. This is not the performance of a side who can call themselves No. 1 in the world.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    both Nehra and Munaf are not fit enough to play tests, thats why they were not picked.. but i am wondering why 2 debudants were picked..

  • LookForward on December 17, 2010, 18:38 GMT

    Indian fast bowling has never been anything close to special.. forget 'spectacular' since the beginning of time. There have been Kapil dev, srinath, zaheer... but thats it. Only 1 bowler per decade.. in the indian team... all others are mediocre (when it comes to a little consistency). Atleast.. earlier.. bowlers used to do 135-140 kmph when they initially burst into the scene.. and then go dead slow. But nowadays.. bowlers like Unadkat.. (who had no credentials) come into the national team. I go back to the age old complaint.. BCCI with so much money.. cant invest a fraction (JUST A FRACTION) on good pitches.. and train genuine pacemen.. (not 120 ... 130 stuff.. atleast 135+). Dennis lilllee.. should be ashamed of himself.. running the MRF pace foundation.. and producing these insipid bowlers. And BCCI too..

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    Where is praveen kumar or nehra or for that case mithun? Jaidev is not ready yet. He needs to learn many things! Umesh yadav also lacks variety. Praveen kumar may not have the pace but he know where to land the ball and how to swing. more importantly he know how to take wickets. Munaf is no option! he is just line and length, that will not get any wickets! I am hoping sreesanth and sharma step up as unadkat is too young to be blamed. We do not need express bowlers, we need bowlers who make make the ball talk - venketesh without any pace use to trouble batsman. asif is another example and so was nathan bracken.

  • Nampally on December 17, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    Sidharth,I am glad to see your views about the Selectors. I have stated many times in the cricinfo columns before that Selectors & BCCI are visionless with no long term development plan for Indian bowlers. I had even suggested that there should be many coaching camps for development of fast & spin bowlers starting from school age children. The worst thing the Selectors did is not to include one more experienced pace bowler like Patel , RP Singh or Nehra.Also in the spin dept. Ashwin should have been included. He is currently a much better bowler than Harbhajan.Hiding behind absence of Zaheer is the worst excuse.Selectors had time to find alternate fast bowlers to an aging & injury prone ZAK after SL tour.Unadkat & Jadhev should at least have been tried in the NZ ODI's instead of ZAK.How can you put a raw 19 year old to make a test debut in a big game in SA?.India has become a laughing stock of the world especially after Bhaiji's statements yesterday.Actions speak louder than words.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    Khan make a difference? give me a break, the way the SA batsmen are going i think IND are in for a hiding..Kallis can despose of any bowler on there game at the moment and as for AMLA he is making IND pay for being above them in the rankings.....step forward SA the best team in the world. And it will get even worse for IND because Steyn and morkel show are gonna blitz up Durban like never before.

  • lananad on December 17, 2010, 18:27 GMT

    If Zaheer there or not does not make any difference.You need to bring a pitch from India to south Africa for this Indian bowling attack to take wickets. Just simple as that period.

  • agn007 on December 17, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    So that was the practice game for india.... surely the pitch is going to play far far beter with sunshine.... horrid time for indian bowlers ofcourse.... but watch out SA ,,.... hw much ever u score, indian batting will stand tall in the second innings.... this is nt a subcontinent wicket which wears of very fast.... its just gone get beter for batting.... wid paul harris the sole spinner, indians have a gud chance of levelling this one..... Go sehwag.........

  • Beertjie on December 17, 2010, 18:18 GMT

    One of my grandfathers came here from Porbander. Unadkat was picked because the selectors thought he had promise. Stop making excuses for the hyped-up Indian team. They may have had the bad luck to lose the toss as well as Zak, but they were never going to live up to the unrealistic hype of the scribes and one-eyed supporters. Who'll your next scape-goat be? Eric Simons? He's no better than his predecessors (Prasad) because Indian bowlers and fielders are only as good as their bodies allow them to be and that has never been comparable to athletes from other countries. Even when they get opportunities on more helpful wickets I doubt that they'll dismiss SA cheaply, even with Zak back. Where's the bottle? All these tours and SA are still their "hoodoo" team, even in India! So please enough of the excuses. I'm as disappointed as the Indian fans, but excuses will do nothing for the future of Indian cricket in the international arena.

  • kiranksl on December 17, 2010, 18:16 GMT

    Check out the image...Shirishaanth tried everything from making faces to distract the batsman (maybe, just maybe Amla will fall over laughing onto his wicket) to innovative (read desperate) 'seam positions'...this one he coined the mallu pelter.

  • klobania on December 17, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    i think even zaheer's presence could not make much impact as no.1 team cannot rely on one bowler who himself most of the time remain unfit. also the way indian batted i bet zimbabwe had better performed then the way indian performed especially their batting. their poor performance so far has raised serious doubts regarding their no.1 position in cricket circuits.

  • GuruofCricket on December 17, 2010, 18:07 GMT

    Even Irfan Pathan would have been better on such wicket rather these rookies. He could have got real swing. The problem is Indian selector get carried away by bowlers on few performances. Hope this will teach them some lesson. I wouldn't be surprise reading that Munaf/Mithun/Irfan is on the plane to Safari........

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    I wonder why there is such a chinese wall between the ODI and Test bowlers - a wall that only Zaheer and Harbhajan can pass thru. Wouldn't Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra be better bets for the backup seamer spot on such a crucial tour instead of these rookie bowlers?

  • Analytical_Sathya on December 17, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Zaheer,Munaf and Ishanth are India's top 3 fast bowlers(in that order) currently. Munaf has been underutilsed in tests.One can't blame the selectors entirely.More often than not Dhoni has ignored Munaf while picking the playing 11(seems biased and illogical). I don't find any reason to be 'frustrated' as mentioned in the report.

  • kiranksl on December 17, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Dhoni & the selection committee know that losing this test series means nothing to India's #1 ranking...they will remain there. They are not going to risk Zaheer or Nehra. If Ishant gets injured they will rest him as well. This Indian team's only goal...and Dhoni's career (read captaincy) is going to be defined by the WC next year. Nothing else matters at this point. Mithun...keep your chin up buddy...your time will come once the Unadkats and Yadavs are disposed off. For some reason India repeatedly thrusts teenagers into the highest level...either they are expecting to be like Pakistan (which actually has bowling talent that translates to this level) or they are hoping the next Tendulkar will surely come along at some point and they can take the credit for having the "vision".

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    And to add to the spineless batting and toothless bowling, there is hopeless fielding. This test should end in 4 days, unless rain plays spoilsport for SA and take the game to the 5th day. SA batsmen showed the way batting should have been on this pitch.

  • sudhs_107 on December 17, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    It was very unwise to take 2 untested seamers in the team. They should have taken either Nehra or Manaf instead of Umesh Yadav.

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    I'm disappointed. Expected the Indians to prove their Numero Uno status, albeit with some difficulty. The kind of capitulation shown in the batting and the clueless bowling have shown that- a)Pundits were right in saying that India's Number 1 status is purely a statistical feat that relied heavily on those Home Tests and that beating South Africa would be the only way to silence the doubters, OR b)The Indians were extremely overconfident , expecting the Proteas to wilt under the hype(as is so often India's biggest weapon and Achilles heel simultaneously) and persona of the 'all-conquering'(8 nations is hardly a conquest). Zaheer Khan would have made a difference but nonetheless, not enough to swing the match India's way. Better luck next time India, Well Played South Africa.

  • Tokas on December 17, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Well BCCI and selection comittee did everything under their control to make india's tour of SA a failure...no practise match...no decent 4th or 5th fast bowler...no rest before the tour...I mean the list can go on. What is frustrating is this is not the first time they screwed Indian tour to SA or Aus. For the nth time why do we pick a rookie pacer for an important series whose pace is less than 130 KPH ..why not Munaf ?

    I will be not suprised with 3-0 or 2-0 scoreline. Just pray that weather will be good to india team and it will rain for next 3-4 weeks till the tour gets finished.

  • Rahulbose on December 17, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Was really looking forward to this series, what a one sided affair. India are well and truly back to being home track bully s. Too many soft series played in subcontinent, mostly against SRL, to pad up the rankings.

  • indigower on December 17, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Come On India..Well played...you proved that wot u can do in bouncing fast trackz....keep it up...coz 2011 WC in front of you..dnt miss it..

  • Deepfreezed on December 17, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Number 1 team doesn't have a proper bowler that can at least get above 140. Flat track bullies exposes...

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  • Deepfreezed on December 17, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Number 1 team doesn't have a proper bowler that can at least get above 140. Flat track bullies exposes...

  • indigower on December 17, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Come On India..Well played...you proved that wot u can do in bouncing fast trackz....keep it up...coz 2011 WC in front of you..dnt miss it..

  • Rahulbose on December 17, 2010, 17:49 GMT

    Was really looking forward to this series, what a one sided affair. India are well and truly back to being home track bully s. Too many soft series played in subcontinent, mostly against SRL, to pad up the rankings.

  • Tokas on December 17, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Well BCCI and selection comittee did everything under their control to make india's tour of SA a failure...no practise match...no decent 4th or 5th fast bowler...no rest before the tour...I mean the list can go on. What is frustrating is this is not the first time they screwed Indian tour to SA or Aus. For the nth time why do we pick a rookie pacer for an important series whose pace is less than 130 KPH ..why not Munaf ?

    I will be not suprised with 3-0 or 2-0 scoreline. Just pray that weather will be good to india team and it will rain for next 3-4 weeks till the tour gets finished.

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    I'm disappointed. Expected the Indians to prove their Numero Uno status, albeit with some difficulty. The kind of capitulation shown in the batting and the clueless bowling have shown that- a)Pundits were right in saying that India's Number 1 status is purely a statistical feat that relied heavily on those Home Tests and that beating South Africa would be the only way to silence the doubters, OR b)The Indians were extremely overconfident , expecting the Proteas to wilt under the hype(as is so often India's biggest weapon and Achilles heel simultaneously) and persona of the 'all-conquering'(8 nations is hardly a conquest). Zaheer Khan would have made a difference but nonetheless, not enough to swing the match India's way. Better luck next time India, Well Played South Africa.

  • sudhs_107 on December 17, 2010, 17:52 GMT

    It was very unwise to take 2 untested seamers in the team. They should have taken either Nehra or Manaf instead of Umesh Yadav.

  • on December 17, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    And to add to the spineless batting and toothless bowling, there is hopeless fielding. This test should end in 4 days, unless rain plays spoilsport for SA and take the game to the 5th day. SA batsmen showed the way batting should have been on this pitch.

  • kiranksl on December 17, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    Dhoni & the selection committee know that losing this test series means nothing to India's #1 ranking...they will remain there. They are not going to risk Zaheer or Nehra. If Ishant gets injured they will rest him as well. This Indian team's only goal...and Dhoni's career (read captaincy) is going to be defined by the WC next year. Nothing else matters at this point. Mithun...keep your chin up buddy...your time will come once the Unadkats and Yadavs are disposed off. For some reason India repeatedly thrusts teenagers into the highest level...either they are expecting to be like Pakistan (which actually has bowling talent that translates to this level) or they are hoping the next Tendulkar will surely come along at some point and they can take the credit for having the "vision".

  • Analytical_Sathya on December 17, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Zaheer,Munaf and Ishanth are India's top 3 fast bowlers(in that order) currently. Munaf has been underutilsed in tests.One can't blame the selectors entirely.More often than not Dhoni has ignored Munaf while picking the playing 11(seems biased and illogical). I don't find any reason to be 'frustrated' as mentioned in the report.

  • on December 17, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    I wonder why there is such a chinese wall between the ODI and Test bowlers - a wall that only Zaheer and Harbhajan can pass thru. Wouldn't Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra be better bets for the backup seamer spot on such a crucial tour instead of these rookie bowlers?