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

Harbhajan assault was deliberate - Petersen

63

Alviro Petersen's strongest statement of the day was made in the 20th over. He went down on a bent knee and slog-swept Harbhajan Singh over deep square leg for six. He had previously pulled Ishant Sharma to square-leg, driven Jaidev Unadkat through mid-off and Sreesanth through the covers, but this was that shot that expressed his intentions.

"We didn't want Harbhajan to settle," Petersen said later. "We felt that if the ball was in our scoring areas and we could hit it, we would."

Graeme Smith went on to play a confident cut, a classy on-drive and a powerful pull and Harbhajan went for 19 in his first couple of overs. After Smith's exit, Harbhajan got away with three boundary-less overs and if not for a drop from MS Dhoni, would have dismissed Hashim Amla. Petersen receded into his shell a little and came out only to drive a full Sreesanth delivery on the on-side.

"We needed to have a lot of patience on this wicket." Petersen said. He admitted that both he and Smith were tentative early on and "weren't worried about the runs on the board," as much as about seeing off the new ball and any early movement. "The longer you stay in, the easier it gets to bat," he said - an observation that implied he was disappointed that he didn't push on to reach three figures. He was driving confidently in the morning session and looked set to continue in that vein. If he had, it would have gone a long way in cementing an opening slot.

Petersen took over the role at a time when South Africa was going through a mini-crisis. Ashwell Prince had made clear his desire to return to the middle order, Herschelle Gibbs had fallen out of favour and into rehab. Two strong seasons at the first-class level made Petersen the automatic choice. In 2008-09 season he finished third highest domestic scorer with 798 runs in nine matches at an average of 49.87. In the 2009-10 season, he made 557 runs in seven matches at an average of 55.7.

With JP Duminy suffering a loss of form after the heroics that in Australia and Prince desperate to return to the middle order, it made sense to bring Petersen in. In February, after the first Test against India in Nagpur, the time was right. Prince had made a duck opening and Duminy nine runs at No. 6. Duminy was dropped, Prince moved down and there was room for Petersen.

His debut - a crunch match against India at Eden Gardens - was going to be more mentally taxing than anything else. When Smith fell in the third over with the score on nine, it looked like Petersen was in for a rough ride. It would have been a topsy-turvy experience had he not been joined by the supremely confident and in-form Hashim Amla. Both went on record centuries and Petersen's talent had announced itself on a grand stage.

Apart from that, Petersen has not had a situation tough enough to test his mettle as an opener. He is playing in just his seventh match and has had a fairly gentle introduction to the big time. Ideally, after Kolkata, he should have gone on to stake a claim by scoring a century or two in the June tour of the Caribbean. Instead, he returned from three Tests with only one half-century to his name. His return in the two Tests against Pakistan was better and he looked likely to score a century in the first Test in Dubai before falling for 67.

A second Test century is probably due for Petersen now, but he will have to wait for a while, possibly until the next match. Petersen didn't appear too concerned with not reaching the milestone in the first innings and said South Africa wanted to "bat India out of the match." He said the dressing room was "not satisfied with where we are now in the match" and had not yet thought about a declaration. Only a massive lead will satisfy South Africa and they only want to bat once.

"The wicket is getting quicker and it's changing quite a lot. A quick wicket suits our strengths so that's what we want," Petersen said, a warning to India that another blitz can be expected from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in the second innings.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • india_only on December 18, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    @ all : Great Aus team of 90's and 00's couldn't won the series in India until 2004 since 1969 , then no one raise their ranking's creditability so why that now?.we are slow starters on overseas tour... so wait and watch

  • on December 18, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    merely dead batting is also boring wickets should be ploughed every session. to bring life to bowling.cricket is batting dominated

  • UnBiased_True_Cricket_Lover on December 18, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Hmm.Guys lets be fair.Yes India should have managed not to lose wickets on d 1st day being d No.1 side..But to term India and it's bowling attack as worst and criticising that India shudn't b No.1 side is unfair just because I remember d same bowling attack ripped thru all SA wickets vth in 2 hrs some 3-4 yrs back just for 84 runs in similar kind of conditions..What's ur take on dat guys..So lets not get excited by just 1 session..D pitch n conditions assisted d bowling a lot n SA's bowling attack being d best in the world capitalized that(some poor shots from d Indian Batsmen added).Btw rain is forecasted for the 4th n 5th days..If dats d case..certain Indian batsmen might agn struggle to bat under dose conditions.I feel guys like Gambhir n Raina shud giv deir way 2 Pujara n co. as their footwork is very much tentative towards swing bowling..dats true!!My take on the series is SA is goin to win dis series 2-1 agn given dat d 1st test is already theirs!!

  • arish.rajan on December 18, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    all u guys who are jealous of india's no: 1 position, just wait. It is only 2 days. Every Indian batsman (except raina) is in form at present. Once they start of the next time we will see what will happen to the awesome SA attack. (It is just a 2 bowler attack). And mark my words, before Indian team returns.. they are going to demolish this bowling attack and maybe even break Morkel's confidence for a long time. (Steyn of course is the best fast bowler in the world today). ........................ And lastly India is No: 1 team in the world. It is NOT the ALL TIME GREATEST TEAM... stop comparing them with Aussies of 3 yr back.. they were probably the best cricket team ever.... when we say that India is no: 1 .. we mean they are better than all other teams TODAY .... all of them SA, AUS, Eng, SL and the rest.

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 18, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Alomost 90% of the comments in this article & any article related to team India is about India being no.1 in Test ratings. I've never seen or heard of any comments like this when any other team was no.1 This simply says INDIA DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE NO.1 & it's so disgrace to see teams like India topping in the list. Will some one seriously look in to this...

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    @SV_Ravi: You do know that LBW is a form of dismissal , right? In fact, Hawk eye showed it shaving the middle stump ....so whats the problem? In fact, Indians should feel lucky as Gambhir could have been out for much earlier when he nicked one and India would have skettled out for below 100....guess how that would have sounded? Btw, Laxman was clean bowled. and Dhoni's LBW was absolutely plumb , same with sachin. So what do u want? The BCCI should use its muscle to take LBW out as a mode of dismissal whenever the Indian team is batting?

  • rjansen on December 18, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    India at home? They juuust managed to salvage a drawn series the last two times South Africa toured there by preparing a dust bowl for the last test.

  • svshiradhonkar on December 18, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    All these SA fans who are talking that Indians can not bat on bouncy pitch... So same goes to SA batsman who cannot bat on spinning track. So there is no need to talk about which is better team. all these teams are lions at home but not at away. only W.I. and AUS. are real world leaders.

  • Spelele on December 18, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Really puzzling 2 hear sum of the coments; like that S.A wud hv also been in the same situation had they lost the toss. I mean really now? Jst luk at the way the batsman got out. 1,Sewagh=Falling 2 an obvious trap with a senseless shot against the new ball;2,Gambir=Pushing without footwork at a harmless Morkel delivery;3, Dravid=Stuck in the crease 4 an LBW; 4, Laxman=Stuck in the crease and late in geting his bat down thus getting pinned; 5, Tendulka=Also stuck in the crease and playing 4 away swing to a straight Steyn delivery; 5, Raina=Well, as tentative a push as a high school kid on debut 4 his u/12 team; 6,Dhoni=Too far across his off stump thus getting pinned; 7,Bhaji=Brilliant work from Boucher, but why risk the 3rd run? 8,Sharma=Pushing aimlessly at a rising delivery; Sreesanth=Well, cant expect much from a no10 but also driving loosely with a bottom hand 2 cover. Unadkat=the Only man who showed up 4 the day, he was the last man standing after all. Ind bated teribly; no excuse

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    There is absolutely no need for any dicussions beyond what I am saying here. Yes, it's because of Virender Sehwag's one shot made India in to this pathetic situation and The Team India is in No.1 position just because of Viru's destructive kind of innings. When he makes the inroads the others flourish and if not, they feel the pressure. So, everything regarding Viru's factor is definitely a matter in Indian cricket. Jaffar Sadiq, Bahrain.

  • india_only on December 18, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    @ all : Great Aus team of 90's and 00's couldn't won the series in India until 2004 since 1969 , then no one raise their ranking's creditability so why that now?.we are slow starters on overseas tour... so wait and watch

  • on December 18, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    merely dead batting is also boring wickets should be ploughed every session. to bring life to bowling.cricket is batting dominated

  • UnBiased_True_Cricket_Lover on December 18, 2010, 10:55 GMT

    Hmm.Guys lets be fair.Yes India should have managed not to lose wickets on d 1st day being d No.1 side..But to term India and it's bowling attack as worst and criticising that India shudn't b No.1 side is unfair just because I remember d same bowling attack ripped thru all SA wickets vth in 2 hrs some 3-4 yrs back just for 84 runs in similar kind of conditions..What's ur take on dat guys..So lets not get excited by just 1 session..D pitch n conditions assisted d bowling a lot n SA's bowling attack being d best in the world capitalized that(some poor shots from d Indian Batsmen added).Btw rain is forecasted for the 4th n 5th days..If dats d case..certain Indian batsmen might agn struggle to bat under dose conditions.I feel guys like Gambhir n Raina shud giv deir way 2 Pujara n co. as their footwork is very much tentative towards swing bowling..dats true!!My take on the series is SA is goin to win dis series 2-1 agn given dat d 1st test is already theirs!!

  • arish.rajan on December 18, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    all u guys who are jealous of india's no: 1 position, just wait. It is only 2 days. Every Indian batsman (except raina) is in form at present. Once they start of the next time we will see what will happen to the awesome SA attack. (It is just a 2 bowler attack). And mark my words, before Indian team returns.. they are going to demolish this bowling attack and maybe even break Morkel's confidence for a long time. (Steyn of course is the best fast bowler in the world today). ........................ And lastly India is No: 1 team in the world. It is NOT the ALL TIME GREATEST TEAM... stop comparing them with Aussies of 3 yr back.. they were probably the best cricket team ever.... when we say that India is no: 1 .. we mean they are better than all other teams TODAY .... all of them SA, AUS, Eng, SL and the rest.

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 18, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Alomost 90% of the comments in this article & any article related to team India is about India being no.1 in Test ratings. I've never seen or heard of any comments like this when any other team was no.1 This simply says INDIA DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE NO.1 & it's so disgrace to see teams like India topping in the list. Will some one seriously look in to this...

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    @SV_Ravi: You do know that LBW is a form of dismissal , right? In fact, Hawk eye showed it shaving the middle stump ....so whats the problem? In fact, Indians should feel lucky as Gambhir could have been out for much earlier when he nicked one and India would have skettled out for below 100....guess how that would have sounded? Btw, Laxman was clean bowled. and Dhoni's LBW was absolutely plumb , same with sachin. So what do u want? The BCCI should use its muscle to take LBW out as a mode of dismissal whenever the Indian team is batting?

  • rjansen on December 18, 2010, 7:53 GMT

    India at home? They juuust managed to salvage a drawn series the last two times South Africa toured there by preparing a dust bowl for the last test.

  • svshiradhonkar on December 18, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    All these SA fans who are talking that Indians can not bat on bouncy pitch... So same goes to SA batsman who cannot bat on spinning track. So there is no need to talk about which is better team. all these teams are lions at home but not at away. only W.I. and AUS. are real world leaders.

  • Spelele on December 18, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Really puzzling 2 hear sum of the coments; like that S.A wud hv also been in the same situation had they lost the toss. I mean really now? Jst luk at the way the batsman got out. 1,Sewagh=Falling 2 an obvious trap with a senseless shot against the new ball;2,Gambir=Pushing without footwork at a harmless Morkel delivery;3, Dravid=Stuck in the crease 4 an LBW; 4, Laxman=Stuck in the crease and late in geting his bat down thus getting pinned; 5, Tendulka=Also stuck in the crease and playing 4 away swing to a straight Steyn delivery; 5, Raina=Well, as tentative a push as a high school kid on debut 4 his u/12 team; 6,Dhoni=Too far across his off stump thus getting pinned; 7,Bhaji=Brilliant work from Boucher, but why risk the 3rd run? 8,Sharma=Pushing aimlessly at a rising delivery; Sreesanth=Well, cant expect much from a no10 but also driving loosely with a bottom hand 2 cover. Unadkat=the Only man who showed up 4 the day, he was the last man standing after all. Ind bated teribly; no excuse

  • on December 18, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    There is absolutely no need for any dicussions beyond what I am saying here. Yes, it's because of Virender Sehwag's one shot made India in to this pathetic situation and The Team India is in No.1 position just because of Viru's destructive kind of innings. When he makes the inroads the others flourish and if not, they feel the pressure. So, everything regarding Viru's factor is definitely a matter in Indian cricket. Jaffar Sadiq, Bahrain.

  • hitarth18 on December 18, 2010, 7:24 GMT

    Same happened to SA when they came to India earlier this year isnt it ? They were clueless of the conditions...

    If India is not no. 1 than same applies to SA too :)

    Dont compare No.1 ranked team with 70-80s team of WI or 90-00s team of Aus.. nobody can match them... tell me one thing if some batsman is currently No.1 in world does that mean he is great like Don Bradman ?? get over this No.1 thing... it will keep fluctuating between teams till we get some team that can be compared to old times WI or Aus.

  • John009 on December 18, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    I am just impressed with the cricket experts who are commented here. South Africa on top for sure. And people says India are good at home! So what for SA? I think they are getting opportunities of home conditions. So why people are talking only about Indian home conditions? ridicules!!! Most of the teams are failed in Indian conditions. So why that shouldn't be the measurement. Playing in the fast pitch is can't be the only measurement. You have to play on spin track too.

  • VENKITESHVR on December 18, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    RJHB - the whole world know how the sydney test victory came. dont forget PERTH episode. ha ha ha

  • HenryFonda on December 18, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    rahul jain, Has gambhir proved himself against bowling attacks better than O brien, martin & Co. BTW the best opening pair in the world is that of england...gambhir what a joke... he fails consistently on fast pitches....even at T-20 level....the less said about raina's ability against fast bowling the better.. the bloke was hopping against Chris martin's medium pacers in Indai....even a bigger joke..the biggest joke though is umesh yadav's selection in test matches..... bound to happen with people like srikkanth at helm..

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

    the main problem is that the indians are cannot play at in away...u can look all those previous tournaments..like chapions trophy world t20 2009 t20 2010!!!!they hav been struggling i all the away matches nd im sure that they would be tag as they lions in home nd lambs in away

  • LoftedShot on December 18, 2010, 6:00 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.

  • Razor88 on December 18, 2010, 5:52 GMT

    Indians are in the Number one spot because they have not lost a test series at home!!! which SA failed!!

  • jack_maxwell on December 18, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    India are a good side, but they are not world-beaters the way the Aussies and Windies were. To say they are is to deny fact. India have been awful in this test. Sure, SA were fortunate to win the toss, but India batted poorly. There was bounce and swing, and a touch of seam movement, but India did not apply themselves to the conditions. They don't move their feet. You can get away with that on the subcontinent, but not in SA, England or Aus. If you want to be taken seriously as the number one test side, as world-beaters proper, but you need to perform in various conditions. So far, India are looking wobbly.

    SA have fared well in India, Aus and England. India need to at least draw this series to give some meaning to their current ranking. They play too much test cricket in India. If they don't, it stands to reason that SA or Eng are the best test sides around. And if SA rout India, then there is no discussion, no matter what the 'official' ICC rankings say.

  • pipsonian on December 18, 2010, 5:33 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

  • Hraig on December 18, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    It is hard for the other cricketing nations fans to accept that INDIA is now no. 1 side. India is real no. 1 test side I accept not as dominating as the mighty Aussies was. But they are no. 1 in new conditions. As no other team can match this Indian team. As SA struggled aginst low grade Pakistan in Abu Dhabi also against India in India and for England we have to watch for at least a year as they have struggled again in India, SA and other subcontinent countries. So the condition is INDIA is better than all the current teams playing nowadays despite of the fact if they lose series 3-0 in SA. Moreover if bouncy tracks are a test for Indian batsmen then turning tracks are a test for other batsmen also. Rather this a more competitive time for cricketing nations after fallout of Australia as dominating power, so don`t cry foul and enjoy the cricket and enjoy rotating no. 1 position as today no single team can hold this position for a long time. Not even India, SA, England or Australia.

  • agn007 on December 18, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    y are u ppl so bothered to disprove the rankings... pity u guys... u win matches , thts all whts reqd... home or away...... one off day does not make u undeserving , nor does one gud day make u deserving..... u just have to consistently win than lose.... india may not yet be the same as world beaters, but cmon they are definitly the best amng the lot now... der is no dbt abt that..... if india can win on flat tracks , y cant the others do that..... u just cant comment on indias no.1 status using a test match.... India Deserve to be there... and they will stay there for a long time.... i cant c any other team coming close enough soon

  • SV_Ravi on December 18, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    I don't want to sound like an excuse, but all three settled batsman from Indian line up got out with LBW decision, and specially Dravid looked like the most dubious one. In fact even in Australia he got couple of bad decisions, and India lost the test series. He looked solid with his attitude and batting and the only way SA could get him was LBW! Just my two pennies!

  • nahan on December 18, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    I can't understand logic behind to start an important series in South Africa with playing even a single practice match. The whole world knows that Indians are total failure on fast surfaces.

  • RJHB on December 18, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Wish India would come to Australia again, we'll thrash em again and celebrate Sydney style everytime! haha

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 18, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    It seems like sure that India will lose all 3 matches in the series but lets hope they dont lose all of them by innings defeat. SAF will become number 1 then & India in an years time will fight for test status. I'm waiting for that moment.

  • sri1ram on December 18, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    Hehh, when the chips are down all the jealous naysayers crawl out from the woodwork braying about the weakness of the Indian team/attack/defence/whatever.. Come on India - show these downright anti-teamsters and fickle doubters what you have proved time and again over five years to become the numero uno and can prove again in the next 3 days. I find "Chak De India" over the top and regional, but what the heck - Chak De Indiaa!

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    a lot of indians here are trying to justify their no.1 rank by coming up with stupid excuses when they should really accept the fact that they were outplayed by south africa!!

  • everstone on December 18, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    Seriously, a lot of no.1 haters out there! Just one single innings have passed, and you guys are already biased against India?! Don't you people remember SA under performed on their last tour to India, when they were 'supposed' to top the rankings' tables? India may not have a decent bowling attack, but at least they know how to utilize their home conditions well and have an unbeaten home season!(Well, unlike other teams we know of) :P Imagine if SA had batted first, surely Smith/Alviro would have got a duck, we all know how susceptible they are to the swinging ball when Sreesanth ripped through SA the last time around.

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    Typical bloody indian fans.... World best means beating everyone everywhere.

    In the recent history of cricket only australia and windies did that. India struggle in Australia and that will get worse as they lose dravid and tendulkar....

    If either Safas or India can do that then hats off but lets be serious. There is no stand out side and a bit of luck would see then any side can be winning a series.

    India v Australia was a couple of good balls from going the other way...

  • on December 18, 2010, 4:30 GMT

    WAT INDIA LACKS S A QUALITY FULL BLOWN FAST BOWLER WHO CAN CONSITENTLY BOWL AT 145... SOME ONE STARTS BOWLING AT 145 IN HIS START OF HIS CARRIER GOES TO TAT (WASTE) MRF PACE FOUNDATION WHR THEY REMOV HIS PACE ND TELL HIM TO SWING... FULL BLOWN PACE BOWLER S A MUST IF INDIA WANTS TO WIN TEST AWAY FRM HOME....

  • rdx155 on December 18, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    Sreesanth performs in 1 or 2 innings & he fails to strike consistently. He is a wicket taking bowler for short forms of games. He got enough chances to prove & i find him over-confident which doesn't help him at all. Aggression is fine but i don't think he is a test bowler. He has conceded too many runs in all formats. We need experienced attack especially against No.2 Test Team. We even don't have a promising Allrounder. Talking about this test match, weather or indian batsman can save this game by draw. India are looking in trouble.

  • Percy_Fender on December 18, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    The ground conditions make the toss crucial particularly when they can change so quickly given the efficiency of the ground staff and the efficacy of the available drainage facilities. That is what has happened in the Test. Everyone knows that on day 1, the pitch was wet. Any fast bowler would have been unplayable what to talk of the greatest pair of fast bowlers. On a similar pitch, Sreesanth bowled South Africa for 84 the last time in the first Test. Even in that test, the pitch dried and so eased up after the first day massacre. With the big deficit, India seems like it will lose the match unless you have one of those epic partnerships that Dravid Laxman and Tendulkar are capable of. This no 1 business is a major heartburn for people from the sub continent.More than it is in the western countries. It is odd that India which always has championed the cause of the sub continent teams have lost any goodwill that they may have garnered as a result merely because of this No 1 status.

  • rdx155 on December 18, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    Worries, worries, Worries for india in bowling department. I am missing munaf patel's line & length on african pitches. Instead of 2 young pacers, i'd go for munaf patel. Selection committee should think about our bowling department. Seriously look at the last ODI series against Nz, Munaf was accurate with his line (Middle & off stump) & he is working hard to cement his place in side. Take some chance with him, instead of sreesanth or debutants. India have the strongest batting line-up, so no worries there. We got only 2 leading bowlers who can take responsibility (Zak & bhajji) if 1 gets injured, whole pressure is to be carried by youngsters (in-experienced bowling attack). Our team is not balanced like SA team.

  • REH223 on December 18, 2010, 4:07 GMT

    What a performance from the no. 1 test team in the world!!! How ridiculous to be in the no. 1 spot without facing pakistan in the last two years. I am sure had india faced pakistan they would never be where they are now.

  • on December 18, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    India will be whitewashed in this series although they can take their No 1 ranking home. ha ha ha

  • crazycricketfan4life on December 18, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    The Centurion pitch, as Shaun Pollock stated, was slower than it's usual self in the first day due to the huge amount of rain that transpired. Despite that, the SA bowlers ran riot through the Indian batting line-up. No doubt that India, does at this point, have the best batting line-up in the world. But if you cannot stand up to the best bowling attack in the world (SA) then how much credibility does that "no.1 batting line-up' tag have? India is a good team and this is by far their best team in a while, but no no.1 Test team in the world should get clobbered like they are getting right now. Their bowling attack is by far the weakest amongst the top six test teams and they have a non-existent pace attack with no class fast bowler (Ind. fans, Zaheer Khan is NOT a fast bowler). For India to prove that their no.1 is a valid ranking they need to play more test matches abroad and at least win a series in South Africa and Australia. Otherwise I feel this "no.1" tag is just a farce.

  • JayCrick on December 18, 2010, 3:42 GMT

    Some folks here, particularly whose country could not host any game in the last one year, are not able to digest the fact that India has been at No.1 for more than an year now. Not wasting any chance to take a dig at Dhoni's men. Some satisfy themselves by portraying previous Oz team as "real" No.1. A small war-ridden island folks pretend like Oz of the sub-continent and still not coming into terms that India is on top. Come on.. cure to jealousy still to be invented!

  • on December 18, 2010, 3:20 GMT

    Comparing truck with a bicycle, its huge and dominant in the ground. But what if that truck is brought closer to a jumbo jet, that truck looks so insignificant--- India may be the king in his own ground but they fail to win series outside their own territory. even they loose matches against weak and shattered Zims and banglas.

  • shovwar on December 18, 2010, 3:11 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!

  • chokkashokka on December 18, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    who is this guy again? Some affirmative-action cowboy scores a 50 once in 5 years on a dry wicket with the sun shining and all of a sudden he's grows a pair. Please...lets talk after after Day 5 and until then - muzzle this guy. These win the toss and bowl first variety of wickets should be boycotted. The No. 1 team doesn't need to be associated with such bush league - literally - tactics. It is a wicket not a pasture for smith and his herd to feed on. Mooooooo

  • www.Evilsod.com on December 18, 2010, 3:07 GMT

    There were very few demons in that pitch on day 1. All it did was seam a little and had a little bit of bounce. The reality here is that India have been playing on flat decks for the last 3 years. They have won very little outside the sub continent where the wickets suit their batsmen.

    India always struggles on a wicket that has any seam or bounce. They play so much ODI cricket and so much of this T20 rubbish that their wickets have become like runways. Even the mighty Sachin averages less than 40 in South Africa.

    Early days yet, but I think we may just see India take a serious beating in this series.

  • on December 18, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    its insane to write off india to be #1 side, cricket is not just about batting and bowling, there are a lot of factors which decide the game, in this game,(pitch/wind/outfield etc) pitch was one factor which ruled against india, so what, this is not end of world, any game, we loose some we win some, and this game is not yet over, its test cricket, so for all who are used to fast food(t20) relax, test cricket is like dum biryani, you have to give time to enjoy! so chill guyz! for all the talkers lets see how second innings would look like! indian cricket is almost like bollywood movies, without drama its not fun!

  • Bang_La on December 18, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    @ Shrescs, thats a true Indian voice! Had SA lost the toss and India bowled on a damp pitch with pacers having highest speed of 125 KMH could really rock SA batsment and they would have been out under 600, I bet! LOL

  • Sumeet.Gupta on December 18, 2010, 2:53 GMT

    Not trying to display a "sour grapes attitude", but i believe that the time has come that India prepares pitches which suit their strength, that is spin. The Nagpur wicket vs NZ was a typical example. I somehow see a nexus between the groundsmen and the broadcasting channel in India, which makes sure that the match continues till almost the last ball delivered, even if that leads to a stalemate, Ahmedabad vs NZ a case in point. If we always prepare pitches that suit us, there is no way that teams like SA and Aus could win against us. I absolutely agree with SA preparing pitch that suits them, it's their right. This hopefully will serve as a lesson to BCCI to dictate pitches. No raging turners like Mumbai 2004, but like Nagpur. AFAIK, India are no. 1 because they haven't lost a test series in last 2 years and have won in Eng, WI, NZ, Pak(when last toured) and won a test each in Aus and SA. That's a good record, ain't it? We didnt bully ICC to rank us #1 like we do in everything else :-)

  • on December 18, 2010, 2:05 GMT

    Indian attack is no better than a good club team. Unankat, he should go back playing for his college team. He is too easy to play at Test Level.

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    Things coud have been different, if CSA batted first but Dhoni as usual his luck with tossing is wonderful, better give him a coin Gary and ask him to toss 100 times before going to toss, but we cant do anything one of them as to bat first we batted, hope the best in second innings, its cricket game will change within one or two good sessions, plz dont blame no 1 position of India, every team has its up and down in cricket, We had one bad session on first day of this match. Even CSA played in Dubai in the same flat tracks, it does not mean only playing in flat track CSA came to the no 2 position. Indians played good cricket for almost 2 years and came to this position, will stand and deliver in crisis time, hope will prove it yet again, have to wait and see

  • on December 18, 2010, 1:41 GMT

    The pitch and conditions are always secondary for a great team,unless the conditions or pitch is equally useful for both batsmen and bowler..for example on going ashes pitches in Australia..mentioning SA batsmen superior to Indian batsmen is showing cricketing sense immaturity.No batsman in the world will be able to survive on a pitch which was under showers for more than the half day.If test team has to evalued the conditions and pitch should not change dramatically.Talking about openers india have the best openers,best no.3,no one can doubt no.4,no.5 has nuthing to prove,no.6 is dicey and rest.Fast bowlers of india have made australia suffer in sub continent.swaan and harhajan best spinners..so with minor uos and downs.india is no.1..no question abt that.

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

    i think the point people are making is that india is not a world dominant team, like australia were for 12 years and WI in the 80s. they simply have the number 1 position. rankings are all very well but u need to play equal home and away series, australia have visited india twice since india went down under. in one year´s time the top 5 teams will be very close on points

  • EverybodylovesSachin on December 18, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    South Africa should have won series in India to claim No1 But they did not do it. .Same for India.. if they draw India will still be No1...South Afica needs to win the series to get to No 1.

  • Faryan on December 18, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    India will loose this test by an innings. They'll loose the 2nd test by too Maybe bounce back in the 3rd test and DRAW it at best!

  • on December 18, 2010, 0:17 GMT

    A lot Of No1 ranking haters out here...

  • braindead_rocker on December 18, 2010, 0:15 GMT

    I will bet anything that India will fire in the 2nd innings and save this game. Rahul and VVS along are enough to handle the SA bowlers.

    The pitch has degraded completely.

  • Shrescs on December 17, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    I think South africa were lucky to win toss and bowl (not bat) on the first day. We will see how India bats in the second innings.

  • Amar_bw on December 17, 2010, 23:34 GMT

    I am surprised that some people are already talking about how India doesn't deserve to be a number 1 team. In the modern world of cricket, India is no. 1 because they make sure that they at least don't lose at home. Period. I am sure India will bounce back by 2nd or 3rd Test. SA were also clueless when they came to India.

  • gzawilliam on December 17, 2010, 23:34 GMT

    Lol bang-la thats what i was thinking how can ravi stay biased now

  • cricket4evar on December 17, 2010, 23:28 GMT

    @ phoenix, i agree. India look too flat out there, No quality fast bowling, spin is too reliant on harbajan and batting is overrated. whats going to happen when the fab4 retire

  • on December 17, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    No. 1 test team must have following in their banks.... 1) 2 good openers who give them perfect starts every time they come out. Example M Hayden and Justin Langer. 2) 3 good middle order batsmen who can score big on openers platform. Example Ricky Ponting, D Martyn, Mike Hussey, Steve Waugh. 3) 1 good wicket keeper who is good at his primary job and then can score a few runs to add extra pressure on the opposition. Example Adam gilchrist. 4) 1 fast bowling all rounder who can bat and bowl equally well. Example Ian Harvey. 5) 2 or 3 good fast bowlers who can get through the opposition batting lineup. Example Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespi. 6) 1 or 2 good spinners who can bowl well any where in the world. Example Shane Warne, Stuart McGill.

    What a team Ozs were when they were dominent all over the world.... there was no final frontier in the world left after winning in india 3-1............

  • Faryan on December 17, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Indian bowling was poor today. They bowled way too short whereas they should've bowler fuller and made the batsmen drive! just like steyn and morkel did. INDIA'S BOWLING IS SO POOR I THINK IT IS WORST AMONGST THE TOP TEAMS. SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, PAKISTAN, SRILANKA AND ENGLAND ALL HAVE A MUCH BETTER AND BALANCED BOWLING ATTACK!

  • honest68 on December 17, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    Wel come to real world INDIA. And you still claim you can play outside sub-continent dull and flat wickets.

  • jessiedog on December 17, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    Will get to see India's credentials as the no1 side in the world. Raina may need a rest....permenatley... Playing SA on SA pitches a very different proposition to NZ at home on flat batter friendly pitches. Noticeably quiet from t Indian supporters??

  • phoenixsteve on December 17, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    This game is showing that there is NO WAY India should be ranked at no 1 in the rankings! I've got my doubts as to whether they nshould even be in the top 3? They can't handle testing fast and bouncy wickets. Grind them down South Africa and lets have a good look at International test rankings?

  • Bang_La on December 17, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    I wonder which hole Ravi Shastri will hide in after 4th day :)

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:24 GMT

    Looking forward to the tornaedo of south african bowlers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on December 17, 2010, 21:24 GMT

    Looking forward to the tornaedo of south african bowlers.

  • Bang_La on December 17, 2010, 21:41 GMT

    I wonder which hole Ravi Shastri will hide in after 4th day :)

  • phoenixsteve on December 17, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    This game is showing that there is NO WAY India should be ranked at no 1 in the rankings! I've got my doubts as to whether they nshould even be in the top 3? They can't handle testing fast and bouncy wickets. Grind them down South Africa and lets have a good look at International test rankings?

  • jessiedog on December 17, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    Will get to see India's credentials as the no1 side in the world. Raina may need a rest....permenatley... Playing SA on SA pitches a very different proposition to NZ at home on flat batter friendly pitches. Noticeably quiet from t Indian supporters??

  • honest68 on December 17, 2010, 23:18 GMT

    Wel come to real world INDIA. And you still claim you can play outside sub-continent dull and flat wickets.

  • Faryan on December 17, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Indian bowling was poor today. They bowled way too short whereas they should've bowler fuller and made the batsmen drive! just like steyn and morkel did. INDIA'S BOWLING IS SO POOR I THINK IT IS WORST AMONGST THE TOP TEAMS. SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, PAKISTAN, SRILANKA AND ENGLAND ALL HAVE A MUCH BETTER AND BALANCED BOWLING ATTACK!

  • on December 17, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    No. 1 test team must have following in their banks.... 1) 2 good openers who give them perfect starts every time they come out. Example M Hayden and Justin Langer. 2) 3 good middle order batsmen who can score big on openers platform. Example Ricky Ponting, D Martyn, Mike Hussey, Steve Waugh. 3) 1 good wicket keeper who is good at his primary job and then can score a few runs to add extra pressure on the opposition. Example Adam gilchrist. 4) 1 fast bowling all rounder who can bat and bowl equally well. Example Ian Harvey. 5) 2 or 3 good fast bowlers who can get through the opposition batting lineup. Example Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespi. 6) 1 or 2 good spinners who can bowl well any where in the world. Example Shane Warne, Stuart McGill.

    What a team Ozs were when they were dominent all over the world.... there was no final frontier in the world left after winning in india 3-1............

  • cricket4evar on December 17, 2010, 23:28 GMT

    @ phoenix, i agree. India look too flat out there, No quality fast bowling, spin is too reliant on harbajan and batting is overrated. whats going to happen when the fab4 retire

  • gzawilliam on December 17, 2010, 23:34 GMT

    Lol bang-la thats what i was thinking how can ravi stay biased now

  • Amar_bw on December 17, 2010, 23:34 GMT

    I am surprised that some people are already talking about how India doesn't deserve to be a number 1 team. In the modern world of cricket, India is no. 1 because they make sure that they at least don't lose at home. Period. I am sure India will bounce back by 2nd or 3rd Test. SA were also clueless when they came to India.