South Africa v India, 1st Test, Centurion, 4th day December 19, 2010

India show fight at last

Two-and-a-half days too late, but India did take on the challenge. A strong message has been sent. That the team wouldn't roll over and die
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It has to be difficult to be Sachin Tendulkar. Ten minutes after he had finished re-setting the bar for the number of Test centuries, in the process threatening to save India a match from a situation where safety was just a wild dream, Dale Steyn produced the kind of special delivery that wins you Test matches. With one wicket came two, and despite a 172-run, momentum-changing partnership with MS Dhoni, India found themselves on the verge of a Test defeat. Another 16 minutes later, a crazy storm brought along crazy rain. Perhaps Tendulkar's 50th century was meant to come in a losing cause.

The outsiders didn't know how to feel about the man and his mark, leave alone Tendulkar. It was conflicting: it was without doubt a great landmark reached, and a special innings under pressure, but once again, as has been the theme right from the toss, everything that could go wrong was going wrong for India. And the sick old feeling of a great Tendulkar effort going in vain was coming back.

It was fitting that in such a time the man himself sorted out the confusion. "It was extremely important for us to come back strong and send a strong message," Tendulkar said. "I think we have been able to do that. Many positives have come from the match. We need to continue this for the rest of the series."

Without blaming the entire match state on the toss - he knows they could have batted and bowled better than they did in the first innings of the match - Tendulkar said, "The first day, the conditions were completely different, and after the wicket got some sun and a bit of roll, the surface changed and our batsmen put up a good response. There were some very good innings from [Virender] Sehwag, Gautam [Gambhir], and then Rahul [Dravid] was gritty and obviously MS Dhoni played some brilliant shots. There are positives from this Test.

"I wouldn't want to make excuses. Definitely the conditions were different on the first day, both teams would agree to that. [However] whatever challenge is there is front of you, you have to take that on."

Two-and-a-half days too late, but India did take on the challenge. As Tendulkar said, a strong message has been sent. That the team wouldn't roll over and die. It is a message both the teams will carry into the rest of the series. A few players might have been exposed during this Test, but mentally this team is different from the Indian teams of yore. In two years, this team has crossed 450 in the second innings of away Tests twice. In their whole Test-playing history, India have done so only six times.

In what is a cruel irony, Tendulkar's landmark took over the match state at the end of the day. Tendulkar knew he would be hounded by the media in the team hotel, so he let every reporter individually ask him a question that would meet the demands of their organisations. He would have hated to take all the spotlight, especially given the match state, but in the larger interest of a peaceful night for both himself and the reporters, he made that gesture. Never mind that possibly memories such as Chennai 1999 could be running through his mind.

"It was extremely important for us to come back strong and send a strong message. I think we have been able to do that"
Sachin Tendulkar

Perhaps not. For this is not like the team of 1999, when it used to be Tendulkar or nothing. Even today, it was not all about Tendulkar. What seems doomed to be forgotten is perhaps Dhoni's finest Test innings, to rank alongside his match-saving effort at Lord's in 2007. He came in, and in his unique manner, shocked South Africa. India had been fighting gamely until then except for Suresh Raina but it was this shock that they needed to slightly rattle South Africa. His feet moved well, and he counterattacked with a clear mind, letting Tendulkar peacefully play for time.

In quick time, against both new ball and old, India were on their way to erasing the deficit. However, it had not been about Dhoni and Tendulkar alone. Never mind the flat track, it takes a lot of buckling down when you know that you have to bat two-and-a-half days to save a Test. Sehwag and Gambhir bounced back from their first-innings failures well, Dravid batted like he was a fixture there until Morne Morkel produced a beauty to remove him, and Ishant Sharma showed a lot of character in battling it out for 69 minutes and his body was targeted more than often. Full credit, though, to South Africa for coming up with those special deliveries to Dravid and Dhoni at times when they desperately needed them.

There are issues still with the Indian team. Raina's position will definitely be reviewed; Ishant and Sreesanth looked pedestrian in Zaheer's absence, which should never be the case; on the field they couldn't do the containing job on the third day to delay the declaration, which would have gone a long way in their fight to save the game. Those issues will need to be addressed over the next five days if they are to convert this second-innings fight into something substantial for the rest of their stay in South Africa.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 21, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Even Cheteshwar Pujara would be a good option in place of Raina...

  • SFGoldenGate on December 20, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    @Vallabh, SA actually won a series under Hansie in India in 2000 (2-0). The first test was real low scoring match and spinners from both team got most wickets. But SA won both tests. In recent years SA drew the latest 2 series. So, why so fuss? You guys win a series in SA and then there will be no talk. It is as simple as this. Winning only in johannesburg playin g for 18 years does not show that India play well in SA. But SA won 5 tests and one series in India. AB, Amla both scored double hundreds in India. Sachin himself proved that it is possible to do well in SA, also AUS won in SA. SO, you can also win when you fous on performance rather showing lame excuses. I see so few SA fans here in this comments, because they are not crying here , they are celebrating innings victory, LOL

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    @vallabh obviously you know that SA didn't lose to England (in fact despite the result they dominated 3 tests - but failed to kill two off - for that reason they are still a developing side) at home ... and have always competed very well in India (better than any other team) they have not figured out SL at all - that much is true but [and this is @everyone else] this is a young side with some batsmen more adept at slow pitches than those Saffers "known to be mentally weak" or "not good at playing spin. now, Kallis will be a huge loss to SA but now if JP fills his boots and a good third seamer cements his place, I think SAs future looks bright - I'm not commenting on India who has loads of talent both playing and in the wings but let's all just calm down a bit! obviously no-one likes to be beaten and worse by an innings but there are two more tests and we are still likely to see some good cricket at some point. i was enjoying the pre-series banter but now having read all these posts.:(

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    @sweetspot you're sort of right. there aren't many phenomenal fast bowlers who cab get wickets everywhere but Steyn's average in the subcontinent is 23 (as in Africa) and in India i believe it drops to 20. Certainly not bad :)

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    @stormy16 you cannot bowl a side like Indias out cheaply every time and it will be VERY tough when the wicket has deadened ... but, SA don't have to now to win the series and the question really now is: how do India bowl SA out twice??

  • Vallabh on December 20, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    @Davo47 do you mean the pitch and the toss???

  • Vallabh on December 20, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    @shovwar if SA can loose back to back series to Aus and Eng in their own backyard i should say you are an optimist.

    on one hand you complain india always perform well in india alone (which is not true if u know ur cricket) and on the other hand teams like SA can offord to perform badly in home soil. for the record you guys have to win a series in india in spite of providing a pitch suiting your conditions!

    the theory of spin friendly pitches and all other lame excuses. IF You can design a Trampoline pitch to bowl out an opposition why the bloody hell cant we design a spin friendly track!

    India played more matches than SA theory: Commercials my dear friend. sport is money and if two school teams play no one makes money. thats the bloody reason india plays more matches than anyone else. India is centrifugal to world cricket. IPL Champions league are examples. we did a world of good to your economy by moving IPL to yours for instance....

  • ChuckyDoll on December 20, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    India will do just fine in the 2nd test. No wholesale changes are required. I know people are calling for Raina's head but not so soon my friends.

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

    I have to agree with @Davo47. There is a gulf between the fast bowlers of the teams. "Ishant and Sreesanth looked pedestrian in Zaheer's absence" - even with him back they won't take 20 wickets. Why? Because in SA there is always little reverse swing, unlike in Australia. Here you need to bend your back and extract bounce and seam. No one in the present team (or in the whole of India) can do this and so they will always fail in SA. The vaunted batsmen may sometimes click and make runs, but how is that enough to be the number one team in the world (but don't dare suggest this to Indian supporters - btw I'm a an Indian well-wisher).

  • Solomaverick on December 20, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Let us see Pujara for the last two tests please. Think there is something special about him and he didn't struggle with the short-ball against the Aussies.

  • on December 21, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Even Cheteshwar Pujara would be a good option in place of Raina...

  • SFGoldenGate on December 20, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    @Vallabh, SA actually won a series under Hansie in India in 2000 (2-0). The first test was real low scoring match and spinners from both team got most wickets. But SA won both tests. In recent years SA drew the latest 2 series. So, why so fuss? You guys win a series in SA and then there will be no talk. It is as simple as this. Winning only in johannesburg playin g for 18 years does not show that India play well in SA. But SA won 5 tests and one series in India. AB, Amla both scored double hundreds in India. Sachin himself proved that it is possible to do well in SA, also AUS won in SA. SO, you can also win when you fous on performance rather showing lame excuses. I see so few SA fans here in this comments, because they are not crying here , they are celebrating innings victory, LOL

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:51 GMT

    @vallabh obviously you know that SA didn't lose to England (in fact despite the result they dominated 3 tests - but failed to kill two off - for that reason they are still a developing side) at home ... and have always competed very well in India (better than any other team) they have not figured out SL at all - that much is true but [and this is @everyone else] this is a young side with some batsmen more adept at slow pitches than those Saffers "known to be mentally weak" or "not good at playing spin. now, Kallis will be a huge loss to SA but now if JP fills his boots and a good third seamer cements his place, I think SAs future looks bright - I'm not commenting on India who has loads of talent both playing and in the wings but let's all just calm down a bit! obviously no-one likes to be beaten and worse by an innings but there are two more tests and we are still likely to see some good cricket at some point. i was enjoying the pre-series banter but now having read all these posts.:(

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    @sweetspot you're sort of right. there aren't many phenomenal fast bowlers who cab get wickets everywhere but Steyn's average in the subcontinent is 23 (as in Africa) and in India i believe it drops to 20. Certainly not bad :)

  • mahjut on December 20, 2010, 16:13 GMT

    @stormy16 you cannot bowl a side like Indias out cheaply every time and it will be VERY tough when the wicket has deadened ... but, SA don't have to now to win the series and the question really now is: how do India bowl SA out twice??

  • Vallabh on December 20, 2010, 11:46 GMT

    @Davo47 do you mean the pitch and the toss???

  • Vallabh on December 20, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    @shovwar if SA can loose back to back series to Aus and Eng in their own backyard i should say you are an optimist.

    on one hand you complain india always perform well in india alone (which is not true if u know ur cricket) and on the other hand teams like SA can offord to perform badly in home soil. for the record you guys have to win a series in india in spite of providing a pitch suiting your conditions!

    the theory of spin friendly pitches and all other lame excuses. IF You can design a Trampoline pitch to bowl out an opposition why the bloody hell cant we design a spin friendly track!

    India played more matches than SA theory: Commercials my dear friend. sport is money and if two school teams play no one makes money. thats the bloody reason india plays more matches than anyone else. India is centrifugal to world cricket. IPL Champions league are examples. we did a world of good to your economy by moving IPL to yours for instance....

  • ChuckyDoll on December 20, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    India will do just fine in the 2nd test. No wholesale changes are required. I know people are calling for Raina's head but not so soon my friends.

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

    I have to agree with @Davo47. There is a gulf between the fast bowlers of the teams. "Ishant and Sreesanth looked pedestrian in Zaheer's absence" - even with him back they won't take 20 wickets. Why? Because in SA there is always little reverse swing, unlike in Australia. Here you need to bend your back and extract bounce and seam. No one in the present team (or in the whole of India) can do this and so they will always fail in SA. The vaunted batsmen may sometimes click and make runs, but how is that enough to be the number one team in the world (but don't dare suggest this to Indian supporters - btw I'm a an Indian well-wisher).

  • Solomaverick on December 20, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Let us see Pujara for the last two tests please. Think there is something special about him and he didn't struggle with the short-ball against the Aussies.

  • Bunny.boy123 on December 20, 2010, 10:50 GMT

    HELLOOOOOOOO.......Anybody home...where u Indians gone...hiding here n there...come out & face....come on speak up...write something on the wall...u can just write write n write.....Play & win at your home only...enjoy & be happy playing eveything there only....I know ur board is v influential in ICC, have more shares than any other country & is full of money & who knows might have already set India to be the new world champ by giving money to ICC & other cricket boards.....bribed world No.1...hunnnhhh

  • chandau on December 20, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    Ahhh Another side with a problem at 6 (England - C'wood, Auzzy - S Smith). Wasn't Rohit Sharma the "next wonderbatsman"? Raina is in the lineup to give the LH variety but he gets out too soon to make a difference. Also India without Zaheer or even Nehra looks an ordinary attack. Dont expect Harbajan to take many as the pitches will suit Steyn Morkel et al. Maybe Dhoni needs to bat befor Lakshman and play a belligerent innings (meaning a strike rate over 80%) to put pressure on opposition, just like AB did. One wonders what all the analysts on tour do when simple strsstegys seem to be missing. :) Also India lack a classy all rounder like Kallis (in fact many countries do!) which needs to be rectified with an additional bowler (fast bolwer) got to agree with some of the comments : the gulf between the two sides especially in SA conditions is like chalk and cheese.

  • alune on December 20, 2010, 10:30 GMT

    Yet another useless hundred by sachin, piling on runs for himself only...but my indians friends are still celebrating his 50th one

  • on December 20, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    if india wants comeback and level the series they should drop suresh raina...what was he doing in the middle order...atleast he was not getting a start..i think LAX will bounce back in next match..but for raina have already got many chances..i think he is one day specialist..coz his aggressivness suites well for onedayers...but in tests india needs a steadyness in lower order...i think pujara is a better option...he should get a chance to prove himself...may the selectors thinking that its very hard to get clutch in these kind of pitches...i think he would do well..also Sehwag's dissmissal in the lasi innings was useless shot...he should came little quite on these condtions...i think ZAK will be available for the next match...it would give gud confidence to the bowling department...

  • on December 20, 2010, 10:19 GMT

    Well well well... FEEBLE India CRUSHED by DOMINANT SA, must be the title of the bulletin. Even Pakistanis performed better than this so called strong indian side... Looks to me a white wash of thos Indian team by SA. And that was due... If you look at the past year they have played most of the series in sub-continent to win many. THE LIONS AT HOME as always and jackals abroad is the real story. Even at home they couldn't win series against SA, then how they can here in SA?

  • indigower on December 20, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    See wot a performances by the INDIAN TEAM who is in NO 1 Rankingz.......all the best and do ur best..shame on u........................LOL ..same thing will be happen on next WC also.......Just remeber 1996 WC........

  • ste13 on December 20, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    Pujara should be given a change instead of Raina - Yusuf Pathan is not good enough for SA challenge. I cannot see how to improve bowling in 5 days - Zaheer Khan is the only truly world class Indian bowler.

  • kishorecv on December 20, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    Immensely (& pleasantly) surprised that Dhoni played such a high quality innings. How can our 2nd innings hero, Laxman, play such a dismal innings ? Hope we have seen the last of Raina in Test cricket. I feel Murali Vijay will be a failure too. It's better to give Pujara a stable No 6 in the batting order.

  • on December 20, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    ohhhh no more pathan plz, try pujara....... he's looking out into the dark for so long... yusuf pathan is not for the longer form of the game.... vijay & pujara r sitting idle for so long

  • sonjjay on December 20, 2010, 9:59 GMT

    It was a devastating loss!! Raina needs to be shown the door he is just not test material right now. He needs to work out his problems at the NCA.Pujara should take his place and bat at no.5 and Laxman at no.6. Zaheer coming back is a good news and hopefully Ishant and Sreesanth have learned their lesson by looking at steyn and morkel bowl.To me they erred more in their lines than their lengths.We must remain sanguine about our chances of coming back in the series.Lastly,South Africans were deserving winners of this test.

  • on December 20, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    i don,t know why selector give a chance to raina,because of chenai super kings or srikant selecting onlr chenai super kns players, but others players is wating for that postion, yuvraj is first canidate for this postion, because he done very well , he is a great player,

  • sarathy_m2 on December 20, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Thank god for the first day pitch, which brought result to this match. Sorry for India which faced that pitch. Let's expect good pitches for other matches, so that will not lead to a draw, but a firm result.

  • girikula on December 20, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    You need 30 odd runs to avoid innings defeat. You have already reached your personal milestone so no need to worry about being not out or scoring runs. But you expose your tail partner for half of the over and he gets out. Next over, you expose your no.11 and he eventually gets out facing 10 balls. Do you call yourself a team man? If you were one, you would have shown guts to hit out those 25 runs and avoid innings defeat! Alas record maker! How many times have you counted in when we wanted to win or save a match?

  • on December 20, 2010, 9:47 GMT

    INDIA has worlds best batting line up,and SA is allready afraid that next time weather wont help them,and with zahir back in side INDIA will outplay this so called 2nd world best team.............HA HA HA.............

  • on December 20, 2010, 9:44 GMT

    Remember SA, We are 'Slow starters' but you are 'Bad finishers'

  • indrajit_v5 on December 20, 2010, 9:41 GMT

    Come on editors, post my previous post...

    If you are gonna be biased, then don't write articles....

    Give due respect to Dravid....

  • on December 20, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    INDIA is the no1 team in world,and now the CHOKERS must came to know by now.. SA had never been able to show such gutsy performence.................I AM SURE INDIA WILL BEAT HELL OUT OF THEASE CHOKERS IN 2 TESTS .........JAI HO

  • shovwar on December 20, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    @ Deepak Madhavan...Bro if u wanna wait u can...I dont have to wait Cos I knew its gonna happen ...U dont kno... so U can wait till the end....

  • D.Sharma on December 20, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    Sehwag= will never be responsible. Stupid shot really.... Gambhir = 1st time tested in test matches, good knock but unlucky in the 2nd innings, Dravid = one of two players who didn't struggle and got out to good balls, but the 'wall' that he is, should have done MUCH better, SRT= never in trouble, could have protected the tail-enders and SHOULD have at least avoided innings defeat (congrats for 50th 100), Laxman = struggled both innings, Raina= poor guy just not good enough, Dhoni= wonderful 90, his innings was good as SRT's but struggles in the first innings.

  • MaruthuDelft on December 20, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    Ghambi scored a few in the second innings but he is not comfortable. Laxman is not a sportsman. His paunch is disgusting. he is old. Raina can only play with dwarves. Harbajan is a Joker. Sreesanth looks like a Fish Monger. Unadkhat looks like coming from a Refugee Camp. All must be dropped.

  • Mr_Mojo on December 20, 2010, 9:20 GMT

    To the comment below ... first of all they don't have Yusuf Pathan selected for the test team and secondly and more importantly, in what universe is Yusuf Pathan a test player? The only replacement for Suresh Raina should be (and i truly think he needs to go) Cheteshwar Pujara.

  • Jaggadaaku on December 20, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    India show fights at last???? I don't think so. It could have been done like Harbhajan had done twice against New Zealand when he made 2 centuries in two tests. Once again, Sachin has come out pure selfish bastard. He could have played the whole over and make a single run at 5th or 6th ball, and try to get more strikes in every over. If Harbhajan, the bowler could do it twice, I am pretty sure Sachin would have done it. 50 centuries is kind of achievement, and congratulation for that, but if he has rescued the India playing like Harbhajan did against NZ, this century would be memorable forever. The bottom line-Sachin is very ordinary and gutless batsman.

  • indrajit_v5 on December 20, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    Well, well, well...

    Once again the ignorant editors belittle Dravid's 12000 runs....

    Sachin once again eclipsed a GREAT's feat by his selfish century...It seems he said that he loves the game and not records. Thats why he has quit playing one-day, bu the fact is he has stopped coz he knows nobody can catch him there. In tests,there is a chance that Ponting may surpass him and thats why keep playing.

    If its not about records, why is he planning to play World Cup....

  • DownToEarthCricketer on December 20, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Now it is very clear that who is the No1 Team. SAF always draws/WINs series against INDIA but India had never won a series against SAF which will remain in the future as well. AUS days are gone and coming days and No1 ranking belongs to SAF/England.

  • rizzz86 on December 20, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Well done India to show great fight .... but unfortunately you lost the match by an innings.

  • Capitalist_Cricketer on December 20, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Will sound like a broken recored but shouldnt Irfan Pathan be there instead of Raina ? He can bowl and bat too.. ready to argues myself hoarse

  • amilag on December 20, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    fight at last....India failed to get runs scored by SA for just falling of 4 wickets by giving away 20 wickets! India gain the no.01 position by playing most matches in India or sub-continent. Out of the batting pitches this is the result!

  • on December 20, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    Yusuf pathan a chance ??? People are we forgetting that we have tejeswar pujara ahead of pathan? he is in the squad to isnt he? South Africa never did hold their nerve in a tense situation hence they are always near Best but not the best. Australia they are just getting into shape again (well looks like it). England won a test match against them that doesnt mean that they will be No1. hang on! its just the first test match no practice matches. no matter how good you are if you are out of your comfort zone performing from match1 will be a daunting task, I guess we need to check our bearings before criticizing every aspect. I guess whoever wins this series will have to play their skins out. winning a game wouldnt win a series. 2 to go , all the best lads

  • nataraajds on December 20, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    Great fight back by India, credit to Sachin & Dhoni. one bad innings cost match for india. we have few issues to make quick changes. first Raina seems out of touch , so rest him and bring in pujara. and as we all felt without Zaheer our bowling looks very ordinary. hope Zaheer comes back for next test. Finally - 50 test hundred by Sachin is most happy moment of Indian cricket. at 50 he still looks in great touch and he can play another 5 years.

  • somalmighty_UK on December 20, 2010, 8:52 GMT

    Sometimes it is funny how we Indian fans react to a single test match loss (yet to lose at the time of writing)...I expect other countries fan to react to the loss as the manner they are doing..happy...perfectly understandable...as India is no.1 now so every other country who is no. 2, 3,4,5...would be happy...but lemme remind you...no matter what, India is the no.1 team in the world for the last 2 years and they will continue to do so even they lose some odd series or a match...When Aus was no.1 they even lost to India...So all you Indian fans out there please be patient and for other countries cricket fans who have never become no.1, continue moaning and cursing India but still we are the No.1 test team and your team is not...

  • screamingeagle on December 20, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Usual knee jerk reactions. Keep the team, hope Zaheer gets fit. If it is similar conditions and India gets the luck of the toss...who knows.

    Oh..and shovwar (shower?) the future No.1 seems to have excellent bowling stocks, when the wicket is flat? Next two tests might be fun to watch, I dare say.

  • Dilbar786 on December 20, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    Comon really u call that a "fight" they lost by an innings....cricinfo needs to stop favpring india...losers

  • on December 20, 2010, 8:42 GMT

    SA can bravers had defeated Indian tigers.. but it wont happen for the next time. Go India, i think Raina is offset after indulging from the match fixing girl... nothing leave this... v hav t wait till end of the series;);) CHAK DE INDIA

  • on December 20, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    By taking run on first ball of the over or not taking run on the last ball of the over, Sachin though made India proud yesterday but today he has shown lack of devotion he should have taken run on the last ball of over to save the talenders.

  • on December 20, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    What happened Mr. Harbhajan.. after you got trumbled for 136. you said we will show SA what batting really means in the Seconf Innings.. looks like India win get an innings defeat here in the 1st Test match.

    I am not sure what you have to say now... its better to keep your mouth shut when you are loosing.. so remember this from next time. And please perform or else there are better bowlers sitting outside..

    Raina really sucks, India should drop Raina from Test squad and bring in Pujara. he has a better technique then Raina.

    Dhoni's luck cannot work all the time.. gear up soon India or else you will face a defeat 3-0. And forget about the world cup, look at the Indian bowlers can't bowl in SA conditions also.. who will expect them to take wickets in India if they cannot do in SA.

  • raghu1122000 on December 20, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    high time pujara gets his chance.. he did well against aus... He will do well against SA.

  • CONRODS on December 20, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    time for kohli to play in test instead of raina......

  • on December 20, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Pujara or Vijay for hapless Raina. Zaheer back for poor Unadkat. VVS needs to tune into SA conditions and come to the party.

  • on December 20, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    @davo - the same was said after the first in the last series. And then SA got a hiding of its life. Yup, the Indian bowling is not great - but without the advantage of a juiced up wicket, the SA attack will be made to look pedestrian by this batting line up as they showed in Eden Gardens barely 6 months ago. And faced with a big total SA will easily choke as it has shown time and again (that has been the theme of SA cricket over the past decade) - even under pressure from a weak bowling attack (and if Zak returns the attack won't be weak any more). I daresay if the toss had been reversed SA wouldn't be looking so dominant. The result would likely have been reversed.

  • jimbond on December 20, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    For those eager to write off India too soon, this is a sign. My predictions, India to lose this test by an innings (both wickets to fall within two to three overs tomorrow), and then Indian winning the next two tests and win the series.

  • SilentVoyager on December 20, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    Everybody is talking about the fiery SA pace attack rattling the Indian batting. But the pitch really does matter. People should not forget that a few years back Sreesanth ripped through the SA batting lineup on a bowling pitch and India won. During SA first innings, the pitch's flattened out and most importantly their minds are pressure free thanks to India's 136. Whereas on the same flat track, Indians are batting under immense pressure trying to save the match and sports are not just physical skills but also mind games. I definitely agree that SA pace attack has more fire power, but I don't think they beat us by a large margin in the skill set. SA batting is on par with Indian batting, but definitely not better.

  • SamRoy on December 20, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    India has more than 1 billion cricket experts and an absolute majority doesn't understand test cricket. @M Uday Kumar Yusuf Pathan? In a test match in SA? LOL!! M Vijay is not a good player of the back foot and chances are he will fail badly in SA and Australia (and also in Oval and Barbados). Need to get Pujara in place of Raina for next test. India should have picked Ashwin and Mithun in place of Ojha and one of the two pacers (preferably in place of Umesh Yadav) in the the squad.

  • sunil_just_loves_test_cricket on December 20, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    India shows fight at last heading is totally wrong. As i told in two of my previous comments in some other article this SA attack dont have the guts to bowl out INDIA before 300+ it was only becaz of rain they did in first inning. If they are so talented then why they have not repeated the same at least something around 300. Also as i said earleir sehwag wil show Steyn and morkel their real class and MASTER will put a stamp on it and this is the case we all are viewing. Any test lover should know and ware of the fact that whatever the condition of the pitch is the second and third day are the most producible in terms of batting in which SA batted. Therefore they batted so well in extremely good condition. One thing I am not figuring why none is crticing Dhoni on his captaincy why he gave raina and tendular to bowl..in 12 overs they scored 130 becauz of this 130 SA was able to declare otherwise match would have been different becaz when Ab tried to thrash Sharma he got out.....thats is

  • Morpheus273 on December 20, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Raina in my opinion is an excellent T20 and ODI player. No doubt about it. But he is no Test player. Only because he has a century on debut, in Sri Lankan conditions does not buy him a place in the Indian test side touring hostile conditions like SA. His feet dont move, he expects every ball to be a bouncer. He doesnt command a place in the Test setup. Cheteshwar Pujara, although on the Indian pitches, showed class while batting against the Aussies. He had the technique and the finnesse to move his feat and score as he did. He should be given a chance in SA. I am sure we will have a perfect replacement for Rahul Dravid, The Wall, when he decides to hang his boots. But, for now No Raina in tests.

  • on December 20, 2010, 6:54 GMT

    Why can't we appreciate good cricket does not matter who ever plays? For cricketers it's bread and butter but for us it's not. Rather than fighting, arguing if we start enjoying the game everyone would be happy. SA bowled fantastically in 1st innings and India's fightback is also awesome. Let's appreciate both. By the way, I dont understand Dhoni's lame excuses for the toss. He has been doing it for a while now and media is making people believe that he is right. If toss is crucial then Dhoni shall not play if he loses it :D Check out the number of tosses Ponting, Richards etc won when their teams were rocking.

  • csango on December 20, 2010, 6:52 GMT

    Mr. Shovwar you pre-mature comments, just like the stigma of Indian circket of tigers on subcontinental pitches, did you forget the SA's psychological problem? Hershee's drop catch and WC of Steve Waugh to recently England's Gaham Onion saving test on worn out pitch of 5th day for England....Let SA go to Sri Lanka and win test series their on turning pitches let alone coming to India...The fact is there will be 2-3 teams that will compete for #1 slot unlike the years of unilateral dominance of West Indies and Aussies

  • Cricket_4_Blood on December 20, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    Waiting too see India Lose & Im sure its going to happen within an hour of the final day. C'mon proteas knock them Out & make them cry for a win.

  • MasterClass on December 20, 2010, 6:41 GMT

    @Abhijeth_Manohar: I was desperately hoping that Dhoni/Kirsten would opt for Pujara over Raina. Really man Raina's gone soft in the head or something. He's has so many stupid brain freeze moments lately that how one can have confidence playing him in the Test XI is beyond me! Alas, if only India had Pujara to promote to No. 3 in the 2nd innings (like against Aus), this match would be well on its way to being a draw. I've no doubt that he and Sachin would have remained unbeaten and erased the deficit by the end of day 4.

  • gavinfrank on December 20, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    Some1 suggested to try out Yousuf instead of Raina,R u kidding me ??? thats like replacing a hare with a rabbit. Yousufs weakness against quality fast bowling and in particular bouncers is almost as well documented as Rainas. Im really wondering y a guy like pujara aint in the team though. How can you possibly play raina and keep pujara , perhaps indias best new comer in tests out of the team is beyond me. Pujara is the next wall of india , and this is the best time to give him the opportunity to prove his mettle. Hes already showed he can handle pressure with his assured innings against the aussies. Ishant Sharma for me , is completely finished and should be done away with. His bowling is a shadow of what it was b4. Isnt there ne1 in India who can bowl 140+ consistently. How can you expect unadkat to do wonders bowling at 125/130 kmph.Im sorry to say thats not even medium pace these days, and unless you have conditions for seam and swing,it is pointless to bowl him on flat tracks.

  • bestanalyst on December 20, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    @shovwar...dude,SA era????????r u kidding me?first let them learn how 2 go past semi-finals and what it takes 2 win world class tournaments and then talk about dominating the world..south africans couldnt win in india for over a decade now after 1999.forget about SA era.they dont have what it takes to beat every team evrywhere.they r just self-boasting home country bullies.it will b OZ era again in due course of time..even ENG nd IND will do well.

  • MasterClass on December 20, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    @M Uday Kumar - I'm shocked you're not on the Ind selector panel with such insights! What next? Oh let me guess....maybe Ravindra Jadeja?

  • sweetspot on December 20, 2010, 6:14 GMT

    @ Davo47 - There IS a gulf between the two sides. One is #1 and the other is #2. Not much, but a gulf nevertheless. Regardless of the series outcome, #1 stays #1. @ the "India is finished" brigade - SA is a capable enough team, but it hasn't done anything so remarkable that it should assume the #1 position ahead of any other team. The top 4 places can change at any time. If conditions aren't particularly helpful, Steyn has to strain to get wickets, and Morkel is also not such a great threat. Truth is, there aren't any phenomenal fast bowlers in the world today who are good in all conditions. Most are one dimensional, and who can blame them in this day and age of slam bash batting oriented cricket becoming the driving factor?

  • Point4 on December 20, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    @Shovwar--King Kallis is nearing the end of this reign and once he leaves the void would be huge and non replacable at least from an all round perspective.SA isnt going to rule the world.Once he leaves SA will struggle with bat AND boll (Morkel especially) any where in the sub cotinent.Becasue other than Amla and to a lrge extent Smith others wont make runs against slow balls and reverse swing,,,

  • akhil103 on December 20, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    raina should be out and bhajji need proper(2 months) should play in ranji otherwise he will be next "IRFAN PATHAN" of indian cricket team as he is there to take wickets (bowling) and not for his batting....

  • Cricketiga on December 20, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    People will complain about dead tracks in India as one of the main reasons for India being No1. Every country prepares the pitches as per their climatic conditions and their bowling strength. Poor people they feel jealous about India's supremacy in Test Cricket. Jai Ho India.

  • Krishdang on December 20, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    cheteshwar pujara may be given a chance. He didn't too bad for the lone opportunity he was given. not being overly ambitious or anything, he is a successful batsman at batsman friendly indian tracks in domestic cirucit, but that's how we and he will know his strength and weaknesses, so he could work on them and be ready for the next time around when we have lost all or most of our top 4 batsmen. unless India want to wait until the disaster occurs and then review the situation. that will be too harsh for a young batsman. it is like learning to swim at the time when you are about to be submerged.

  • munnacricketfan on December 20, 2010, 5:55 GMT

    Congratulations SACHIN 50 Test Hundreds! But will you be able to save India from loss? My feeling and i do bet also that Today's first wicket will be Sachin and India will lose.. this is from past records what i remember. Sachin will achieve his personel records without leading team towards victory or match saving innings. But still he is Tendulkar.....

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:54 GMT

    'fight at last" this is not the 2nd innings of the 3rd test.. even if SA batted on the first day in that conditions they would have struggled.

  • cooljack_143 on December 20, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    This is SA's best chance to ever get closer to India in the TEST RANKINGS on their home grounds. However once India are away from this series there is no doubt that they will again start their hunger towards maintaining their ranking as TOP NO 1 team, so beware SA about this and play this series with quite a domination.Anyways you can never ever win a world cup,what ever the game SA plays they dont have luck to win world cup at all.Sorry to say this but this is the fact you should all be knowing.My counts are on India,SL and Aus.

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:41 GMT

    I don't understand why they haven't tried Cheteshwar Pujara, he looks classy. S Badrinath, remember? And i cant help but pity Unadkat. He was brought back out of obscurity only to be sent back there later. Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar? Where the hell are they? What happened to Mithun guy?

  • stormy16 on December 20, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    Great fightback by Ind after 3 poor days and I guess its fair to say they got the wrong end of a very raw deal as far as the wicket goes. I thought Dravid and laxman played poor shots to get out - Dravid neednt have played at ball given everything he left alone outside off and Laxman played a loose drive. I cant beleive what a poor shot Raina played and with so much batting talent that is apparently going to waste in India surely Raina must be dropped. The real issue is the ineffectiveness of the new ball in the hands of the best opening bowlers in the world - they got hammered with bot new balls for over a 100!! Surely thats a huge battle won for India - not just negoiating the new ball but getting centruy partnerships. Is SA cant get wickets with the new ball against India at home - they how are they going to bowl out India twice without a juicy green top where they win the toss. They had this issue in UAE against Pakistan as well - strange really!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 20, 2010, 5:38 GMT

    On the first day when conditions were difficult, India bashers enjoyed with 'Flat track bully' comments. Now on the fourth day, they donot have anything to explain this. Does BCCI changed the pitch ?? can any India bashers answer this?

  • Razor88 on December 20, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Davo47 n Shovwar - Lol!! Can't laugh More !!! Typical South African Fan i guess :P.Don't worry,Wait and see what happens.Jus Hope that You don't get Dropped from No.02... lol

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    Today is going to be bit interesting day to watch, if India can survive for first session and add at least 130 runs than there is good chance of getting it draw as forecast suggest that there will be no play after lunch ....:)

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    Murali Vijay can play a better role than suresh raina

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    If south africa becomes No 1, they also cannot be called worthy No 1 until, they win a test series in India. We will be ready with a pitch where the ball will spin like a top just to return their favor (making a green pitch and bundling us out for 136). If you see, once the pitch flattened out, SA bowling struggled as much as India's. So all this talk of SA era are all rubbish. I did not see much difference between the bowling attacks except that they got and used a fresh green pitch to their advantage. I agree that SA are also a good team capable of becoming No 1. But I do not see a big gulf between Indian team and SA team as some of the posts below suggest.

    Someone has to teach dhoni how to win tosses.

  • wincrick on December 20, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    India has shown fight but it could all come to nothing as we could lose this test match unless miracle happens. The match was lost on the first day when India lost almost all their wickets for a low score. Sachin's landmark century unfortunately will go in vain as we have only 2 wickets remaining. Other batsmen should have taken a leaf out of South African batsmens book and should have shown the guts to stay at the wicket and accumulate runs. Suresh Raina seems to give it up too early when he sees a quality fast bowler bowling. He should be replaced by Pujara who has shown good technique against fast bowlers.

    Abhijith Radhakrishnan

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

    What is Cheteshwar Pujara doing there, Why can't he replace Raina?

  • Aasim_Waheed on December 20, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    Sachin is great player ... No doubt about .... But why media is creating a hype of it. Remember India is going to loose this test match. Wats the use of 100. Cricket is not played for records but for victory. Records are always secondry.

    Secondly, why Dhoni did not try Sehwag. Sehwag is much much better bowler than Raina. Sehwag is a wicket taker.

    Is some thing going on between Sehwag and Dhoni ???

  • nair_ottappalam on December 20, 2010, 5:16 GMT

    It is a great shame on Indian media that while lauding Sachin's feet of 50 test hundreds (which is by all means an excellent achievement) they have totally forgotten the landmark crossed by the "GREAT WALL OF INDIAN CRICKET". It is in the same innings that Rahul "Wall" Dravid completed 12000 test runs and became the only third batsman to do so in test cricket after Sachin & Ricky. Let us all give Rahul his own due respct and praise his achievements as well. Sachin is not the only batsman India has produced.

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    Pujara should replace of Raina in next tests...Raina need some rest to refresh before ODIs & world cup...

  • on December 20, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    SA becoming no 1 team is a big joke.. This team cant play any slow tracks.. None of the batsmen other than Amla and kallis play spin... Leave out India,If SA team were in colombo, they would be bowled out for less than 200 and innings defeat is for sure.. Not even a class spinner.. Had steyn or morkel happened to miss a test, they cant even think of replacement seamer.. Look at tsotsbe.. He is more lik udankat.. The only thing is he's well built and has good pace than the later... And above all.... We know SA choke at big time... None of the present team wil dominate lik aussies or west indies.... India can come close, if they sort out issues in bowling.. No chance for South Africa...

  • SRKatik on December 20, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    India desperately need a fast bowler who can bowl at 150kmph to survive in SA. Bouncers at 140+ are unplayable like Steyn's one to dhoni yest.

  • on December 20, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    Two good knocks from Raina has kept him in tests for 2 long...time to assess the potential and bring in either pujara or vijay..Raina has too many flaws and until he corrects them, he can't be played outside subcontinent. raina is no better than yuvraj

  • rdx155 on December 20, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    Where are those jealous SA fans now, who used to comment here that india can't bat on Bouncy tracks? Who used to say that Sachin is not a god of cricket? HaHaHA those cowards ran away to find a place to hide now, because little master has achieved another milestone against SA team. LMAO!! // It is proved that SA team were lucky to win the toss and took the advantage of pitch. We showed them their place. We are the No.1 team.. No matter if we lose this match, we'll win in the remaining matches. SA fans criticized indian team when we got out in low score, now it's our turn to criticize SA team. We don't respect those who don't respect us. Go India Go.. Congratz a ton to SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.. Truly the GOD of CRICKET.

  • Catch2020 on December 20, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Yes, a few Indian batsmen did show some steel (notably Dhoni who briefly changed the face of the game) -- but we shouldn't delude ourselves into believing we were anything short of awful in this test. India has no chance unless our bowling improves dramatically overnight. Our specialist bowlers -- Ishant, Sreesanth, Harbhajan and Unadkat were completely toothless. Our backup bowlers are inadequate -- Tendulkar is good for 2-3 overs before he loses his length; Raina is at best a club level bowler who routinely bowls absolute rubbish. Not sure why Sehwag didn't bowl. Sehwag, BTW, could have saved this game but he just threw his wicket away. We have a lot of work ahead of us; taking away any other message is going to result in additional drubbings.

  • ashish514 on December 20, 2010, 4:44 GMT

    Well, not quite enough, someone had to stand there with Sachin. It's sick to see him standing alone for a loosing cause so many times. And why does he get blamed for them? It's not that India had no chance when he came on, we had a great chance but others kept getting out. Scores of 80's and 90's are just not enough when you are targeting to cutoff such a big lead and give something to fight back. There had to be atleast one more big centrury. Blaming Sachin for this is like blaming Dhoni for loosing the toss. It's not in their hands, in the toss case, it's no one's, but in the other case, the rest of the team can sure do something.

  • anshu.sunny on December 20, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    i can see a lot of south africans gloating just because India had a bad first day.They forgot SA were brutalised last time India toured SA at the Wanderers.84 all out..remember that..India were 1-0 up but lost the series 2-1.hold your horses.jsut because our lead bowler was out injured and u won a favorable toss ..u become world number 1 ..is all bollocks..england whacked Oz out of sight at Adelaide..because Oz had one bad day.but England wre put in their place at Perth.. just like certain SA supporters are shouting about SA era..a certain Michael Vaughan .was saying the same and was made to eat his words in just the next game at perth..

  • on December 20, 2010, 4:41 GMT

    India has done a wonderful job. I feel Raina is a weak link in Indian batting for now. Without doubt he is a good player and in future he would be a great player, but now he is simply out of form. So he needs to be replaced by either Murli Vijay or C. Pujara. Also one big plus in this match is Dhoni's form. He was not batting as he did this time for some time. The first day simply cost us the match. Who knows, today Sreesant and Unadkat may help Sachin save this match. I still remember in one match against England, Sreesant batted out the last over of the match to save for India. Cricket is full of glorious uncertainties. Enjoy the test match........

  • Tendulkars_Tennis_Elbow on December 20, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    at what point do we say enough is enough and sack that Eric Simons?

  • rdx155 on December 20, 2010, 4:26 GMT

    This achievement is a slap or a powerful punch on the faces of those people who don't think sachin is a GOD of Cricket. They are jealous people who don't respect cricket at all. Sachin doesn't need to prove anything anymore, he replies crictics by his performance. I am more happy because he achieved his 50th Test hundred against SA team who are arrogant & jealous. Sachin has all types of cricket shots in his book. He has smashed every bowler great bowler of last 2 decades. Dale Styn & Morne Morkel are kids as compared to Abdul Kadeer, Shane Warne, Murli, McGrath, Wasim akram, waqar younis, Alan Donald, Pollock, Vaas, akhtar, lee, kasprovicz, Tom.. They all suffered when they didn't respect the master. Take a bow to the GODFATHER of Cricket - SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.

  • on December 20, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    Middle order in place of Raina, Yusuf Pathan can be tried out .....

  • Chestnutgrey on December 20, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    India may not be as good as South Africa. But SA aren't too hot either. Their bowlers, better as they are than the Indian trundlers, are yet to prove themselves in unhelpful conditions, stray good performances in India notwithstanding. They struggled to get the Indian batsmen dismissed cheaply in this test and they struggled to take twenty wickets against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Of course, India is not as good, but..

  • Rahulbose on December 20, 2010, 3:40 GMT

    It still surprises me that India cannot produce a single fast bowler. Players come into the team bowling in the mid 130 and soon drop to medium pace. The selection of backup seamers in this series is also strange, they should have gone with Munaf or Nehra. Indian bowling coach should be replaced ASAP.

    On the series, if the remaining 2 tests are played on good wickets then it could be long batting displays. A bit more juice and India will fold again.

  • sskris1 on December 20, 2010, 3:32 GMT

    @Thomas, I completely agree with u. Raina must go. His technique is pathetic and he is not suited for the test matches. I would like to see Pujara.

    @Davo As an Indian I will be the first to agree that there is a huge difference btwn 2-sides, especially in the bowling department. India can match player to player in the batting department except for Raina. It's a treat to watch Steyn bowl, the way he cranks up and can give the best in the world a torrid time at the crease. Great sight. the ball he got Dhoni was a pinch of a delivary and I am sure would have gotten the best of the best in the world. India's bowling w/o Zaheer is absolutely ridiculous. I hope they can learn from best bowling attack in the world.

    What I don't understand is why India did not play any tour games? India's batting is not so bad to be bowled out for 136 irrespective of who they are playing.

  • MasterClass on December 20, 2010, 3:21 GMT

    One of the reasons I felt Ind would do well against SA in this tour is because there was evidence that Dhoni had decided to go back to his old aggressive style of batting. I only wish he had come in sooner (higher up the order) because Ind needed someone to unsettle the Saffers. Sadly, India missed 2 tricks that were completely in their control, and which could have changed the complexion and final result of this match: 1) India should have played Pujara instead of Raina 2) Dhoni should have had his seamers bowl outside off to a off-side packed field once the early break-thrus did not come in the 1st innings (an additional benefit to the approach is that Unadkat would have actually been useful). The off-side plan would have resulted in less time and fewer runs to play-out for a draw. India need a player like AB who can provide a strong push and momentum-wresting approach in the middle order, and without a doubt Pujara is THE MAN for this job!

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 20, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    @shovwar: I don't believe SA will be No. 1. They've always been close to #1. Whenever they come close, they choke. To remove that tag, they still have a long way to go. I'm not sure of SA's middle-order once Kallis is retired - Very difficult to fill those shoes and that extra bowling option.

    Nevertheless, 2 more tests to go - I wouldn't say SA have won the series already.

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 20, 2010, 3:03 GMT

    Raina reminds me of Phillip Hughes of Australia. A couple of bouncers and a full on delivery - you'll get your edge to slip... Why don't these guys take some time and address their flaws, instead of wasting everybody's time

  • on December 20, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    Let see the transitional phase I think South Africa is a great team but India also is not a pedestrian. The teams are evenly matched let Zaheer come in and then we will see who is better. South Africa's bowling attack relies only on Steyn and Morkel. This is just one failure for India but I would still say pretty good performance owing to the fact that they didnt have a single warm up match. The transition from sub continent wicket to south african wicket is not easy. South African's were lucky on day one to get those conditions.

  • JustOUT on December 20, 2010, 2:43 GMT

    I dont understand on everyone saying when Zaheer returns to the team, the bowling attack will become stronger. Even if Zaheer return what is the impact of him on those 2 other hopeless bowlers. Still they will be bowling like a dead lamb. Well the talk is Zaheer will inspire them, means do you want Zaheer to clap and run behind those two hopeless bowlers for every ball they bowl?? I dont think Inda can take 20 wkts in SA. a BIG NO.

  • suddyv on December 20, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    Admired the determination and hungry for success shown by Indian batsman, India batted under pressure of mammouth deficit. Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin and Dhoni - The way they batted showed, it is going to be a forgettable series for SA. Provided Our bowlers show some more courage. Hats off to India cricket. I can say for now for sure India will be No.1 for atleast Two years. This batting lineup has all time greats. Sachin's competitor is himself, No one could match him at present or future.

    One Sentence "No.1 Test status is India's PRIDE and Neighbour's ENVY"

  • ruchinn on December 20, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    The way India fought back especially in the second innings shows, the substance that they are made of. Even Federer loses sometimes & India just had 1 bad day at the office. Let the series finish & if India can keep this going i am sure they would have many more admirers. SA fans forget SA was in fact thrashed badly in their own backyard by Aussies whom India whitewashed recently. One win doesn't make you world champions, it's what you do in trying times does.

  • on December 20, 2010, 1:52 GMT

    I don't understand. How can SA fans be so proud of a single day's bowling effort on a HOME pitch in special RAINY conditions? This is coming from a team that has never won a world cup, that has been unable to win even its recent home test series. Never mind the fact that SA does not win test series in India. Somehow, a possible series victory at home (rather unlikely, now that we know SA can only bowl under "lottery ticket" conditions) makes them "No. 1".

    Is SA a mentally retarded country or what?

  • on December 20, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    Time for Murali Vijay to be given a chance

  • IndianaJones79 on December 20, 2010, 1:39 GMT

    @Davo47..if gulf is so much then why SA could not win series in india for so much time? Please don't be arrogant because this one SA is winning. Please give some respect to team who won and performed well everywhere except SA. Both team are good. And if We indian respect SA inspite of them falling like cards in india(Flat tracks according to some of the ignorant people) against so called pop gun attack. So learn to respect and callibre of india's batsman. India was the only who constantly challanged Australia when they had all their legends in team and when SA was no where near Aus. We still give respect to SA. So give respect when due

  • hatrick26 on December 20, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    @shovwar ..Lets not annoint SA yet. They have to find a replacement for Kallis and Boucher is not young either. I am not sold on De vlliers on playing quality spin as he was found out in India and to be honest India's spin bowling is decent but not like Murali/Warne/Kumble types. I think Amla has to fill Kallis' role soon. Petersen too early to tell now. India will not hold the top spot and may be it is transitional but SA is not going to rule like Oz did early this decade. Also India has to find a quality Left hand band middle of the order. Raina/Yuvraj does not cut it for tests.

  • Balumekka on December 20, 2010, 1:15 GMT

    I was please to see the resistance that India showed in the 2nd Innings. As a Sri Lankan, I always feel had not India and Pakistan separated in 1947, what a good team they would have been (with PAK bowlers and IND batsman)!!!!

  • on December 20, 2010, 1:07 GMT

    shovwar and Dsvo47..let's wait until the end of the series shall we :)

  • shramiac1 on December 20, 2010, 0:55 GMT

    How come Laxman can only score runs against Australia????

  • on December 20, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    1999 Chennai is also different in that victory was a definite possibility for India, but a strained back caused Tendulkar to lose his wicket 17 runs short, and the remaining 3 Indians capitulated spinelessly.

    Here there has not been a wish of an Indian victory after the 1st innings batting failure and the failure of Ishant and Sreesanth to show bowling character. Where is the Ishant who rattled Ponting in Australia 2008? Where is the Sreesanth who idiotically defied the Aussies and South Africans - we need him now. He should remember the delivery with which he knocked over Matthew Hayden's middle stump in the inaugural T20 World Cup semifinal which blew a coasting Australia out of the game. But what we have seen is Indian pacers feeding half-volleys and leg-stump deliveries to an ever-confident South African batting.

    A rain-dance is now in order.

  • MasterClass on December 20, 2010, 0:09 GMT

    One of the reasons I felt Ind would do well against SA in this tour is because there was evidence that Dhoni had decided to go back to his old aggressive style of batting. I only wish he had come in sooner (higher up the order) because Ind needed someone to unsettle the Saffers. I feel India missed 2 tricks that were completely in their control and which could have changed the complexion and final result of this match: 1) India should have played Pujara instead of Raina 2) Dhoni should have had his seamers and particularly Unadkat bowl outside off to a off-side packed field once the early break-thrus did not come in the 1st innings. The off-side plan would have resulted in less time and fewer runs to play-out for a draw. India need a player like AB who can provide a strong push and momentum wresting approach in the middle order, and Pujara is THE MAN for this job! I hope someone is listening!

  • cric_frnd on December 20, 2010, 0:01 GMT

    It is good that India did well to nearly wiped out the mammoth deficit of 484 runs on the oversear pitch. But still time to think about the position of Suresh Raina. Not only because of his current form in last 4-5 Test matches but he is more over ODI player. Pujara definitely deserves the chance to play in 2nd Test Match. Needs to fill the position no. 6 with player with some class and temparament for a long run.

  • Deepfreezed on December 19, 2010, 23:53 GMT

    Pitch flattened out enough for India's liking. If it weren't for Tendulker, innings defeat was for sure.

  • shovwar on December 19, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    If Imran Tahir does get picked for SA Test XI next year...This SA attack would be complete and hold the no.1 test ranking for the next decade....Because most of the SA players are young.....way younger than Indian...This is the End of OZ era and the beginning of SA era...The India no.1 rank is just a transitional period from Aus era to SA era.....

  • MaruthuDelft on December 19, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    That is a stupid Heading. It is important to play well from the very first instant of a test series. India has never managed to do it in a test series against quality oppositions when they played away from India except for when Ganguly the only Indian who has balls did it against Australia in 2003. Till todate that series remains India's best performance but many believe even in that series the Aussies didn't put in their 100%.

  • on December 19, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Good fightback but I was disappointed with Dhoni,Laxman and Raina in that order.They were highly unnecessary strokes when the team has to save a game.Dravid as usual nicking the ball with such regularity doesn't bode well for India.South Africa should win this one deservingly due to India's listless bowling and batting in the first innings.Dhoni as a captain is highly overrated.The lack of practice on South African pitches also did them in.

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 19, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    India are much better placed today than they were after the first day of the test match. The confidence of this immensely experienced and talented batting order is almost back and the South Africans will be aware that. A loud and clear message has been sent that this Indian side isn't just going to lie down and take a beating, they've shown their grit and will wait for the opportunity to transfer the pressure back on the proteas. If Khan can make it back into the second test match, no doubt we have a cracking test match on our hands. The Steyn vs Sehwag rivalry isn't over, Rahul & Laxman are yet to fire, Raina is due for a big one and Sreesant & Ishant have much to prove. This team can bounce back and surely have the confidence to do so. My prediction: India will win the third test match to draw the series.

  • Nampally on December 19, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Dhoni & Sachin played excellent cricket to give India respectable position. I have only one criticism of Dhoni. He should have sent Harbhajan and himself ahead of Raina, who was struggling to find form. Even Ishant Sharma showed more guts than Raina in both innings did. Of course Raina might have lost his place in the Indian team for a long time to come and has a very difficult road to climb back after his failures in test & ODI's.It was unfortunate that all things went against India thru' the test. A bowler like Ashwin could have done a much better job than harbhajan in bowling.So the Indian bowling is another thing to look for. Zaheer may be back but he alone cannot turn the tables. Send back Unadkat & Yadhev and bring in Munaf Patel and Ashwin. Also Raina can be sent back and get in Rahane, who has been discarded for long time. These are some of the lessons learnt from this test and hopefully India will make changes to address the poor overall show.

  • on December 19, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Well said Sidharth! I think this Indian team is different from earlier Indian teams. They have more guts to battle it out. I think even though India loose this game from here on but SA thinktank will definitely thinking of this team. This 2nd innings fightback shows why thery are number one. Mind you they are still not very good starter on away tours..as this has been seen times to times. But from 2nd test, they will really give SA run for their money. Hope to see very close battle between the two great teams.

  • shovwar on December 19, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    SA clearly better than India in all departments n deserve to win this. De villers batting neutralised Sehwag's effort and Kallis double shadowed Sachin's ton and the bowling attack has more venom than India....Zaheer would have made a little difference but not in the outcome of the match. SA has the reply for India.....they r simply better. We r not worried bout the no.1 rankings cos we showed we r better than the no.1 ranked team....But I do agree that if India was playing against any other bowling attack in the 2nd Inninngs they would ve sure saved the Test...Because India are 2nd best ater SA...a good fight back though but not enough and too late....

  • sonjjay on December 19, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Raina's place in the team shall be reviewed???? Ishant Sharma looked a better batsman than Raina.Raina is only a T20 and ODI player.If he wants to sort out this short ball issue he needs to go the NCA and work it out not in a test match where we looking for a victory.Pujara should come in and bat at no.5 and Laxman at no.6 and lets hope Z.Khan is fit for the 2nd test.We cant do much about Sharma and Sreesanth but only hope they have learnt their lesson by looking at Steyn and Morkel's line,length and energy.I hope it doesnt rain now as we deserve to lose this test and SA deserves a victory but glad to see our team putting on a better show in the 2nd dig.

  • mahjut on December 19, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    I've added my props to Tendulkar in another thread (but congrats again!) so I am here to respond to the article in general. I don't get the message they think (or the author thinks) they've sent. The basic fact remains that on the SAME docile wicket where SA racked up 620 seemingly without effort (sure, with little pressure) for only 4 wickets - India's elite have still had to work really hard to go over 400 - these are generally considered to be some of the best batsmen in the world (obviously, pressure has to be considered but even still...?). The only clear message on offer to me seems to be: SA must win this or hope the remaining two test strips are do not provide 4 days of batting bliss - as that will mean India will manage, over two innings (and easily 5 days), to match whatever SA manage to score.

  • on December 19, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    Nice Article Sidh, But as Gary says there are lot of positives here. It aint the same indian team. I could sense a SAFFERS run for money in next two and may be India might pull it off from here. Losing tomorrow does nt make me sad but if india gets it draw coz of rain, It would be morale down for saffies in a small way...putting them in doubt abt the way they shud play their next game. If saffies were to play first day, now situation wud have been very diff.

  • David47 on December 19, 2010, 20:23 GMT

    Don't let the "India fight" headline and the Indian second inning scoreline fool you - there's a gulf between these two sides, as the series outcome will prove.

  • on December 19, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Raina has too go...he is a great one day player like Bevan....

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  • on December 19, 2010, 20:17 GMT

    Raina has too go...he is a great one day player like Bevan....

  • David47 on December 19, 2010, 20:23 GMT

    Don't let the "India fight" headline and the Indian second inning scoreline fool you - there's a gulf between these two sides, as the series outcome will prove.

  • on December 19, 2010, 20:25 GMT

    Nice Article Sidh, But as Gary says there are lot of positives here. It aint the same indian team. I could sense a SAFFERS run for money in next two and may be India might pull it off from here. Losing tomorrow does nt make me sad but if india gets it draw coz of rain, It would be morale down for saffies in a small way...putting them in doubt abt the way they shud play their next game. If saffies were to play first day, now situation wud have been very diff.

  • mahjut on December 19, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    I've added my props to Tendulkar in another thread (but congrats again!) so I am here to respond to the article in general. I don't get the message they think (or the author thinks) they've sent. The basic fact remains that on the SAME docile wicket where SA racked up 620 seemingly without effort (sure, with little pressure) for only 4 wickets - India's elite have still had to work really hard to go over 400 - these are generally considered to be some of the best batsmen in the world (obviously, pressure has to be considered but even still...?). The only clear message on offer to me seems to be: SA must win this or hope the remaining two test strips are do not provide 4 days of batting bliss - as that will mean India will manage, over two innings (and easily 5 days), to match whatever SA manage to score.

  • sonjjay on December 19, 2010, 20:49 GMT

    Raina's place in the team shall be reviewed???? Ishant Sharma looked a better batsman than Raina.Raina is only a T20 and ODI player.If he wants to sort out this short ball issue he needs to go the NCA and work it out not in a test match where we looking for a victory.Pujara should come in and bat at no.5 and Laxman at no.6 and lets hope Z.Khan is fit for the 2nd test.We cant do much about Sharma and Sreesanth but only hope they have learnt their lesson by looking at Steyn and Morkel's line,length and energy.I hope it doesnt rain now as we deserve to lose this test and SA deserves a victory but glad to see our team putting on a better show in the 2nd dig.

  • shovwar on December 19, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    SA clearly better than India in all departments n deserve to win this. De villers batting neutralised Sehwag's effort and Kallis double shadowed Sachin's ton and the bowling attack has more venom than India....Zaheer would have made a little difference but not in the outcome of the match. SA has the reply for India.....they r simply better. We r not worried bout the no.1 rankings cos we showed we r better than the no.1 ranked team....But I do agree that if India was playing against any other bowling attack in the 2nd Inninngs they would ve sure saved the Test...Because India are 2nd best ater SA...a good fight back though but not enough and too late....

  • on December 19, 2010, 20:56 GMT

    Well said Sidharth! I think this Indian team is different from earlier Indian teams. They have more guts to battle it out. I think even though India loose this game from here on but SA thinktank will definitely thinking of this team. This 2nd innings fightback shows why thery are number one. Mind you they are still not very good starter on away tours..as this has been seen times to times. But from 2nd test, they will really give SA run for their money. Hope to see very close battle between the two great teams.

  • Nampally on December 19, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Dhoni & Sachin played excellent cricket to give India respectable position. I have only one criticism of Dhoni. He should have sent Harbhajan and himself ahead of Raina, who was struggling to find form. Even Ishant Sharma showed more guts than Raina in both innings did. Of course Raina might have lost his place in the Indian team for a long time to come and has a very difficult road to climb back after his failures in test & ODI's.It was unfortunate that all things went against India thru' the test. A bowler like Ashwin could have done a much better job than harbhajan in bowling.So the Indian bowling is another thing to look for. Zaheer may be back but he alone cannot turn the tables. Send back Unadkat & Yadhev and bring in Munaf Patel and Ashwin. Also Raina can be sent back and get in Rahane, who has been discarded for long time. These are some of the lessons learnt from this test and hopefully India will make changes to address the poor overall show.

  • Abhijeth_Manohar on December 19, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    India are much better placed today than they were after the first day of the test match. The confidence of this immensely experienced and talented batting order is almost back and the South Africans will be aware that. A loud and clear message has been sent that this Indian side isn't just going to lie down and take a beating, they've shown their grit and will wait for the opportunity to transfer the pressure back on the proteas. If Khan can make it back into the second test match, no doubt we have a cracking test match on our hands. The Steyn vs Sehwag rivalry isn't over, Rahul & Laxman are yet to fire, Raina is due for a big one and Sreesant & Ishant have much to prove. This team can bounce back and surely have the confidence to do so. My prediction: India will win the third test match to draw the series.

  • on December 19, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Good fightback but I was disappointed with Dhoni,Laxman and Raina in that order.They were highly unnecessary strokes when the team has to save a game.Dravid as usual nicking the ball with such regularity doesn't bode well for India.South Africa should win this one deservingly due to India's listless bowling and batting in the first innings.Dhoni as a captain is highly overrated.The lack of practice on South African pitches also did them in.