South Africa v India, 3rd ODI, Cape Town January 19, 2011

Smith left to rue missed opportunities

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Two matches, two close defeats, crucial mistakes in the final stages of both matches. South Africa have to be hurting. Batsmen freezing might just be the lesser of the evils. They pride themselves on their fielding, and tonight they dropped two catches they would normally take nine times out of 10. Zaheer Khan got reprieved on nought, Harbhajan Singh on 12, and the duo carried India home. Something similar happened when they were batting: after recovering well from an average start, they slumped from 198 for 4 in 44.4 overs to 220 all out.

Graeme Smith chose to focus on that period - during the end of an innings - that has hurt them the most in this series. "I think 220 gave us a chance. The wicket was very difficult to bat on, had sort of plates on it, and its two-paced nature made strokes very difficult. It also had up and down bounce," he said. "[But] we were really hoping for 240. I think 240 would have been a really good total there. JP [Duminy] and [debutant] Faff du Plessis played well together to take us to a decent total [rescuing them from 90 for 4]. Our Powerplay was poor again, we lost JP and Faff within two overs, and we only got 19 overs in our last six overs.

"I really felt if we got 240 we were in with a real good chance of winning the game. We came real close, we missed two crucial chances at the back end, but I can't fault the guys' commitment tonight, their intensity and the effort they gave."

The commitment was of course there, in the way Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn bowled, in the way they caught, Steyn off his own bowling and Morkel at third man. Also pleasing was how - despite an expectedly nervous start - du Plessis made it easier for the selectors to pick him for the World Cup.

"Terrific to see a guy like him come in," Smith said. "He had a good domestic season, and just to carry that on here is good. He has prepared well, I have watched him in training. He will bring a lot to the squad I think. It was great to see him and play that well. Especially under pressure. We were under pressure when he came in. I think he has something special, which is good."

Smith said the key to bouncing back from such close defeats in back-to-back games was to not change what has been working for them. "I think it's always important to keep doing the right things at training," he said. "Keep reiterating the same point. The margins have been so small in the last two games, we could easily be 2-1 up or 3-0 up. Just got to keep training hard and keep doing the right things and hopefully the things will kick into place.

"The World Cup squad comes out tonight, that will ease a lot of minds and stress on players. Hopefully free up a lot of players, and make them play with sort of freedom in the next few games."

They will need all the freedom because the opposition - an under-strength one at that - is sensing they are under pressure. "Our team is full of confidence right now," Yusuf Pathan, Man of the Match tonight, said. "South Africa will obviously be under pressure because they have lost two matches, and we have done better in pressure situation. We made a comeback in the previous game, and here too. So the pressure will be there."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • iamgroot on January 21, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    During 99 and 00;s there were so many matches which India could have won if those ifs and buts were taken into consideration. but that is life ..move on . smith has always something to complain about. The way he spoke during the first test match and even during the toss at second goes to show how lightly he has taken Indian team. With two deadly bowlers like steyn , morkel ..he should have done lot better.. take the case of albie morkel.. the way dhoni used him in IPL and champions league was simply awesome.. dhoni was smart captain and smith has to learn from mistakes ..if you dont knwo how to use deadly weapons in your arsenal then you will always end up in losing side..dhoni should play yusuf more and rohit less ..then indian team will be even more deadly and much more stronger.. right now selection of playing X1 is the only weakness of indian team ..hope dhoni picks right players and NOT rohit he should be kicked out NOW..

  • on January 21, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Best Indian 11 in world cup

    1.Tendulkar 2.Sehwag 3.Kohli 4.Raina 5.Yuraj 6.Dhoni 7.Pathan 8.Harbajan Singh 9.Praveen Kumar 10.Zaheer Khan 11.Munaf Patel

  • Rameez_06 on January 20, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    i jst went thru a few comments my freinds have put up .. well first of all congrats to India in their recent victories in SA agnst d home team .. have to admit dey hav been doin exceptionally well under pressure .. n none oder dan yousuf has been standing out in doing so for india in d recent past ... m sure v al have got to see a new side of him n d way he has played recently .. he seems to b more responsible n takes on d bowlers wen its necessary .. pray dat he is consistent in wat he is doin .. cz his current form can b very handy if India hav to go on n win d WC .. muskhad told yusuf shud b played in case of injuries to one ofda 11 he mentioned .. i gues he has forgotten d innings tusuf came up wid NZ recently dis year wen most of d name in his top order were bak in d pavilion n India were down to 5 wkts widin 100 runs .. his 123 of 79 balls cant b overseen .. m sure yusuf wil b in d playin 11 .. no matr who oder wud hav to sit out ..

  • Dev_Kumar on January 20, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    Well done india without big player

  • KricketWicket on January 20, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    I am a Indian cricket fan currently residing in London. I have been following the Indian team on Sky Sports over the last several years. When India tour outside, Sky Sports get their coverage from foreign broadcasters (e.g. the India's tour of Australia in 08 was from Channel 9 and the current SA series is from the local SA broadcasters). What I have observed is the shocking double standards of foreign commentators when they talk about Indian players in these channels and what these very same commentators say when they are commenting in an Indian channel or in the IPL. Apparently, no Indian batter can play pace & is made to look like a pussy cat. When their own batsmen get beaten then it has got to do with the pitch and everything else under the sun. If an Indian batter hits sixes, its cause of their massive bats (as if their players all use thin bats). The double standards, and hatred of India is unbelievable. These shameless commentators also want contracts with IPL and Indian TV.

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    It amuses me how people are stressing on the fact that 'a life' was given to several Indian batsmen. What about the missed run out of Duminy by Yusuf Pathan? If not for that, I highly doubt if South Africa would've crossed a 150 mark. So, if we are to believe that India won because of 'luck' and bad fielding by SA players, I suggest you retract to that moment where Duminy would've walked back to the pavilion with a paltry score next to his name. It's all about holding your nerve and seeing your team through. It's not about losing and then complaining about how lucky the opponents were, it's more about how incapable SA were, as a team. And it's a known fact how the SA team develop butter fingers the moment one of the opponent player defies their scheme and attack. Walking into the field with a plan B is quite necessary for a team like SA. At this rate, I highly doubt if they'd even manage to enter the knockout stages of WC 2011.

  • muskhad on January 20, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    ya.. india is doing well in the absence of four imp players like...sachin,viru, gauti,and praveen....yosuf pathan batting has been very good...this shows that he is capable outside the sub continent....my wishing eleven to play in the wc......is 1.sachin2.viru.3.gauti.4.kohli.5.yuvraj.6.dhoni.7.raina.8.harbhajan.9.prav.10.zaheer.11.nehra/munaf........ in my view pathan need not be in the eleven...because you have bhaji and yuvi as a good all rounders... even raina and sehwag can bowl well... also there is no space for pathan in the team....you cannot refuse one of the first seven ....so if anyone gets injured or if someone finds poor form.... yosuf can replace him.

  • blaster_boy on January 20, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    when wil be the fight between india and england. we have to show Daren Gaugh ... who says that tthey can beat india.., seven days in week... lol .

  • crimsonbull on January 20, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    G. Smith ODI iQ 6 out of 10. Replace him with Kallis

  • landl47 on January 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    For some reason, the fact that South Africa continually fails to win games and series that it should win is not put down to Smith's captaincy. Yet the team has been underachievers the whole time he has been captain. Now and again they show what they can do, but for the most part as a team they just don't live up to their individual reputations. To my mind, that comes down to leadership. If they don't reach the finals of this WC, Smith should be axed and a new leader given the task of sorting out the attitude of the team. Maybe Amla might be the man for the job?

  • iamgroot on January 21, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    During 99 and 00;s there were so many matches which India could have won if those ifs and buts were taken into consideration. but that is life ..move on . smith has always something to complain about. The way he spoke during the first test match and even during the toss at second goes to show how lightly he has taken Indian team. With two deadly bowlers like steyn , morkel ..he should have done lot better.. take the case of albie morkel.. the way dhoni used him in IPL and champions league was simply awesome.. dhoni was smart captain and smith has to learn from mistakes ..if you dont knwo how to use deadly weapons in your arsenal then you will always end up in losing side..dhoni should play yusuf more and rohit less ..then indian team will be even more deadly and much more stronger.. right now selection of playing X1 is the only weakness of indian team ..hope dhoni picks right players and NOT rohit he should be kicked out NOW..

  • on January 21, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Best Indian 11 in world cup

    1.Tendulkar 2.Sehwag 3.Kohli 4.Raina 5.Yuraj 6.Dhoni 7.Pathan 8.Harbajan Singh 9.Praveen Kumar 10.Zaheer Khan 11.Munaf Patel

  • Rameez_06 on January 20, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    i jst went thru a few comments my freinds have put up .. well first of all congrats to India in their recent victories in SA agnst d home team .. have to admit dey hav been doin exceptionally well under pressure .. n none oder dan yousuf has been standing out in doing so for india in d recent past ... m sure v al have got to see a new side of him n d way he has played recently .. he seems to b more responsible n takes on d bowlers wen its necessary .. pray dat he is consistent in wat he is doin .. cz his current form can b very handy if India hav to go on n win d WC .. muskhad told yusuf shud b played in case of injuries to one ofda 11 he mentioned .. i gues he has forgotten d innings tusuf came up wid NZ recently dis year wen most of d name in his top order were bak in d pavilion n India were down to 5 wkts widin 100 runs .. his 123 of 79 balls cant b overseen .. m sure yusuf wil b in d playin 11 .. no matr who oder wud hav to sit out ..

  • Dev_Kumar on January 20, 2011, 15:03 GMT

    Well done india without big player

  • KricketWicket on January 20, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    I am a Indian cricket fan currently residing in London. I have been following the Indian team on Sky Sports over the last several years. When India tour outside, Sky Sports get their coverage from foreign broadcasters (e.g. the India's tour of Australia in 08 was from Channel 9 and the current SA series is from the local SA broadcasters). What I have observed is the shocking double standards of foreign commentators when they talk about Indian players in these channels and what these very same commentators say when they are commenting in an Indian channel or in the IPL. Apparently, no Indian batter can play pace & is made to look like a pussy cat. When their own batsmen get beaten then it has got to do with the pitch and everything else under the sun. If an Indian batter hits sixes, its cause of their massive bats (as if their players all use thin bats). The double standards, and hatred of India is unbelievable. These shameless commentators also want contracts with IPL and Indian TV.

  • on January 20, 2011, 13:17 GMT

    It amuses me how people are stressing on the fact that 'a life' was given to several Indian batsmen. What about the missed run out of Duminy by Yusuf Pathan? If not for that, I highly doubt if South Africa would've crossed a 150 mark. So, if we are to believe that India won because of 'luck' and bad fielding by SA players, I suggest you retract to that moment where Duminy would've walked back to the pavilion with a paltry score next to his name. It's all about holding your nerve and seeing your team through. It's not about losing and then complaining about how lucky the opponents were, it's more about how incapable SA were, as a team. And it's a known fact how the SA team develop butter fingers the moment one of the opponent player defies their scheme and attack. Walking into the field with a plan B is quite necessary for a team like SA. At this rate, I highly doubt if they'd even manage to enter the knockout stages of WC 2011.

  • muskhad on January 20, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    ya.. india is doing well in the absence of four imp players like...sachin,viru, gauti,and praveen....yosuf pathan batting has been very good...this shows that he is capable outside the sub continent....my wishing eleven to play in the wc......is 1.sachin2.viru.3.gauti.4.kohli.5.yuvraj.6.dhoni.7.raina.8.harbhajan.9.prav.10.zaheer.11.nehra/munaf........ in my view pathan need not be in the eleven...because you have bhaji and yuvi as a good all rounders... even raina and sehwag can bowl well... also there is no space for pathan in the team....you cannot refuse one of the first seven ....so if anyone gets injured or if someone finds poor form.... yosuf can replace him.

  • blaster_boy on January 20, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    when wil be the fight between india and england. we have to show Daren Gaugh ... who says that tthey can beat india.., seven days in week... lol .

  • crimsonbull on January 20, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    G. Smith ODI iQ 6 out of 10. Replace him with Kallis

  • landl47 on January 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    For some reason, the fact that South Africa continually fails to win games and series that it should win is not put down to Smith's captaincy. Yet the team has been underachievers the whole time he has been captain. Now and again they show what they can do, but for the most part as a team they just don't live up to their individual reputations. To my mind, that comes down to leadership. If they don't reach the finals of this WC, Smith should be axed and a new leader given the task of sorting out the attitude of the team. Maybe Amla might be the man for the job?

  • AsherCA on January 20, 2011, 1:16 GMT

    I understand some of the rejoinders to my previous comment. However, I stand by it - when Mr. Smith is talking about the fact that his batsmen could have got another 20-or so runs, I just wander what would have happened if his fielders had done their job right - those to misfielded boundaries resulted in 8 more runs for India, add to that 2 dropped catches. You normally plan workarounds for your known weaknesses - India / Pakistan batsmen know that they have to get an extra 20 runs to cover for such fielding. I am bringing up these items as something unusual that effected the result - we have seen batting collapses, but when was the last time we saw this kind of fielding from SA ?

  • mrgupta on January 19, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    Quite surprising that just before the start of this tour SA fans were Bullish about their prospects and also about their "Superior" bowling. After loosing second test on a fast pitch and also almost loosing the third test they have come to face the reality. Now in ODIs India missing 3 of their top batsmen (Sachin, Viru and Gauti) and still the so called superior SA bowling cannot stop us from winning and cant stop our lower order to score the winning runs. India lost the first test because our Best bowler was injured. Imagine, what wud happen if SA had to bowl to Sachin and Co. without Steyn? Now with India playing a much depleted side and winning and SA just missing one player from being full strength and still loosing I will say the tilt of balance in the Power is quite apparent.

  • on January 19, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    SA needs some serious fielding practice. It used to be a strong point, but bad fielding and catching cost them the series against Pakistan and now the same is happening against India, in both the tests and one dayers.

  • skjit on January 19, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    Morkel and Steyn are the best bowlers in the game, and this ODI series has been worth watching because of them. What a relief from the batting pitches - here we had a proper contest. Great batting from Pathan!

  • ravikini on January 19, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    I was quite mad at the Indian team management for not picking Yusuf in the Playing 11 for the first 2 onedayers. He is a proven match winner and with world cup around you should give him opportunity to play. Most of the times when he comes to bat in twenty 20 match, he hardly gets a few balls to settle as he is sent so late in to bat, atleast in ODI's give the guy some respite to settle and go for the kill. I sometimes wonder Dhoni might be scared of Yusuf's popularity and tries hard to keep him out of things. Though he is a great captain sometimes I feel jealousy boiling over him, for instance ,the match in which Sachine scored the first double hundred in ODI history, Dhoni kept him out of strike for almost 2 overs. Sachin would have easily got to 220 plus in that inings if only Dhoni rotated strike. Congrats Yusuf, you give us so much hope for winning the world cup. I love the way you hammer the ball so cleanly next only to former Yuvi.

  • on January 19, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    I saw India's chase, and would say it was a lucky win. Once Yusuf had given them a good platform - they just needed to bat sensibly and coast along. But somehow - all the remaining batsmen, including Yusuf were hell bent on being heroes. Rather than playing safe and going for single's and two's (required RR was around 4) everyone went for the big shots. India was lucky to survice close chances, play-and-miss, airy fairy shots, etc. SA too missed out on few catches in end which might have given them victory.

  • on January 19, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    In all fairness, India is playing terribly in all 3 matches. They have been extremely LUCKY in the last 2 matches. And luck will not be always there. With such pathetic performances esp by the young guns, I don't see them getting past the first round in the world cup. Tendulkar, Sehwag, Kohli have a history of failing when they are most needed

  • on January 19, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    lets see what the world have to say. kumara sangakara:"i already admitted India as no.1 team in test, now i do admit they are getting more power in one days also & thereby i do admit the cricket ratings"

  • muski on January 19, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    This SA team looks too brittle without Lord Kallis in the middle. They have a history of choking and the current team is not different. Steyn and Morkel will be less potent on sub continental wickets. I cant see this team reaching the semi final. Meanwhile Yuvraj seems to be making the life of Indian selectors easy. He looks most certain to sit out of the 11 given the fact that Kohli is pretty consistent. Nehra should make way to the Wrestler Praveen Kumar.

  • Kreazy on January 19, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    Though, Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir and Praveen (4 first choice indian team players) were absent, the rest of the guys were able to win two most imp matches against full fledged SA team. Thats a very good effort. It shows how strong Indian bench strength is.

  • on January 19, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Posted by Abhimanyu Kulkarni on (January 19 2011, 08:48 AM GMT) Smith did not praise Yusuf for his counter attack, that shows his sportsman spirit!! ------------------------- Actually, it is a good time to knock on the South Africans when they are down, but Smith couldn't have been more magnanimous in his praise of Pathan. To quote him:

    "Yusuf was probably the difference between the two teams tonight. Every batter struggled to score freely tonight, and he went better than a run a ball. He timed the ball sweetly, which every other batter struggled to do, so he was the real difference. When he came in, they were under real pressure and he counter-attacked really well. Having known Yusuf, he has that potential, so well done to him tonight."

  • Nampally on January 19, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    Springboks were known for their brilliant fielding dating back to the times of J.Chatham's team with Tayfield, Endean, McClean, MaGlew, etc. Those days the SA team had the confidence to get their opponents within their score however small it was thru' brilliant fielding & catching. Missed catches of Zaheer & Harbhajan's took India to victory. Nevertheless all credit to India and in particular to Pathan, Zaheer, Harbhajan & Nehra for standing up there with defeat staring at their faces & carrying India to one of the best comeback wins.From 182 for 7 to 223 for 8 is fantastic achievement by the 3 bowlers showing how to keep your nerve.The same 3 bowlers faced about 5 overs combined from Steyn & Morkel as well.Harbhajan hitting a 6 off Morkel was unbelievable. Pathan led the way with his brilliant innings when India were far behind on run rate. He fell trying to win the game on his own after a dazzling 59. What a gutsy win. If india play with such guts they will win the World cup at home

  • SnowSnake on January 19, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    The only way to win against India is to get all 10 batsmen out. Current team has all big hitters from Rohit, Kohli to Bhajji. SA cannot win unless they get India all out. No score is safe. Currently, SA is the one team that is getting all their batsmen out.

  • on January 19, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    Brilliant performance by the India team which is without the services of Sachin, Gauti and Sehwag. Praveen kr. could've replaced Nehra as well. Still it is winning against almost full strength SA Team and surely India Team is much better that SA when handling Pressure Cooker situations. Go India Go.

  • soumyas on January 19, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    smith gave life to Y.pathan when he was on single digit. which was too costly. Botha gave a life to zaheer when he was on single digit. Dumni gave a life to harbhajan when he was on single digit. there was a second life to harbhajan near boundary which was left for 4, dont knw who was feilder, some 2-3 run outs missed,

    wheare as indian team kohli took 3 beautiful catches, Zaheer took outstanding one... MUnaf made nice run out..

    feilding was the difference...

  • annadon on January 19, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    All is well SA IF YOU HAVE GUTS TO WIN THIS SERIES YOU WILL WIN WORLD CUP

  • on January 19, 2011, 13:21 GMT

    They are simply preparing us for the worst. Most other World Cups they go in as number one or favourites. This time they are throwing away their ranking an attempting to go in as underdogs. This way nobody has any dreams/expectations and we should be thrilled at making the next round.

  • Saffalicious on January 19, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    I cannot help feeling that the balance of the side is just wrong. We need 2 openers that can strike hard and van Wyk should be that man with Smith, Amla in at 3, Kallis, DeVilliers, Ingram, Duminy gives a much more solid batting lineup. du Pleaais in at 8, Botha, Morkel and Steyn. That gives you 3 spinners, 3 seamers and a healthy batting lineup. Your rotational pool would be Ingram, Du Plessis, Tahir, Tsotsobe, Albie Morkel and Rusty Theron for balance if you want more bowling / batting to fit into the side in the 7 / 8 spots.

    This would make more sense than a lopsided looking side.

    This article is obviously about how Smith sees his side and therefore no poor reflection on his "sportsmanship". For the record though, India did well and deserved the win, but the whole world doesnt consume their every waking hour discussing the Indian side, rather than looking to themselves for improvements.

  • on January 19, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    @Aussie_Mike for you kind information, Sachin not contributed much to these two wins. Ofcourse he is backbone to Indian team, but it doesn't mean that the whole team is depend on his performance. Ps: I'm a hardcore Sachin fan.

  • kapilesh23 on January 19, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    If it was not for kallis SA would have lost test series .now there is no kallis in odi and they are losing .I think even south african fans will agree that they are only good team without kallis .

  • gerardpereira20 on January 19, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    First it was the Umpires, then it was luck now it is missed opportunities when will Smith accept that India are the better team.There was a lot of talk about luck after the last game well SA got lucky when Duminy was "run out on zero" and went on to make fifty. Take Kallis out of the equation and South Africa are an average side with a fragile batting lineup. India on the other hand have plenty of guys that can win a game single handed Shewag, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Pathan. Laxman and plenty of guys that can step up and be counted when required, Bajji, Zaheer, Gambhir, Kholi etc. But there are still a lot of weaknesses Raina's inability to read a match situation and play accordingly, inconsistent bowling from Nehra and sloppy feilding. Vijay and Pujara should stick to test cricket

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Yes its True that India is Winning Currently but They definitely need to improve in many areas. i think Rohit Sharma is more of a middle order batsman than a Opener,so he should be sent down the order. Virat Kohli sees the new Ball off very well So i think he should be a good replacement for Sachin as a opener. Secondly the Form of Suresh Raina is really worrying... I mean he did score a good 37 in the last match but we know he is much more capable than that.He is a Excellent Finisher.. With World Cup less than a month away he really needs to find his form back Quickly. The Best Positive Point For the Indian Team so far in the Series is their Fielding !! Indian Team is not known for their good fielding but they have really done Well in that Department..

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    As a big SA fan it is obviously dissapointing, their fielding is at its worse. Harbajan should be giving our tail enders and some top order batting lessons. At this stage it looks like SA will once again be exiting early from the world cup. I think the title for this article should be "SA choking already"

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Hey Asher, what if Morkel didnt catch Yusuf Pathan.. what if the ball brushed his fingers and fell on to his side... and he's injured.. what if Yusuf Pathan hit 6 every ball he faced...!!! what ifff... :P LOLzzz..!!!

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    At the beginning of India's tour to South Africa a host of cricket fans all over the world were rubbing their hands in glee, saying that the number 1 Test side would finally be put in its place by the Proteas! Well, 3 Tests and 3 ODIs later its the Proteas thats being put under pressure: in their own conditions! I think Smith is running out of ideas & excuses at the end of each lost game. And remember, India have the gall to play the ODIs with what is more or less (except for the bowling line-up), their B-Team:)

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    In the run up to the tour, Smith and his bowlers were suggesting they will be all over the Indian players who cannot play fast bowling, they suggested. Now, SA and its fans are shamed and have to eat their own words. SA is a 1 trick pony - relying solely on Kallis and are very weak mentally.

    India almost won the Test series (but for a poor session of captaining at Cape Town) and beat SA twice in a row in ODI without 4 of its best players. If SA can't even beat India in their own home, how can they dream of beating India in India to clinch the WC?

  • Shallin on January 19, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    Both Vijay and Nehra should be replaced. Kohli and Rohit open the batting, call me mad but this is the strongest 11: 1. Virat Kohli 2. Rohit Sharma 3. Yuvraj Singh 4. MS Dhoni 5. Suresh Raina 6. Yusuf Pathan 7. Piyush Chawla 8. Ravichandran Ashwin 9. Harbhajan Singh 10. Zaheer Khan 11. Munaf Patel

    This 11 can bat till no. 9, 5 of them are capable of bowling ten overs each, and 4 others can chip in with the ball. Side has great balance on paper.

    But something tells me that India will field the same side :(

  • on January 19, 2011, 10:02 GMT

    The indians sure are doing well in pressure situation, but they got to remember that its another bilateral series.. They have been winning quite a few bilateral series till now and its the big events like the world championship or the T20 world cup where they are not able to get it right... Hopefully, things would change for them. This is possibly the best chance for them to win the world cup and they need to go in full strength. Youngsters like Kohli, Pathan and Ashwin are really crucial for the teams success and its good they are performing well

  • bestbuddy on January 19, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Its not just the dependence on Kallis as an allrounder, but the balance of the current selection. The game is batting oriented, which means the difference between a part time bowler and a regular bowler is only a few runs; both will be taken for a few. Just look at duminy and parnell's figures this series, duminy has a far better economy rate than parnell, and on fast bowling surfaces to boot. Batsmen however will add much more to the cause - case in point this last game, where a batsman/batting allrounder at 7 would probably have posted an extra 10-20 runs and won the game. There is no point in going in with 5 bowlers and 2 part timers. Get the part timers to share the 5th bowler spot and back the 4 regulars to do their job. Thats what every other team does and they do it for a reason - it works!

  • indianzen on January 19, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    No.. India doesn't depend on tendulkar, in both these ODIs, youngsters have proved that they can do better. But we definitely need to think about replacement Zaheer Swing Khan... but full strengthed SA is demolished by a 75% strong India, which is really good...

  • freeboy26 on January 19, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    All I want to say is.. India did not CHOKE :)

  • belief on January 19, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Baseless, misinformed comment by Aussie_Mike on India. Sachin played first two ODI's and perfomed poorly with the bat. Due to injury he didnt play 3rd ODI & will miss remaining ODI matches. Test Victory by Team India by was a solid display of all round team performance.They didnt relied on single performance.

    South Africa - Test Match - Kallis saved 3rd test and hence series was drawn. Thier ODI performance is speaking for itself in the absence of Kallis. Batting is crumbling under the pressure and they are also missing Kallis medium pace bowling which probably adds spice to their bowling line-up. This has made me think - What would be their ODI performance in absence of either Morkel/Steyn and Kallis. PS - India top three Batsment (Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin) not playing current ODI series due to injuries.

  • iamgroot on January 19, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Excellent performance from Yusuf.. wow what a player.. I think that 123 against NZ re invented him completely.. The way he was looking at the ball and hitting it out of the ground with ease shows how much he values his wicket. Double thumbs up for his performance. And Rohit sharma ? less said the better.. he is beaten for sheer pace. At this level if you get 50 games to prove your self and still you average 20 ..you dont deserve a place in team. I think Saurav Tiwary or some other Indian cricketer if they are given 50 matches to perform I am sure they will come up with far better performance than this arrogant idiot. Indian team will be do much better without this Rohit sharma.. Indian team doesnt need such players.. sames goes to M vijay .. even he is not performing and should make way for parthiv patel who is left hander and also an opener. 1) Parthiv 2) Kohli 3) Raina 4) Yuvraj 5) Dhoni 6) Yusuf 7) Bhajji 8) Zaheer 9) Nehra 10) R Ashwin 11) Munaf Congrats Team India !!!!

  • on January 19, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    SA over confidence has paid the price for them. Final Frontier where SA were planning top the test ranking and ODI ranking has been unsuccessful. Obviously the condition is not best suited for India. But India held their nerve and playing the series with absolute common sense. Many have debated that 2nd ODI was a fluck / luck to MSD, but it was pure statergy and common sense being applied by Indians in 2nd and 3rd ODI. Now, SA currently ranked 2 & 4th in Test and ODI respectively. They can be never No 1 in another 6 months in tests. Even SA wins the next 2 ODI's they can come to No 3 spot only. There are lot more pressure added now. If England wins agaisnt Australia in ODI series, India wins SA series and SL wins WI series before the world cup India can rank no 1 ODI and SA will be pushed to 5 / 6 spot in ODI. Final Frontier back fires SA

  • on January 19, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    On the eve of the series Smith had a superior complex over Team India, but as the series progressing further, that attitude is diminishing with frustration and perhaps at the end of the series, he has to forcefully admit India's superiority.

  • the_predator on January 19, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Simth should thank his stars, instead of crying foul about the result of the series, that they got to 220. We all saw how he was playing Zahir and harbhajan. when they were 92/4......had pathan taken off the bails correctly duminy would have been run out. The way SA batted and india bowled they did not deserve 220.

  • on January 19, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    Smith did not praise Yusuf for his counter attack, that shows his sportsman spirit!!

  • Willowarriers on January 19, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    yeah right who knows what would have happened... SA would have still lost thats what would have happened, AshercCA

    ... who knows what would have happened if the Earth had switched places with the planet Mercury... would there be cricket there? lol...

  • Roodey_poo_candy_ass on January 19, 2011, 8:15 GMT

    Yusuf pathan played exceptionally well nd India once again snatched victory from the jaws of defeat !! Hats off to india !! Nd harbhajan absolutely nailed the proteas vd those 2 monster sixes ! I hv always been a fan of bhajji nd he has done it once again !! Best wishes for india to win the series nd shut the mouth of proteas !! Goooo

  • sudhs_107 on January 19, 2011, 8:12 GMT

    @AsherCA -- Duminy was runout when the score was 90 odd. Though the stumps were hit by the bowler (Yusuf Pathan), the dislodged bails were not clearly visible when the batsman was just out of the crease.

    It was a case where both the decisions (either out or notout) were acceptable.

    Duminy got a life due to benefit of doubt. If not, it would have been a different case altogether.

  • Willowarriers on January 19, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    yeah right who knows what would have happened... SA would have still lost thats what would have happened, AshercCA

    ... who knows what would have happened if the Earth had switched places with the planet Mercury... would there be cricket there? lol...

  • on January 19, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    So much hype on SA Prowess! they hv proven to be like any other team that has played against india in last two years. india continues its habit of taking on supposedly strong team in their own playgrounds n beating them Perth, england, new zeland and now south africa. At least now we expect some kind of sensible reporting by cricinfo.

  • purush_kamal on January 19, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    dono why smith is such a whinger...i heard the stump mic when he said zaheer "you got a lucky one yesterday" when they were around 20 for no loss. i guess he was talking abt bothas lbw decision which went wrong...i have seen so many ifs and buts by smith this series..which i havent heard from other captains... so i place smith as whinger no 1

  • Aussie_Mike on January 19, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    This Series (both Tests and ODIs) proves another point that, SA depends more heavily on Kallis than India depends on Tendulkar, inspite of having the World no. 1 bowler (Steyn) on their side.

  • on January 19, 2011, 7:13 GMT

    mr asher ca if duminy is run out for zero what will happen . so pls dont comments like these mis fielding

  • sathishbabu4u on January 19, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Once india proved they are able to play in any conditions and any pitches. Even Pathan playing in South African where SA batsman struggling to score runs. If they come india, Indian batsman will destroy their bowling. Well done India. Pathan should be there in the team XI even sachin shewag gambhir returns. He is the best hitter india have currently

  • santi77 on January 19, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    india were little fortunate yday with the catches from pathan,bhaji and zaheer dropped.but kudos for team india for showing the fighting spirits and coming through in the last 2 matches.

  • Nadeem1976 on January 19, 2011, 6:57 GMT

    SA will remain SA. from 1992 to 2011 big time chockers. Never take a catch when needed, never get tailenders wickets when needed.

    How long some body can wait to see SA win WC. I think if they keep on doing the same think they will not win WC in 50 years.

    Perform for country guys.

  • on January 19, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    I think Smith was wrong in his Captaincy yesterday. I mean when he required his top most bowlers to bowl, he had all their overs consumed and he had no choice but to give bowling to Botha rather then to Steyn Morkell or Tsot. But any ways Indian team is not doing too well either. Talk about Rohit Sharma - How many more chances he needs to perform decently well? I Dont think he can play well EVER. Murali Vijay - I can only laugh on him and now I feel pity on him as to why is he playing Cricket at all. But then I laugh on myself when I see the money he fetched from IPL Auction. Yuvraj Sing - When Will he get his form back? I dont think soon. Sachin, Sehwag,Gambhir and Praven Kumar - Guys can u not live without getting injured?

  • MasterClass on January 19, 2011, 6:52 GMT

    Smith rueing missed opportunities seems to be the theme of this series! I can remember at least 4 matches with the same or similar headlines or comments from Smith. Well let's see if this story continues for the remaining 2 matches as well LOL!

  • on January 19, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    It is good to clinch cliff-hangers but it will be mighty if we have planned progressive calculated victories time and again. It will have a lasting authoritative Indian impact on the game. Start dominating Guys! We all love you and want to see you there always.

  • AsherCA on January 19, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    While India were batting, alongwith 2 dropped catches, unlike traditional SA, there were a few misfields that cost them at least 10 / 12 runs. Who knows what would have happened if SA had stopped those.

  • on January 19, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Nice to see Men In Blue not loosing confidence and hope in the moment of nowhere. They stay on the edge and wait for their chances. I love this. :)

    Rohit should be well prepared and should look at all sort of balls he got beaten. May be this would be the cause he has been out of squad 4 WC. He seems to be nervous at the moment he loose some balls.

  • MasterClass on January 19, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    An under-strength India is beating a full-strength SA (minus Kallis )and clearly showing why India is or should be #1 in both formats!

  • Ragavan_AS on January 19, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    When South Africa sense that the World cup is around, they start choking..the same biting bug

  • on January 19, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Yusuf reminds me of Vivian Richards of my childhood days..

  • HarryKunju on January 19, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Great Maan, as Viv Richards would say, about Yousef Pathan. What a gem of an innings he played and it is so comforting to know that he is part of the Indian World Cup squad. I wouldn't be surprised, if India wins the series 4-0 or 3-2. This would be a fantastic SA series for the first time - Test series Drawn, T-20 series - won and ODI series - Won.

  • gslams on January 19, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    "The margins have been so small in the last two games, we could easily be 2-1 up or 3-0 up"

    I have one comment for Graeme Smith , it may be a cliche but he needs to remind himself that those listening to him will think "if wishes were horses beggars could ride"

  • sudhs_107 on January 19, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    I think SA should play Imran Tahir instead of Parnel/Botha/Tsotsobe and India should include Ashwin/Chawla instead of Ashish Nehra in next two matches..

  • Aussie_Mike on January 19, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    This series (both Test and ODIs) has proven another point that SA depends more heavily on Kallis than Ind depends on Tendulkar.

  • kumar_cric11 on January 19, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    To all Anti Indian supporters _ Think what will happen if Morkel/Steyn bowling against the SA batsmen? They will bundle out for 100 runs so stop all your comments against Indian team and look at your own team.India is winning with average bowling and fielding itself. CONGRATS To MSD & INDIAN TEAM.

  • indianzen on January 19, 2011, 5:29 GMT

    Britans to Ashes equals India to this series... India will win the cup for sure.. We are tigers in India and Lions outside India... Grrrrrrrrrhhhhhh...

  • on January 19, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    It is good to clinch cliff-hangers but it will be mighty if we have planned progressive calculated victories time and again. It will have a lasting authoritative Indian impact on the game. Start dominating Guys! We all love you and want to see you there always.

  • on January 19, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Smith may think of 5-0 up even after loosing 4-1. Great captain. He has no praise to Indians, while Indian cheered for Faff du Plessis. Good sprit.

  • Nikeyboy9 on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Chak De India South Africa need to inprove Go Yusuf

  • Sagay-Ed on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    South Africans gave more importance for getting wickets and dived for taking catches(3 or 4 times), but those resulted in boundaries. They could have avoided that. But tremendous hitting by Yousuf Pathan and a match saving performance from the tailenders, especially Harbhajan. Superb Bhajji and Yousuf. Keep it going.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    SA are living up to their tag of chokers yet again. What we saw in this game is a scary reminder to all South African fans that playing at home is one thing and playing away in a world cup is a whole new ball game. Come to think of it India have beaten them twice in a row and can win the 4th game to clinch the series. If that happens, Smith will be devastated and that's not an ideal way to head to the sub-continent. Well done India !!! and well done Yusuf !!

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    nice to this smith saying "congratulations to india, they played well" at the end of the presentation:-) i think he has come a long way from the uncalled comments he made during the first test to yesterday...

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    nice to this smith saying "congratulations to india, they played well" at the end of the presentation:-) i think he has come a long way from the uncalled comments he made during the first test to yesterday...

  • Razor88 on January 19, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Small Mistake Cricinfo Plz change - 2nd para Last Line : "19 overs(Runs) in our last six overs." Turning Out to be an Awesome Contest.Wow! Faf Well Played,Looking forward for IPL In which u are Playin for My Franchise :B.

  • cric-procrastinator on January 19, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Missing 4 front line world cup squad members(Sehwag, Gautam, Sachin and Praveen) India still wins whereas South Africa has there entire team missing only Jack Kallis. This should explain why India is the Number # 1 ranked team in test and #2 ranked team in ODI. Its just a matter of time before India would be number 1 in both test and ODI. South Africa think tank and especially Smith would better serve there country by playing proper cricket rather than indulging in the stupid mind games. These winns by a depleted India in south africa in harsh conditions have gone a long way in cementing India numero uno position.

  • LittleFinger on January 19, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    This SA team managed to have a batting tail as well as a bowling tail. Smith got 30 good overs out of Steyn, Morne and Lopsy. And that was that. If de Plessis had a more typical debut with the bat, rather than the strong one he did, this could have been a one-sided game.

    I finally understand why Dhoni sticks with 4 bowlers, never experimenting with 5. Especially in the sub-continent, where everyone is going to get hit, it makes sense to stick with the 4 bowlers policy. Bhajji and Zak can hopefully deliver with the bat too when the need arises, like they did today. The Indian squad is looking settled. Too bad that Kohli will probably stay out of the playing XI. On current form and confidence, I would drop Raina to make room for Kohli. Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Pathan, Dhoni, Bhajji, Zak, Praveen and Nehra/Munaf will make a competitive XI for India at the WC. Munaf looks the better bowler currently. India should play both in the practice games and sort it out.

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan is our new "Master- Blaster"........What a suberb innings to watch....congrats team India ,once again....Rock onn guys

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    Yusuf Pathan is our new "Master- Blaster"........What a suberb innings to watch....congrats team India ,once again....Rock onn guys

  • LittleFinger on January 19, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    This SA team managed to have a batting tail as well as a bowling tail. Smith got 30 good overs out of Steyn, Morne and Lopsy. And that was that. If de Plessis had a more typical debut with the bat, rather than the strong one he did, this could have been a one-sided game.

    I finally understand why Dhoni sticks with 4 bowlers, never experimenting with 5. Especially in the sub-continent, where everyone is going to get hit, it makes sense to stick with the 4 bowlers policy. Bhajji and Zak can hopefully deliver with the bat too when the need arises, like they did today. The Indian squad is looking settled. Too bad that Kohli will probably stay out of the playing XI. On current form and confidence, I would drop Raina to make room for Kohli. Sehwag, Sachin, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Pathan, Dhoni, Bhajji, Zak, Praveen and Nehra/Munaf will make a competitive XI for India at the WC. Munaf looks the better bowler currently. India should play both in the practice games and sort it out.

  • cric-procrastinator on January 19, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Missing 4 front line world cup squad members(Sehwag, Gautam, Sachin and Praveen) India still wins whereas South Africa has there entire team missing only Jack Kallis. This should explain why India is the Number # 1 ranked team in test and #2 ranked team in ODI. Its just a matter of time before India would be number 1 in both test and ODI. South Africa think tank and especially Smith would better serve there country by playing proper cricket rather than indulging in the stupid mind games. These winns by a depleted India in south africa in harsh conditions have gone a long way in cementing India numero uno position.

  • Razor88 on January 19, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    Small Mistake Cricinfo Plz change - 2nd para Last Line : "19 overs(Runs) in our last six overs." Turning Out to be an Awesome Contest.Wow! Faf Well Played,Looking forward for IPL In which u are Playin for My Franchise :B.

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    nice to this smith saying "congratulations to india, they played well" at the end of the presentation:-) i think he has come a long way from the uncalled comments he made during the first test to yesterday...

  • on January 19, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    nice to this smith saying "congratulations to india, they played well" at the end of the presentation:-) i think he has come a long way from the uncalled comments he made during the first test to yesterday...

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    SA are living up to their tag of chokers yet again. What we saw in this game is a scary reminder to all South African fans that playing at home is one thing and playing away in a world cup is a whole new ball game. Come to think of it India have beaten them twice in a row and can win the 4th game to clinch the series. If that happens, Smith will be devastated and that's not an ideal way to head to the sub-continent. Well done India !!! and well done Yusuf !!

  • Sagay-Ed on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    South Africans gave more importance for getting wickets and dived for taking catches(3 or 4 times), but those resulted in boundaries. They could have avoided that. But tremendous hitting by Yousuf Pathan and a match saving performance from the tailenders, especially Harbhajan. Superb Bhajji and Yousuf. Keep it going.

  • Nikeyboy9 on January 19, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Chak De India South Africa need to inprove Go Yusuf

  • on January 19, 2011, 5:25 GMT

    Smith may think of 5-0 up even after loosing 4-1. Great captain. He has no praise to Indians, while Indian cheered for Faff du Plessis. Good sprit.