South Africa A v India A, Tri-series, Pretoria August 12, 2013

'Dhawan butchered us' - Ontong

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"Highlights package" is how the South Africa A captain, Justin Ontong, described Shikhar Dhawan's record-breaking 248 in the final league game of the A team tri-series in Pretoria that put up an imposing target of 434 for the home side. Ontong said they were "butchered" by Dhawan's batting, but added they could have won the game had someone batted through during the chase.

"Dhawan summed up conditions quickly," Ontong said. "Every shot he hit found the gap or went over the fielders. It was like watching a highlights package. He hit so many good shots, it's hard to pick out one that stood out. There were a few sixes that went into the construction site.

"It was probably the best one-day innings I've seen. But I am also really proud of the boys. We showed some character when we were batting and if someone batted through, we could have won the game."

India A won the toss and were 161 for 1 at the halfway stage. But on a flat pitch and on a ground with short boundaries, Dhawan seamlessly switched gears to tear into the bowling, reaching his double century with just over 10 overs still left to play.

"There was nothing the bowlers could do," Ontong said. "They were bowling the lines and lengths they wanted to be bowling and he just hit them off those lines and lengths."

Ontong conceded that the South Africa players were left in despair by the innings, but coach Vincent Barnes reminded the team of the match when South Africa had successfully chased down Australia's 434 in Johannesburg.

"There was a bit of humour at the lunch break, because that's what you need in situations like that, " he said. "Some of the boys had their heads down but the coach, Vincent Barnes, came and said a few words. He told us that he was part of that 438 game and that if we put on partnerships we could get there."

South Africa came close to the target after opening batsman Reeza Hendricks and Vaughn van Jaarsveld scored centuries to keep the team interested till the last few overs.

"It was a flat wicket with nothing in it and for 80% of the time we chased really well. It's not every day you get two guys scoring a hundred and the team is still on the losing side, Actually, its not everyday you get four hundreds in a one-day match.

"Reeza and Vaughn scored two very special hundreds and our bowlers were exposed to international players of top quality. When you play ODI cricket, you will sometimes play on flat wickets, although this one was maybe a little flatter than you get elsewhere and the outfield was also very quick."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 14, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    great show by dhavan. is he going to be another Lara in making. hope he will pass this score on a flat bed and small grounds

    good show.wishing him good luck

  • naren1983 on August 13, 2013, 11:09 GMT

    Now its become the habit for Hosts to facilitate with flat tracks for A teams & warm-ups matches to visitors. So the real test is not conducted anywhere. Suddenly international matches played in green top and Indians seem tough to handle. The same is happening everywhere. All boards should sit and decide the pitches used for warm-ups and A teams. Then the quality and spirit will increase

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Some one is saying it was a flat wicket and should be investigated and some are saying since it was a flat wicket hence no big achievement for Dhawan... But out 100 only once we get to see matches like this whr both the teams scores nearly 400... isn't that good for cricket that once in a while we r entertained like this!! and let this be a flat wicket but scoring over 200 runs needs great deal of batsmanship.. there are many better batsmen who would hv played on similar wkt but hw many scored over 200 runs?? So hats off to Sikhar..well done..

  • espncricinfomobile on August 13, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    @cricketmaan does dis match come on tv? If which channel???

  • CricketMaan on August 13, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    Well done to both teams and to Shikar for the entertaiment. But SA is smart, they prepared a flat track and bowled ordinarily to deny any good workout for Dhawan and he wont get such conditions or bowling during the SA tour. But that is for another day, for now just enjoy the moment

  • SamRoy on August 13, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    @Nampally though I like your comments mostly I think I need to correct you here, this is not an ODI, this is a List A match between 'A' teams of SA and India.

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    well done saffers ! though u lost the match, u won the hearts. but what's the point preparing these belters of the track. so much demoralising for the bowlers. CSA should be penalised for this mayhem.

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    @ xylo - Like Indians dont know it, right? Of Course SA won't let Indian players prepare for SA tour. But off late in India we have developed venues where we can get similar conditions such as Jaipur, Mumbai and Dharamshala. So if India is serious about Test matches, they don't need to go SA to prepare, they can do it in India as well. Its all about how seriously India takes test matches.

    I heard they are arguing to make it a 2 tests and 7 ODIs series...that tells you the story. Sighhhhhhh!

  • dummy4fb on August 13, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    Dhawan's blitzkrieg augurs well for the Indian team's test tour to SA later on. It was only recently that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka had shown that if the new ball attack of Steyn, Philander and Morkel is dented for about 20 odd overs initially, things become a lot easier as the South Africans lack quality spinners(even if they had one, Indians would plunder him!!!) and are not adept at reverse swing. The likes of Younis Khan, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Sangakara, and Samaraweera reaped the benefits of the new ball being negated. It is only when they take early wickets that they can do real damage like bowling out the Aussies and Pakistanis for 40 -50 odd runs.Dhawan along with Vijay would therefore need to ensure that they stay there for 20odd overs.

  • jango_moh on August 13, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    @vidit solanki, this is the perfect time for dhawan to have come, he looked out of his depth when he first came into the indian team .....