Although their middle order made heavy weather of it, Jacques Rudolph's accomplished 76 set up South Africa `A"s five-wicket victory over India `A' in the first of two one-day internationals in Lenasia near Johannesburg on Thursday.

Chasing the tourists' 235 for eight, Rudolph and Loots Bosman laid a solid platform for the home side with a 106-run partnership for the first wicket in the first 23 overs of the innings. And after Bosman had gone for 44, Martin van Jaarsveld continued his impressive domestic form with 47 off just 44 balls.

But with just 48 needed off the last 10 overs, Gerald Dros and Gulam Bodi found the going suddenly a little more difficult before. Bodi was out for 21 in the last over of the innings with three still required for victory, but after receiving a wide off the first ball he faced, Justin Kemp hit Mohammad Kaif for six off the next delivery to put the matter beyond doubt. Dros ended unbeaten on 27.

Earlier, Yuvrav Singh and Jacob Martin had dug India after early trouble as Andre Nel struck three times in a fiery opening burst. The Indians were 32 for three at one point, before Kaif (40) and Singh added 54 for the fourth wicket.

When Kaif departed, trapped leg before by Justin Kemp, Martin joined Singh as 71 was put on for the fifth wicket in the most productive stand of the innings. Singh eventually holed out for 66 but Martin batted through to end unbeaten on 71 as India posted a target that should not have unduly bothered the South Africans on an easy-paced pitched.

Nel was the pick of the bowlers on show, finishing with four for 34 and he will hope to carry this form into the second match against the Indians on his home ground at Benoni on Monday.