S. Dinakar

Durban:Makhaya Ntini, with his speed, bounce and wide of the crease release, and the much slower Shaun Pollock, with his straightness and twoway cut, make a fascinating new ball combination. The batsmen have to grapple with different lengths, different speeds, and different angles.

And the two are followed by the incisive Charl Langeveldt and the fiery Andre Nel. The South African pacemen hounded the Indians in the second MTN ODI at Kingsmead on Wednesday. India, chasing 249, was 62 for four in 16 overs.

Trouble

Earlier, Jacques Kallis's unbeaten 160-ball 119 enabled the host recover, both, at the early and the later stages of the innings. He combined aggression with judicious strokeplay, strung together partnerships. The Indians ran into trouble under lights and a cloud cover; the South Africans, for most part, batted under bright sunshine.

Wasim Jaffer committed the folly of playing away from the body and dragged a measured Pollock delivery on to his stumps. Mohammed Kaif, who saw an Ntini scorcher whistle past his right ear, eventually sliced Pollock into a leaping Herschelle Gibbs's hands at point.

Rahul Dravid's defence was breached by a sizzling incoming ball from Langeveldt. Sachin Tendulkar (35) essayed a few sparkling strokes before being castled by a speedy Nel delivery.

Flair

A combination of flair and substance enabled Jacques Kallis construct a hundred in a situation when the side required runs from its senior batsman.

Kallis's 160-ball unbeaten 119, his 14th ODI hundred and first against India, took South Africa to a competitive 248 for eight.

Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel jolted the host early, but the reliable Kallis was rock-like in the South African innings. The pacemen came back strongly in the end overs, but Kallis's stability and a cameo from Andre Nel took the initiative away from India.

Given that the ball, assisted by sea breeze and humidity, tends to swing more in the second session of a day/night contest, Smith, predictably, put his pads on.

The Indian team composition made interesting reading. The inclusion of Dinesh Mongia as the seventh batsman meant two things _ India was not going in with five bowlers and there would be no place for Irfan Pathan.

Since Virender Sehwag's sore ring finger had not yet healed sufficiently, Wasim Jaffer made his ODI debut. The game also marked maestro Sachin Tendulkar's world record 371st ODI cap, overtaking Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya.

The teams observed a minute's silence to mourn the death of former South African cricketer Anthony Pithey.

Colourful crowd

When the contest got under-way at this sparking before a colourful crowd with a sizable sprinkling of fans of Indian origin, the visitor struck sooner than later.

Zaheer Khan had a point to prove. The left-armer appeared fit and hungry and he was buzzing in the arena. Zaheer's bowling relies a lot on rhythm and his body and mind seemed in harmony as he ran in. He did not take too long to hit the right areas.

There was a fair amount of lateral movement for the pacemen, although the ball did not bounce as much as expected.

Munaf Patel shared the new ball with Zaheer but it was the latter, who made things happen. Zaheer almost scalped the free-stroking Loots Bosman, who edged one just short of Rahul Dravid at second slip. The crafty left-armer got his man soon though, getting a delivery to straighten into the righthander from over the wicket.

Acrobatic effort

Munaf replaced Zaheer from the press box end and immediately removed dangerman Herschelle Gibbs. The right-hander attempted to steer an away going delivery and M.S. Dhoni produced an acrobatic effort to hold the nick.

In some bother at 63 for three, the South Africans recovered through an entertaining 87-run stand for the fourth wicket off 112 balls between Kallis and Abraham de Villiers (41, 47b, 3x4, 1x6). Tendulkar, with his assorted spin, sent down a tidy spell in the middle overs. However, India struggled to strike.

SCOREBOARD

South Africa: G. Smith lbw b Zaheer 1, L. Bosman lbw b Zaheer 22, J. Kallis (not out) 119, H. Gibbs c Dhoni b Munaf 2, A.B. de Villiers st. Dhoni b Mongia 41, M. Boucher c Zaheer b Munaf 23, J. Kemp c Dhoni b Agarkar 8, S. Pollock c Tendulkar b Agarkar 0, A. Nel (run out) 22, Extras (lb-1, w-9) 10; Total (for eight wkts. in 50 overs) 248.

Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Smith), 2-47 (Bosman), 3-63 (Gibbs), 4-150 (de Villiers), 5-196 (Boucher), 6-209 (Kemp), 7-209 (Pollock), 8-248 (Nel).

India bowling: Munaf 10-2-39-2, Zaheer 8-0-53-2, Agarkar 9-1-47-2, Tendulkar 9-1-33-0, Harbhajan 10-0-59-0, Mongia 4-0-16-1.

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INDIA LOSES

DURBAN: Chasing 249 for victory, India was all out 91 in 29.1 overs. Andre Nel scalped four wickets, while Kallis claimed three.

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