x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

India struggle to 183-6 on rain-shortened first day

Dale Steyn strikes with four wickets as India struggle to bat well in fast bowler-friendly conditions on a green pitch.

Lonwabo Tsotsobe, centre, reacts with teammates Graeme Smith, left, and Dale Steyn after taking a catch to dismiss VVS Laxman.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe, centre, reacts with teammates Graeme Smith, left, and Dale Steyn after taking a catch to dismiss VVS Laxman.

DURBAN // Dale Steyn took four wickets to reduce India to 183 for six at stumps on a shortened day one of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Sunday.

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was 20 not out and Harbhajan Singh 15 not out when the players left the field with the light fading only three overs into the final session on an overcast day in Durban. Play had been delayed by an hour due to rain in the morning.

Steyn removed openers Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay before lunch, and then claimed the crucial wickets of Rahul Dravid for 25 and top-scorer VVS Laxman for 38 in the second session as India battled in fast bowler-friendly conditions on a green pitch.

Left-arm paceman Lonwabo Tsotsobe had Sachin Tendulkar out for 13 in the first over after lunch to finish with 2-28. India lost 4-94 in the middle session.

Tendulkar, who struck three fours before lunch, edged a wide away-swinger from Tsotsobe to Jacques Kallis at second slip just five balls after lunch.

Dravid and Laxman combined for a 38-run partnership before Dravid gloved a delivery from Steyn to Mark Boucher for the wicketkeeper's 50th dismissal against India.

Laxman stroked four fours and a six over square leg for his 38 before sending a powerful pull shot off Steyn toward wide mid-on, where Tsotsobe thrust out his right hand and held on to a low catch to reduce India to 130 for five and give the bowler his fourth wicket.

In his second Test, Cheteshwar Pujara hit three fours but was also dropped at short leg and sent a thick edge over slips before finally falling to Tsotsobe shortly before tea, mishitting a hook shot straight up in the air to be caught by Boucher.

Dhoni and Harbhajan took India within sight of 200, with Harbhajan sending a scorching cut shot to the boundary off Morne Morkel two overs into the final session.

But umpires Steve Davis and Asad Rauf took the players off the field soon after with the light fading. Play was later called off with only 56 overs bowled.

South Africa won the toss on a Kingsmead pitch that offered pace, bounce and swing for its fast bowlers. However, Morkel and Tsotsobe struggled to support Steyn before lunch, with Sehwag hitting four fours in his 25 off 32 balls. Vijay, who was dropped twice off difficult chances in the slips, hit two fours in his 19 from 42 balls.

But Steyn then struck twice within two overs, Sehwag edging to Kallis and Vijay nicking one to Boucher.

The home team leads 1-0 in the three-match series after winning by an innings and 25 runs at Centurion in the first Test.

India made three changes to its team from Centurion, with Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and experienced fast bowler Zaheer Khan coming in for Gambhir, Suresh Raina and Jaidev Unadkat.

South Africa retained the same team, with Hashim Amla playing his 50th Test at his home ground.

India 1st Innings
Virender Sehwag c Kallis b Steyn 25
Murali Vijay c Boucher b Steyn 19
Rahul Dravid c Boucher b Steyn 25
Sachin Tendulkar c Kallis b Tsotsobe 13
VVS Laxman c Tsotsobe b Steyn 38
Cheteshwar Pujara c Boucher b Tsotsobe 19
Mahendra Singh Dhoni not out 20
Harbhajan Singh not out 15
Extras: (1b, 2lb, 4w, 2nb) 9
TOTAL: (for six wickets, 53 overs) 168.
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-48, 3-79, 4-117, 5-130, 6-156.
Still to bat: Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.
Bowling: Dale Steyn 14-3-36-4, Morne Morkel 15-2-60-0 (2nb), Lonwabo Tsotsobe 11-3-40-2 (1w), Jacques Kallis 8-2-18-0 (1w), Paul Harris 8-1-26-0.