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Kallis guides South Africa to victory
June 26, 2007 19:46 IST
Last Updated: June 27, 2007 00:19 IST
Sachin Tendulkar's [Images] valiant 99-run knock was in vain as a rock-solid Jacques Kallis [Images], a known Team India nemesis, led South Africa to a four-wicket victory in the first One-Day International in Belfast, Ireland, on Tuesday.
After Tendulkar (99) and Rahul Dravid [Images] (74) helped India post a modest total of 242 for 8 in their allotted 50 overs, South Africa overcame occasional hiccups to attain the target with three balls to spare.
Kallis was unbeaten on 91 as his team finished on 245 for 6 wickets in 49.3 overs.
The dashing all-rounder, who had earlier claimed two wickets and two catches, was adjudged man of the match.
Chasing 243 for victory, openers AB de Villiers (24) and Morne van Wyk (44) did not set the park afire but did give South Africa a decent start, putting together a half-century stand in 12 overs.
R P Singh drew the first blood for India, inducing an edge from de Villers, and an airborne Karthik took a spectacular catch, diving on his right.
Piyush Chawla then came up with a two-wicket burst � van Wyk was beaten by the turn and Herschelle Gibbs [Images] (5) was flummoxed by a straight one that beat his bat and hit the stumps.
Not to be left behind, Ramesh Powar scalped Jean-Paul Duminy (11), and Zaheer, in his second spell, trapped Mark Boucher [Images] (23) to leave South Africa on 165 with its top half back in the pavilion.
Kallis, however, stood like a rock at the other end, unfazed by the series of setbacks. He saw through the Indian spin attack and went on to produce a cultured, unbeaten 116-ball knock that included six boundaries.
Piyush Chawla was pick of the Indian bowlers, claiming three wickets for 47 in ten overs.
Earlier, Tendulkar came tantalisingly close to his 42nd ODI century before falling just one run short. He was run out in tragic circumstances, but not before stitching a vital 158-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Rahul Dravid that propped the Indian innings.
Put in to bat in breezy and chilly conditions, the Indians, who till Monday were struggling to find eleven fit men for the game, ran into trouble straightaway with Andre Nel [Images] dealing a double blow by removing Sourav Ganguly [Images] (13) and Gautam Gambhir [Images] (0). That left India reeling on 36 for 2 inside 12 overs.
Though Tendulkar and Dravid did the repair job, they could not really accelerate the pace of scoring and were kept on a tight leash by the all-pace South African attack.
Yuvraj Singh [Images] (13 off 12 balls) and Dinesh Karthik (19 off 10) threw their bat at everything to step up the run-rate in the slog overs.
Both Tendulkar and Dravid took time to get their eyes in and paced their innings well as India inched towards the 200-run mark.
Tendulkar shrugged off his inertia, and once he had a hang of the things in the middle, drove with �lan and whipped anything hurled at his pads.
The Mumbai batsman straight drove Langeveldt for four in the 15th over in what was the shot of the innings.
Dravid was solid as ever and he ran hard between the wickets, while slashing hard at anything wide.
With India six runs away from the 200-mark, Nel was at it again, as he yorked Dravid to drop curtains on the Indian captain's 93-ball knock, which included six hits to the fence.
Two overs later, Tendulkar joined his captain in the pavilion, victim of his own misjudgment. Batting on 98, he hit Nel through cover and darted for a non-existent second run only to see Morve van Wyk's flat throw reaching Mark Boucher, who whipped off the bails with the batsman short of the crease.
It was a sad end to Tendulkar's sedate 143-ball knock which was studded with 12 fours.
Earlier, after Jacques Kallis inserted a depleted India, Tendulkar and Ganguly -- with 679 one-dayers and more than 25,000 ODI runs among them -- walked in to open, only to find that runs were not easy to come by.
It in fact could have been worse had Kallis not dropped a dolly at second slip after Ganguly edged the second ball of the innings off Makhaya Ntini [Images].
At the other end, Tendulkar was tied down and after a claustrophobic string of 16 dot balls, he opened his account with a boundary off Langeveldt in the sixth over.
After Ntini and Langeveldt had done their job well, putting both the openers in straitjacket, first change bowler Andre Hall dealt a double blow, by dismissing Ganguly and Gambhir.
A leaden-footed Ganguly perished, caught behind trying to reach for a drive, while Gambhir flashed at a wide delivery to allow Kallis grab a smart catch and atone for his previous goof-up.
With half the side down with cold and flu, India were almost forced to include two spinners -- Piyush Chawla and Ramesh Powar - while Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] was not fit enough to make it to the eleven.