India put up yet another dismal batting display, in seam-friendly conditions, and suffered a humiliating 134-run defeat in the second One-Day International against South Africa, in Durban, on Sunday.
The result enabled the hosts clinch the three-match series 2-0, with the third game to be played in Centurion on Wednesday.
The visitors were humbled by 141 runs in the opening match at the New Wanderers ground on Thursday.
The hosts rode on their two openers, Quinton de Kock (106) and Hashim Amla (100), to pile up 280 for 6 in the allotted 49 overs -- the match was reduced due to wet outfield -- before bundling out the hapless visitors for 146 in 35.1 overs, on a gloomy day at the Kingsmead.
The famed Indian batting, which was in tremendous form in sub-continental conditions, found the going tough against the South African pacemen, who tested them with pace and bounce.
Suresh Raina (36) was the only batsman to show a bit of resistance, even as the rest surrendered meekly.
Facing a tricky target, the Indian top order melted in the wake of superior fast bowling from Dale Steyn and nagging line-length by Lonwabo Tsotsobe. This was after de Kock and Amla shared an opening stand worth 194 runs.
Amla, in the process, crossed the 4000-run mark in ODIs, the quickest to do so in 81 matches, beating Sir Vivian Richards's marker of 88 ODIs.
Steyn again unleashed great pace on the Indian top-order, peppering Shikhar Dhawan and later Virat Kohli. The former was first to fall, in the second over; he went after a delivery just outside off-stump and was out caught at point. He fell for a duck, facing only two balls.
Thereafter, Steyn welcomed Kohli to the crease with a sharp bouncer. India's vice-captain did not last long enough to give a proper response. He edged Tsotsobe to the keeper while trying to guide a delivery to third man. The ball moved away just a touch at the last minute, enough to kiss the open face of his bat. Kohli returned to the pavilion for a duck.
Indian hopes pretty much faded with his departure.
Ajinkya Rahane, who came into the side in place of Yuvraj Singh (suffering from a back spasm) and tried to rebuild the innings with Rohit Sharma. He looked relatively comfortable against Morne Morkel, who was introduced into the attack in place of Steyn. At the other end, Rohit too got off to a start, unlike in Johannesburg, and scored 19 runs off 26 balls.
He hit two boundaries, the second of them a crisp slash past point. Two balls later, he pulled one off the same bowler, only for Amla to take a stunning catch at short mid-wicket. Within five runs of each other, in a space of six deliveries, Rahane was gone as well, chasing a wide delivery off Morkel and getting a faint edge. He scored eight runs off 17 balls, with a solitary four, even as the Indian top-order collapsed again, reduced to 34 for four.
The match was as good as over, except for an improbable comeback by the remaining batsmen. Skipper MS Dhoni and Raina started with promise, but the wind blew away those hopes soon enough. The rain clouds started gathering and South Africa got through their overs very quickly, in order to get the 20-over stipulation under D/L method done.
In that time, Dhoni and Raina put together 40 runs, when Vernon Philander (in for Wayne Parnell), induced a thick outside edge and de Kock pulled off a stunning catch, going to his right. Dhoni was out for 19 runs off 31 deliveries, and any fight from the batting was effectively over.
Raina continued to knock the ball around, and ran up a score of 36 runs. He faced 50 delivers, and hit three fours. He was dismissed off another brilliant catch. He made room for a slap-cut shot off Morkel, only to see Miller pull the ball out of thin air and send him on his way.
Ravindra Jadeja (26) and Ashwin (15) played around for a bit before Steyn came back to rock the tail. He snapped up Ashwin and bowled Umesh Yadav (1), while Tsotsobe accounted for Jadeja and Mohammad Shami (8) to wrap up the proceedings.
Tsotsobe finished with 4-25 from 7.1 overs, while Steyn snapped 3-17. Morkel (2-34) and Philander (1-20) were the other wicket-takers.
Earlier, South Africa's in-form opening pair of De Kock and Amla each knocked up hundreds.
It was de Kock's second successive century after his big ton in the first game. In doing so, they put on an opening stand worth 194 runs. However,the hosts faltered in their last 15 overs, before Vernon Philander and Ryan McLaren smashed 20 runs in the innings' 49th and final over to raise the score.
McLaren (12) hit the lone six of this innings, in the 49th over, and then watched from the other end, as Philander (14) smacked three fours off the last three balls. Their 25-run partnership off just eight balls helped the side reach 280 for 6, as Yadav gave away 20 runs in that final over.
Among the bowlers, Shami again had a good match, adding another three-wicket tally to his name after Johannesburg. His figures of 3-48 from eight overs stood out, even as the rest of the attack bore a more sensible look, thanks to their tight effort in the death overs.
Jadeja finished with 1-49 from his 10 overs, while Ashwin returned 1-48 from nine. Raina (0-32) went wicketless in his six overs, as did Kohli (0-17) in his three. Yadav (6-0-45-0) and Ishant Sharma (7-0-38-0) rounded up an overall better bowling performance than the first ODI.
Image: South Africa's Quinton de Kock celebrates his century even as Hashim Amla looks on during the second one-dayer against South Africa in Durban in Sunday.
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images