Cricket: `Pathetic' India need to improve pitches

South Africa 235 and 259 India 100 and 66 South Africa win by 328 runs
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The Independent Online
The former Indian Test captain Dilip Vengsarkar said his country had batted pathetically in their crushing first-Test defeat against South Africa in Durban.

Vengsarkar, who led India in 10 Tests, lambasted the side who were routed for 100 and 66 in their two innings and beaten by 328 runs on Saturday with two full days to spare in the first Test of a three-match series.

"It was quite pathetic. I felt embarrassed witnessing the way we buckled to a team who do not possess fast bowlers like the West Indies and Australia did when I played Test cricket," Vengsarkar said.

"When we faced Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft of the West Indies, and Australians like Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, the Indian Test side never buckled under the pressure. We didn't win many Test matches against those teams but we never really capitulated against them."

Vengsarkar said the time had come for India to prepare different Test pitches at home to improve batting quality. "How can you be a top Test- playing nation if the (Indian) Board continually prepares dusty spinners' wickets for our home series in the sub-continent?"

Allan Donald, who took 5 for 40 in India's first innings, rocked the Indian top order on the third day with a hostile opening spell of 3 for 10 in six overs. Generating pace on a pitch still offering plenty of bounce, the 30-year-old finished with second-innings figures of 4 for 14 as India were bowled out in 34.1 overs for their joint fourth-lowest Test total.

Third day; India won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 235 (A C Hudson 80; B K V Prasad 5-60)

INDIA - First Innings 100 (A A Donald 5-40).

SOUTH AFRICA - Second Innings

(Friday: 164 for 4)

*W J Cronje c Mongia b Prasad 17

H H Gibbs lbw b Srinath 25

B M McMillan not out 51

S M Pollock c Rathore b Prasad 2

D J Richardson b Srinath 4

L Klusener c Mongia b Srinath 4

A A Donald c Rathore b Prasad 26

Extras (b7 lb6 nb5) 18

Total (71 overs) 259

Fall (cont): 5-164 6-164 7-171 8-181 9-185.

Bowling: Srinath 23-5-80-3; Prasad 25-4-93-5; Johnson 9-1-39-0; Kumble 11-3-26-2, Ganguly 2-0-8-0.

INDIA - Second Innings

V C Rathore c Richardson b Donald 2

W V Raman b Donald 1

S Ganguly b Donald 0

*S R Tendulkar c Kirsten b Pollock 4

M Azharuddin c Klusener b Pollock 8

R S Dravid not out 27

N R Mongia c Cronje b Kumble 4

A Kumble c Hudson b Klusener 2

J Srinath run out 7

D Johnson c Klusener b Pollock 5

B K V Prasad c Hudson b Donald 1

Extras (lb2 nb3) 5

Total (34.1 overs) 66

Fall: 1-2 2-2 3-7 4-15 5-20 6-25 7-40 8-51 9-59.

Bowling: Donald 11.1-4-14-4; Pollock 12-4-25-3; Klusener 9-2-16-2; McMillan 2-0-9-0.

Umpires: D Orchard (SA) and S Dunn (NZ).

Second Test: 2 to 6 January (Newlands). Third and final Test: 16 to 20 January (The Wanderers).

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