India 76 South Africa 223-4: Steyn sends embarrassed India tumbling to 76 all out

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The Independent Online

South Africa's Dale Steyn questioned India's decision to bat first after his five-wicket haul helped dismiss the hosts for just 76 on the first day of the second Test yesterday in Ahmedabad.

Steyn picked up his eighth five-wicket haul including the scalps of first Test triple centurion Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid as India were dismissed in 20 overs on a green strip. At stumps, with Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers unbeaten on 60 and 59 respectively, the visitors had a lead of 147.

"I was surprised," Steyn said. "I haven't played too much in the subcontinent, especially in India, [but] I've never seen a pitch like this, with so much grass. Maybe it played into our hands.

"From what I read in the papers there was a bit of an argument between the curator and the captain of the Indians. They probably didn't get what they wanted. If they didn't get what they wanted then you have to ask the question: 'Why did they bat first?' It probably scared the Indians once one or two wickets fell and the ball seemed to be moving around."

Steyn, who finished with 5 for 23, picked out his dismissal of Dravid as the highlight, with a quicker delivery that straightened before hitting the stumps.

"Yes, that was probably the best ball. Hopefully I can deliver a few more of those in the second innings," the 24-year-old said.

India's Harbhajan Singh, who took three of the four South African wickets to fall yesterday, urged the home board to demand pitches suited to his side's strong spin department. "The Indian team's strength is spin. No doubt we have good young fast bowlers but until today all the matches we have won in India is because of our strength and that is spin bowling." he said.