South Africa crush sorry India

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The Independent Online

South Africa completed a comprehensive innings and six-run victory over India with a full day to spare in the first Test in Nagpur to go 1-0 up in the two-match series.

Following on after conceding a massive first-innings lead of 325, India were bowled out for 319 in their second knock despite a determined 100 from Sachin Tendulkar.

Spinner Paul Harris set up the victory with a three-wicket haul, including the wickets of Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, while Dale Steyn claimed two-tail end scalps to complete a match tally of 10 wickets.

It was India's first Test defeat since Dhoni was made captain more than two years ago and India now have to win the second game in Kolkata to retain their position at the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.

South Africa chipped away right through the day, despite a bright start from one-drop batsman Murali Vijay (32) and Tendulkar in the morning.

Tendulkar set the pace in that third-wicket stand which eventually yielded 72, slashing boundaries in consecutive overs off Steyn - the first past point and the other square on the leg side - and driving Harris for a boundary in his first over.

Vijay played the supporting role to perfection at the other end, but perished when he attempted a sweep against Harris' leg-stump line, skying a catch to Mornie Morkel who gleefully accepted on the square-leg boundary.

That dismissal brought debutant Subramaniam Badrinath to the crease, but the middle-order batsman, who had hit a half-century in the first innings, managed only six before he was dismissed by Wayne Parnell.

Dhoni then joined Tendulkar and the experienced duo gave India a glimmer of hope with a battling partnership worth 70, ensuring no further wickets before the lunch interval and carrying on nicely in the afternoon session.

Tendulkar, who was reprieved on 45 when Jacques Kallis failed to hold a low catch at first slip in the morning session, reached his 46th Test century off 177 deliveries with a single of Parnell.

But Harris, who had frustrated the pair with his line, struck almost immediately after, claiming the prize-scalp of Tendulkar with a bizarre dismissal.

Tendulkar attempted a sweep but missed, the ball deflecting off the thigh pad onto the arm and crashing onto the stumps.

The spinner then got Dhoni just before the tea interval, an inside edge onto the pad snapped up by AB de Villiers at silly point.

South Africa needed only four more wickets for victory at that stage with India still 116 runs behind.

The end could have been swift had an appeal for a catch at silly point against Wriddhiman Saha (36), the other debutant in the home side's line-up, been upheld.

The appeal was turned down and Saha held up one end as Harbhajan Singh chipped in with an entertaining cameo, whittling the lead down with a run-a-ball 39 against the second new ball.

Harbhajan was eventually trapped in front by Parnell, but the tail continued to offer resistance as Zaheer Khan (33) and Saha added 59 for the eighth wicket, taking India past the 300-run mark in the process.

But Zaheer mistimed a pull off Kallis and Steyn brought up victory by trapping Saha in front and bowling last man Ishant Sharma.

Steyn finished with match figures of 10 for 108 34.5 overs.