Opening notes: Indian bowlers get carried away by the 'carry'

Mohit SharmaMohit Sharma conceded 82 runs in his 10 overs (Reuters)

FOR starters, let's just ignore the last six overs of the South African innings. Despite the fact that 100 runs were scored off them, the third highest in an ODI pitting two Test teams since 2002.

The damage was done much earlier. In fact, from the time Mohit Sharma took his first leap of the day and bowled the opening over at the Wanderers. The Indians' scourge was a baby-faced assassin, donning a baby pink uniform. That is before a couple of seasoned bashers joined in the fun.

It began with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who landed here as the man to watch in the Indian pace attack.

His two-way swing expected to be accentuated in South Africa's more favourable climes. For that Kumar would have had to land it on the right length, which he failed to do for a majority of his nine expensive overs.

The tone was set in his first over, where he conceded two boundaries, one of a short, inviting delivery and the other a half volley, easily put away by Quinton De Kock. He continued to falter in terms of length, never allowing much chance for lateral movement. It wasn't until the third delivery of his fourth over that he managed to beat the bat.

Mohit was no different at the other end, repeatedly testing the centre of the wicket, except in the over where he almost had both South African openers out. Probably it was a case of the young new-ball duo getting excited by the carry in their first ODI in this part of the world. De Kock and Amla weren't complaining.

Mohammed Shami did breathe some fire into the attack, by giving the conditions their due. He was pacy and also pitched it on a length where he got the ball to seam, around 60 per cent of his deliveries landing on the perfect length during his first two spells-where he accounted for Amla and Jacques Kallis.

... contd.

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