Even as South Africa were halfway through their innings, Dale Steyn was heading for a quick lunch. A local official, who later narrated the incident, quipped from behind, "Dale, this (wicket) is slow."
The South Africa fast bowler turned around and said, "I'll be fine."
As South Africa laboured a bit in the end to reach 280, short of the 300-plus they had initially looked like getting, the talk was about India's chances of winning. It was considered India's best opportunity to get back into the series. The low bounce had fanned such hopes, which eventually proved outrageously optimistic.
Steyn was bang on target as he made one bounce a bit more than Shikhar Dhawan had expected, probably on the basis of what the India bowlers had extracted from the pitch. Dhawan's slash went straight to point.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe made Virat Kohli edge one to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and Rohit Sharma uppishly flicked the bowler to Hashim Amla at short mid-wicket. It was all over within a few overs. In between all of that, there were glares and stares from Steyn and a few words.That showed what the Proteas wanted — blood.
Bowling had always been a worry for India and for once it did well to rein in South Africa. The 280 is not something the bowlers can be proud of, but compared to their performances over the past few months, it was good. Still, even before India reached 50 they were four down and all hopes went down the drain.
The game, which started 90 minutes late, saw Dhoni elect to bowl, revealing his faith in the batting line-up to chase any total. It soon backfired as, for the second game in a row the bowlers had no clue how to get the openers out.Second ton
Man-of-the-match Quinton de Kock and local boy Hashim Amla put on 194, their second 150-plus partnership. De Kock, 20, got his second successive century while Amla finally got his first hundred at his home ground.
The duo became only the second opening pair to have partnerships of over 150 runs in successive ODIs. That says a lot about the impact Indian bowlers have had. Dhoni had brought in Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav hoping the bounce and pace they bring in would help. But the wicket proved just too slow.
Mohammed Shami and Ishant did force a couple of edges but that was it. It was only when the spinners came on did India manage to get a grip on the game but the last over from Umesh went for 20 runs. It left India looking at a stiff target. "I thought the bowlers bowled well but the execution from the batsmen was not good," rued Dhoni.
Only rain could have saved India, and for a while it looked like that would happen. South Africa ran through their overs to ensure the 20 overs needed to have a completed game.
Unfortunately, for India, the rains didn't come about.
Commentary, South Africa innings:
Commentary, India innings: