India's worst fears came true in the tour opener against South Africa 'A' as its bowling and batting came apart from the seams here.
The tourists went down without a whimper by 37 runs yesterday against an opposition from whom only a couple have a realistic chance of representing them in the next World Cup.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn though did his chance no harm with a five-wicket haul, 5 for 22, his blistering pace and hostility proving too hot for the Indians. Since he bowled 10 extras, he actually conceded only 12 runs to Indians bats.
The final margin might appear closer but it was because South Africa pressed in service some irregular bowlers.
The visitors first leaked 68 runs from the final five overs - and 96 from the final 10 - to allow the hosts to recover to 255 and then themselves pulled the plank from under their feet to be 82 for 6 by the 23rd over.
With openers Wasim Jaffer and Sachin Tendulkar falling for only five runs each and the middle order of Suresh Raina and Dinesh Mongia departing for blobs, Indians were never in the contest despite captain Rahul Dravid being non-displaceable at the other end.
Dravid kept one end going for 79 runs for 99 balls but most of these runs came against the lesser bowlers in the attack.
The only cricketers who seemed to stay put with the Indian captain were Mohammad Kaif (30) and Irfan Pathan (34), the latter backing it up with a good performance up front with the ball and figures of one for 38 from his nine overs.
Dale Steyn was the bowling hero for the hosts as he accounted for Tendulkar and Jaffer in the space of three deliveries and then took the scalps of Mahinder Singh Dhoni (7) and Suresh Raina in his second spell.
Tendulkar essayed a hard cut straight to point while Jaffer edged one into the hands of second slip. Dhoni was frozen and pinned on his backfoot by a straight, sharp delivery and Raina was bounced out, the first delivery aimed at his rib cage which the left-hander duly popped up in the hands of forward short leg.
The local bowlers were clearly intent to let the Indians gain no sort of confidence.
Earlier, South Africa A progressed to 255 on the strength of its lower order batsmen, specifically Jacques Rudolph (72 not out) and Albie Morkel (63).
Munaf Patel and Sreesanth gave runs in excess of 60 from their 10 overs though it was redeemed a bit by good show from comeback seniors Anil Kumble (2 for 31) and Zaheer Khan (3 for 43) and of course Pathan.