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India brought back to earth at Eden

South Africa crushed India by 10 wickets in the fourth ODI at Eden. Green tops still India's bane?

india Updated: Nov 26, 2005 11:38 IST

Pummelled by Pollock before being smothered by Smith, that was the story of the fourth One-day International. The Eden started disbanding long before Graeme Smith hit the winning runs for a 10-wicket victory, having cheered the Proteas on realising that an Indian humiliation was inevitable.

And they didn't forget to mention that in another part of the country, Sourav Ganguly alone scored a little less than the 188 managed by 10 Indian batsman on the same day. Traditionally, the Eden is known to appreciate good cricket but the element of glee evident wasn't quite in sync with such spirit.

A bad Friday was made worse by a terrible Thursday when Greg Chappell was caught on camera making an obscene gesture, an incident which can snowball into a major crisis. That and an abject surrender sure pegs back a team which, riding on the winds of change, looked to have turned the corner.

Smith's only century against India was also the highest anyone has scored in an ODI at the Eden and he is now one step away from becoming the first South African skipper to make history. Rahul Dravid's boys will need some magic at the Wankhede on Monday to prevent this young bunch of South Africans from becoming the first to win a one-day series here.

The closest India came to making a match of it after a total batting malfunction was in the 12th and 13th overs. Harbhajan Singh's first ball took an edge from Smith but fell short of Dravid at slip. Next over, Andrew Hall slashed RP Singh and a diving Yuvraj Singh managed only to get a hand.

For the rest of the South African innings, there was no disputing who was in charge. If there was a devil in the wicket, it had gone to sleep after dinner. Smith's 134 came off 124 balls and had 20 fours and one six, off Harbhajan Singh.

Andrew Hall provided the right foil for his captain. This was after Shaun Pollock made India chase crooked shadows for most of the afternoon. By dinner-time, the home team's goose looked well and truly cooked even though Makhaya Ntini couldn't play because of a viral infection.

First Published: Nov 26, 2005 02:26 IST