Durban: Fast bowler Dale Steyn struck four times as India's hopes of squaring their Test series against South Africa suffered a blow on the first day of the second Test at Kingsmead on Sunday. India were 183 for six when bad light stopped play 16 minutes after tea.
Steyn had figures of four for 36 as he took advantage of overcast conditions and a bouncy pitch after India, for the second successive match, were sent in after rain delayed the start of play.
Steyn gave South African supporters a scare when he pulled up while running in for his first ball after tea. He had to leave the field for what an official described as cramp in the groin area. But he was back minutes later and was set to bowl again when the umpires took the players off for the day.
Needing a victory to keep alive hopes of overall success in the three-match series, the visitors showed more fight than they did when they were bowled out for 136 in the first innings of the first Test at Centurion, where they were beaten by an innings and 25 runs.
But they were once again in deep trouble after losing the toss. With the exception of Steyn, however, the South African bowlers did not take full advantage of helpful conditions.
Steyn posed a consistent threat, bowling at a lively pace and swinging the ball away from the batsmen. He dismissed both openers, Virender Sehwag (25) and Murali Vijay (19), in a spell of two for 19 in eight overs before lunch and added the wickets of Rahul Dravid (25) and the dangerous VVS Laxman (38) during the afternoon.
Left-armer Lonwabo Tsotsobe claimed the key wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, who was caught at second slip for 13 in the first over after lunch. Tsotsobe struck again shortly before tea, again in the first over of a spell, when Cheteshwar Pujara (19) top-edged an attempted hook to give wicketkeeper Mark Boucher an easy catch.
Tsotsobe also held a sensational catch to dismiss Laxman, the most impressive of the Indian batsmen. Laxman, who had greeted Steyn at the start of his afternoon spell with a sumptuous straight drive for four and an effortless hook for six, pulled a short ball from Steyn. It seemed destined for the boundary at wide mid-on but Tsotsobe dived to his right and held the ball one-handed to the obvious astonishment of the batsman.
While South Africa kept faith in the victorious first Test team, India made three changes with Vijay, Pujara and Zaheer Khan coming in for Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina and Jaidev Unadkat.
A hand injury ruled out Gambhir, Raina paid the price for scoring just one and five in Centurion, and the demotion of Unadkat was inevitable once fellow left-armer pace bowler Khan recovered from a hamstring injury.
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