South Africa steadies against India

NAGPUR: Jacques Kallis posted an unbeaten half-century as South Africa recovered from two early shocks to reach 90-2 at lunch Saturday on the first day of the opening test against India.

At lunch, Kallis was on 55 and Hasim Amla was on 24, having added 84 runs for the third wicket after South Africa was reduced to 6-2 by pace bowler Zaheer Khan (2-15).

Batting first after skipper Graeme Smith won the toss, South Africa conceded the initial advantage to the hosts as paceman Khan struck early to claim openers Ashwell Prince (0) and Smith (6).

Prince was the first to go, trying to evade a bouncer from Khan that lobbed off his gloves to Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the fifth over.

Khan claimed the prize wicket of Smith two overs later with a fine delivery that swung in sharply and dislodged the stumps.

Amla and Kallis denied further success to the home team, batting resolutely to remain unbeaten at lunch.

Kallis was the more aggressive of the pair, hitting six boundaries and a six from 81 balls.

An injury-stricken India picked rookie middle-order batsman Subramaniam Badrinath and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha.

They got the chance to make test debuts as V.V.S. Laxman was ruled out by a finger injury while Rohit Sharma twisted an ankle in the morning warmup. India had already ruled out Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and S.Sreesanth through injury.