South Africa pacemen rattle India
NAGPUR: Dale Steyn picked two quick wickets to derail India''s reply on the third day of the first Test against South Africa on Monday.
The express paceman got rid of Sachin Tendulkar and Murali Vijay while Morne Morkel (1-31) dismissed Gautam Gambhir to reduce the hosts to 119-3 at lunch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association stadium in Nagpur.
Aggressive opener Virender Sehwag tried to repair the damage, completing his 22nd Test half-century off 70 balls with seven fours.
At the break, Sehwag was batting on 63 with debutant Subramaniam Badrinath (21), India trailing the visitors by 439 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Replying to South Africa''s first innings 558-6 declared, India were off to a disastrous start, losing their three top-order wickets inside the first hour.
Gambhir (12), coming into the series with eight centuries in his last 11 Tests, was out off the first ball that he faced when he was caught by wicketkeeper Mark Boucher after poking at an away-going delivery.
Vijay (four), playing only his fourth Test, was surprised by a searing delivery from Steyn (2-32) that moved in off the seam to clip his off-stump.
Steyn struck again within five overs when he had Tendulkar caught by Boucher. Tendulkar (seven) tried to drive but ended up offering an outside edge.
Sehwag carried on in his characteristic fashion, a one-handed square drive off Morkel being the pick of his shots.
The second and final Test between the world''s top two teams begins in Kolkata on February 14.
South Africa can snatch back the number one Test ranking from India if they win the series while the hosts need just a draw to remain on top.