Cricket World Cup 2015 : India vanquish South Africa, win by 130 runs

Shikhar Dhawan is the Man of the Match and he is very appreciative of Kohli and Rahane’s batting. India stay at the top of Pool A and extend their advantage. They will face UAE next on Saturday. But for now it is celebration time.

Over 41

OUT! THAT’S THE FINAL WICKET. Imran Tahir is out LBW. Plumb. South Africa all out for 177 and this is an easy win for India. 307 looked like a competitive score but SA made it look like a million. India batted, fielded and bowled well – AGAIN. India are actually playing like World Champions. They have laid waste to the Proteas by 130 runs and now may just be the team to beat in Pool B.

Dive in vain. A single to long off.

Ravi Jadeja comes on, and bowls a wide to begin.

Over 39

Another fiery short ball, Tahir ducks like he’s really scared. No run. SA 170/9 after 39 overs.

Another short ball, hooked, not in control, and SA settle for one.

Speedy short ball, Parnell wafts his bat at it, crowd ooohs, Dhoni collects, no run.

FOUR. Short ball, top shot from Parnell. He smacked that to the fence.

Mohammad Shami is back and he has been beautifully driven through the on side by Parnell. For two. Just that it’s too late.

Over 38

Everyone wants this to end quickly now. Top edge as Tahir is deceived in the flight, but it falls safe. SA 162/9.

Imran Tahir is trying to negotiate a few deliveries.

OUT. BOWLED. SA are finishing quickly in Melboune. Top spinner from Ashwin, Morkel goes for the big slog, misses and Ashwin connects with the stumps.

Over 37

Seven runs off the over, SA 161/8. 147 needed off 13 overs.

OUT. Short on off stump, tried to make room to cut, but Steyn can only pop it straight into the hands of cover point. SA 158/8 and Shami gets another.

Over 35

Two runs off five balls. Does it even make a difference now? Only a miracle will save SA. Two off the over. 156/7 after 35 overs.

South Africa have choked. Kind of.

Raina is into the attack. Exactly 50% of the runs have been scored. 7 wickets have been lost. 34 overs are gone.

Over 34

OUT. LBW? It was likely the arm ball, struck Philander right in front. The umpire accepted the appeal. SA ask for a review. The ball did not hit the bat but crashed into the front pad. OUT is the final decision.

OUT. Another run out. David Miller is run out and the celebrations have begun for India. Plays the ball towards long leg, tries to rush back for two. Throw is quick and Dhoni takes it right over the stumps, flicks the bails off. Replay shows Miller is just out. Out for 22. 152/6.

Over 33

Slow short ball to finish, just a single. Three off the over. Shami 6-0-18-1. SA 151/5 off 33 overs.

Shami is bowling a tight line to Wayne and keeping the ball good length. Two off five balls.

150 up for SA, under dire circumstances.

Low ball outside off, Wayne jabs it through the off side. SA want two. Miller flies back to his crease as the relay throw comes in from Dhoni. Ashwin knocks off the bails but Miller is home.

Mohammad Shami is back. Good bowling change from Dhoni.

Over 32

Five balls, no run, and then just a single off the last ball. SA 148/5 after 32 overs.

Wayne Parnell is in, a number too high at 7.

OUT! Now’s he’s gone! Turn, bounce for Ashwin, big edge from Duminy, and straight into Raina’s hands at first slip. SA slip big time. 147/5. JP 6 off 15.

Turn for Ashwin, Duminy misses, ball hits pad, loops up and India appeal.

Over 31

This time the theatrics pay off, SA restricted to just a single. Four off the over, 147/4.

Duminy steers towards third man. First slip dives theatrically to stop it, fails. SA get two.

Just a single off four balls as Sharma’s length is immaculate.

Mohit Sharma continues. This is SA’s last recognised batting duo. Next up is Wayne Parnell.

Over 30

Appeal for LBW, perhaps pitched outside leg. Nine off the over, SA 142/4 after 30 overs.

SA are milking Ashwin, who is conceding over six an over. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

FOUR. Bad ball from Ashwin and Miller sweeps it fine for four. That pitched outside leg and stayed outside. Deserved punishment.

Over 29

Single off the fifth ball. None off the sixth. One off the over and a wicket. 134/4 after 29 overs.

Two more dot balls. Two more for a wicket maiden.

Mohit Sharma is now charging in. India have come alive.

JP Duminy is the new batsman.

OUT! Faf has thrown it away! Charges down the track, makes room, and tries to clear mid off. But he cannot. 55 off 71. SA 133/4.

Mohit Sharma comes back. Mark Nicholas and Sourav Ganguly on commentary.

Over 28

Good fielding at mid on prevents a single. Last ball is played carefully by Miller and SA are 133/3 after 27 overs.

R Ashwin is still bowling. He concedes a single off the first two balls.

South Africans love left arm spinners. For example Miller averages 85 against them.

Over 26

Single off the last ball brings up Faf’s fifty off 65 balls. He was slow to start with but gained momentum later. SA need him to stay on. SA 121/3 after 26 overs.

Swept to the deep, Umesh dives and fields well to save one.

OH. Huge appeal for a catch, Miller missed, the ball hit the pad and Dhoni took a good catch. But the umpire declines and India don’t review.

Ashwin continues to Miller. SA have hit a roadblock here.

Over 25

Just two off the over. SA 115/3 after 25.

Five balls for just a single. India have got the big fish, now they must tighten screws.

Ravindra Jadeja continues. Miller advances and drives but can get just one.

Over 24

David Miller is still basking in the glory of IPL. He needs to make it big here. This is his chance. SA 113/3 after 24 overs.

Another direct hit, another appeal for a run out, from the whole stadium. But David Miller is clearly in.

Over 23

No run off the last ball, one run and a wicket. SA 108/3 after 23 overs.

OUT. Tragic end to a promising innings from AB de Villiers and India are ecstatic. Played through covers, AB is rushing back for the second, but the throw was good and Dhoni took off the bails quickly too. He knew it straight away. Replays show AB is gone. 108/3. AB made 30.

Jadeja bowls four dot balls in a row.

Over 22

FOUR. Edged, Faf was half into the shot, and the ball flies to third man for four. SA 107/2 after 22 overs.

FOUR. Slightly short and wide from Ashwin, Faf du Plessis lifts it over cover point for four.

Two dot balls after an easy couple off the first. But what India really need is a wicket.

A table shows that AB & Co fare much better against left arm spin than off spin. Hence Ashwin.

R Ashwin comes back into the attack.

Over 20

FOUR. Beautiful sweep from AB brings up the fifty run stand.

Four off five balls so far. Can India keep it down?

AB comes down, yorks himself but steers it to long on for a single.

Faf is down the track, Jadeja beats him in the flight, so Faf prods it away for one.

Over 19

FOUR. Faf gets lucky again. A rare good over from Yadav becomes an ordinary one. Down the track and the edge flies over the keeper. SA 84/2 after 19.

Three balls for no run, that’s rare from Yadav. In fact, the third ball hurries onto AB.

Yadav continues. SA have begun to find some rhythm now.

Over 18

Four off five balls in the over. Another single to finish. 79/2 after 18 overs.

Jadeja continues, but AB has started to milk him now. Three off the first two balls.

Over 17

FOUR. Now he’s unlucky. Faf has a huge swing of the arms, the ball takes the top edge and flies over Dhoni for four. SA 74/2 after 16 overs.

He tucks him up now…the ball comes in though Faf was expecting it to leave him. But sir, you have already conceded seven.

FOUR. Yadav bowls short even as Faf advances. Straight down the ground, and four to the right of long on.

Umesh Yadav steams in and concedes a couple by straying down leg side.

Over 16

Just two off the over anyway. SA 63/2 and it’s time for drinks.

Jadeja continues and Faf continues to struggle against him. AB though seems to have found a nerve. This could get dangerous very quickly.

Over 15

FOUR. Down the track, gets under the ball, biffs it through the off side for four. AB is back baby. 61/2 after 15 overs.

FOUR. Length ball, and AB plays a cross batted slog through midwicket for four. Hulk Smash mode?

AB has now defended three balls. Proteas are feeling the pressure.

Mohit Sharma continues running in. His run up is causing some upheaval on social media. It’s almost more popular than the match.

Over 14

Single to end the over and SA are 52/2 after 14 overs.

Ooooh…Faf tries to sweep again, the ball turns away and Faf misses.

By the way, Jadeja was introduced in the 12th over. SA’s 50 comes up. It’s been hard work.

Faf tries to sweep, gets hit on the pad, and India appeal wildly. But that was clearly missing off stump.

Over 13

Good shot down the ground but mid on blocks it. 49/2 after 13 overs.

Oh. Ball gets high on Faf, who takes his bottom hand off. It falls short of cover.

Inside edge, misses the stumps and AB manages a single.

Another short ball, similar hard shot and the fielder does well to stop it this time.

Short ball from Mohit, banged in hard and AB plays it down to short cover.

There is little to choose between India and SA on innings comparison except that SA have lost one more wicket. 45/1 vs 47/2.

Over 11

A few dot balls and SA are 42/2 at the end of the over.

The man – AB De Villiers – is in. He gets an easy single off the first ball.

OUT! Another short ball, this time the length was right, upto Amla’s chest, who hooks. The hook though lands into the hands of the man in the deep, who took a good catch running backwards. Amla made 22 in 28 balls. SA 40/2.

Short ball, slightly slow, and Faf pulls hard to midwicket for one.

Over 10

FOUR. Short, Amla uses all his strength to pull it over short mid wicket and into the fence for four. SA 38/1 after 10 overs.

Driven weakly through cover, Kohli misfields a simple take. India cannot afford that.

Replay shows Amla was finished if the throw had hit.

Shami is testing Amla. Short delivery, Amla ducks down, and it’s called one for the over. But then he follows it up with a wide.

Over 9

SA 30/1 after 9 overs

Oh. My. God. Amla played towards cover, the fielding was excellent, the throw was in and Amla was half way to the other end. But Dhoni was not near the stumps and the throw missed the stumps from a metre away.

Now Amla drives loosely through the covers but cannot beat the field. At the other end, Faf is on 4 off 17 balls.

Mohit Sharma continues, and gets flicked through the on side for two.

The Proteas showed some rare impatience in the previous over, yet managed just one run. Is the choke on?

Over 7

EDGED, and FOUR. There was no first slip or it would have carried straight into his hands. Lucky break for Amla, tragedy for Mohit. SA 26/1 after 7 overs.

Short, slower ball outside off, Plessis pulls for one.

du Plessis advances down the track, Mohit bowls short and into the batsman. Then he mock-aims at the batsman, Plessis hurries back into his crease.

India have done well to bowl fairly consistent lines. Not just in this game but also against Pakistan.

Bowling change as Mohit Sharma comes into the attack.

Over 6

Last ball is defended towards the slips. After 6 overs SA are 19/1.

Shami now wavers in line just a bit, on middle and off, but the resulting flick is fielded by Rahane at square leg.

Shami is bowling well within himself.

Oh. First ball is short of length, Amla fends, ball loops up but falls in no man’s land.

Over 5

Five runs off the over, SA 17/1 after 5.

Yadav the profligate partner continues. Amla scores three.

Over 4

India have got off to a really good start.

OUT! Mistimed drive by Quinton de Kock and Kohli makes no mistake. Shami gets the early breakthrough for Team India. SA- 12/1. Wicket maiden for Shami. Faf du Plessis is the next batsman.

Over 2

Shami is bowling slightly short of length. South African batsmen are looking to see the new ball off. India in search for an early breakthrough. 2 runs of the over, including a wide. SA- 8/0

Over 1

Umesh Yadav starts proceedings for India. Quinton de Kock gets a boundary through a top edge which nearly went all the way. Yadav is looking to bowl a tight line. SA- 6/0

India have made it to a competitive 307/7. Prior to the match, the team was expected to get steamrolled by South Africa. They have managed to put up a really good fight. Wayne Parnell was the difference between 280 and 307, as he conceded 85 off his 9 overs. But once again, India failed to capitalise on the last 5 overs. However, it is a score India will believe they can defend.

Over 50

Last ball, Shami swings across the line again, misses, and the last three balls have been dots. Just 5 off the last over and 36 off the last 5. India finish on 307/7 off 50 overs. A good score, but could have been better. Dhawan’s innings and his partnerships with Kohli and Rahane changed everything.

Another swing and a miss, Steyn is holding a decent line outside off now.

Down the track, ball was outside off and Shami was way outside leg. No run.

Some hope for India here? :

FOUR. Slightly off line from Steyn. On middle and leg, Shami has a swing to the leg side and gets four.

Slower delivery on middle, Ashwin manages a single.

Dale Steyn steams in for the last over. Ashwin swings horizontally and misses.

Over 49

Mohammad Shami misses the first ball outside off stump. India 302/7 after 49 overs.

OUT. Dhoni is out. Tried to pull from middle stump. The ball was very short and it took the upper edge of Dhoni’s bat. Flew straight into the hands of the keeper. India 302/7.

Full toss outside off, Ashwin swings with all his might, misconnects, but gets three.
He backs away, Morkel follows, and Ashwin misses.

Single off the second ball brings R Ashwin on strike. Time to swing.

Over 48

Short ball, got high on Dhoni as he tried to pull, only a single straight down the ground. India get 14 off the over. 298/6 off 48 overs.

Dhoni is 17 in 8 balls.

Wide. Worst time to bowl a wide, Mr Parnell.

FOUR. Short ball again, swivel pulled for four to long leg. Big over.

FOUR. Low full toss outside off, smashed down the ground by Dhoni in Dhoni-style.

FOUR. Fine leg is up and Dhoni pulls the short ball between deep square leg and fine leg.

OUT. Jadeja is run out trying to steal a quick single to mid off. India 284/6.

Parnell is back. Widish ball, Jadeja leaves but not called wide.

Over 47

Worked away to deep mid wicket. 6 off the over. India 284/5 after 48.

Flat ball into the pads, fast, and Dhoni gets another single. 5 off 5.

Pushed down the ground for one. Are India deliberately keeping away from attacking Tahir?

Intelligently, Imran Tahir has been brought on. He turns one into Dhoni who can only get a single.

Two runs as India scamper down hard. India need more than this. A couple of boundaries every over.

Dhoni thrashes to cover but gets no run.

Over 46

India 278/5 after 46 overs.

OUT. Now he is out. India are losing wickets towards the end again. Straight, fast, Rahane swings across the line. It hits him plumb in front and Rahane is out for a well played 79 off just 60 balls.

SIX. Steyn errs slightly in length, full ball and Rahane lofts it down the ground for six.

Slow yorker, Rahane dabbed it and tried to run, but the ball went absolutely nowhere. Steyn charged down the pitch just to stop the single.

Similar delivery, similar shot, similar result. No run.

Outside off stump, almost yorker length, and Rahane misses. Steyn is back for his final two overs. He has gone for 44 so far. Very expensive by his standards.

Dhoni smashes the first ball through the off side and gets just one.

Over 45

Single to end the over, just 4 off it. Will India choke in the last 5 overs like they did against Pakistan? 271/4.

OUT. Now he’s out. Short ball, Raina pulls, but this time it’s straight to the deep midwicket fielder. India 269/4.

DROPPED. Short ball again, Raina pulls, down to deep midwicket. The fielder coming in dives but can’t hold on.

Over 44

FOUR. Width from Parnell and Raina smacks it for four. India 266/3 after 44 overs.

Suresh Raina is the new batsman. The right hand-left hand combination continues.

OUT…or is it? Short, slow ball, Dhawan swings hard for a pull and gets a top edge. Caught. 137 off 146 balls. What a great innings. It’s been given out now after checking for the no ball. India 261/3.

Free hit but just a single to Rahane. India are nudging 6 runs per over.

Over 41

Rahane reaches his fifty with a single. It’s been a brilliant knock. India 237/2 after 41 overs.

Swing and a miss from Dhawan. Then he gets a single and there are still two balls left in the over.

The pick up on that shot was terrific.

SIX! Dhawan moves to off and hits a straight ball over long leg for six. Great shot.

Morkel continues. India got 50 off the powerplay.

Over 40

India 227/2 after 40 overs.

Single to deep square leg as Steyn strays down leg side.

FOUR. Now a short, rising ball, late cut to fine third man for four, almost right behind the keeper.

SIX! First six of the Indian innings. Slower ball from Steyn, Dhawan just hits through the line and clears the long on boundary.

Over 39

FOUR. That ball could have reached Antartica if there was no boundary and no fencing. It was hit so hard. Rahane just crashed it through the off side and the ball had reached the boundary before you could say Morkel. India 214/2 after 39 overs.

FOUR. Brilliant response to a great short ball. Slightly pitched up, Rahane hits on the up, straight through the line and down the ground.

Morkel is back and he’s also bowling fast like there’s no tomorrow. Rahane pulls out of the way of a really quick ball.

Over 38

Dhawan leaves the crease and Steyn follows him with a slower one. Dhawan misses. Three runs off the over. India 206/2 after 38 overs.

Three runs off five balls so far off this over.

The next ball hurries onto the batsman, outside off, but again it’s through to the keeper before the batsman has completed his shot.

Rahane keeps out a pacy delivery but he can’t get a single. A couple of good overs from Steyn will be worth their weight in gold at this point.

Short ball, Dhawan backs away and plays it to gully. India take a quick single.

Balls spears in, fast, straight and short. Dhawan thinks about it, then leaves, but the ball is already in the keeper’s hands.

Dale Steyn comes back. Big throw of the dice from SA.

Over 37

Another single brings up the 200 for India in the 37th over. India 203/2 after 37 overs.

FOUR. Half-tracker, Dhawan lifts it over square leg for four. The crowd is going wild.

Rahane reverse sweeps for one. Partnership 60 off 55. Rahane 37 off 27.

Over 36

FOUR. Now the ball pitches on leg and Rahane gets a touch on it. The ball flies to the fine leg boundary. India 195/2 after 36 overs.

FOUR. Duminy drops it short, and Rahane goes over the infield, and gets the boundary.

I guess the batting powerplay is on, though India are still dealing mainly in singles.

India have never lost a match when Dhawan scored an ODI hundred. But he must feel great, because he has been struggling for form all season and has been severely panned by critics.

Over 35

FOUR. THAT’s DHAWAN’s CENTURY. Beautiful drive through cover point, he realised late that he had to run, but it didn’t matter as the ball went for four. India 183/2 after 35 overs. Dhawan 103 off 122.

Rahane takes a single and now Dhawan is on strike. One ball to go.

Dabbed away and excellent running gets India two.

Rahane tries to take a single but the ball is straight back at the bowler. Everyone wants Shikhar on strike. Shikhar, Rahane, the crowds, even South Africa.

FOUR. Wide, full ball outside off as Parnell continues to bowl badly. Rahane cracks it for four through wide third man.

Over 34

Down the track, can’t get it past short mid off. Duminy keeps Dhawan on 99. India 172/2 after 34 overs.

He again tries to nudge and run, but the ball has merely reached short cover and Dhawan has to go back.

Dhawan on 99. He dabs it and tries to run, sent back and thankfully so.

Rahane pinches a quick single, and Dhawan barely makes it in.

Dhawan on 98. The crowd expects. And he nudges a single to short fine leg to move to 99.

Rahane hit two boundaries in the last over. The second one was an under edge which the keeper DROPPED.

Over 32

India reach 155/2 after 32 overs and it’s drinks.

Has Dhawan’s mindset changed as he approaches a century? Let’s hope not because India’s run rate is still below 5.

Morkel finally bowls a reasonable delivery, tucking Dhawan up and the ball trickles to the keeper. The next ball is also good length and is played away to the on side by Dhawan.

Short, slow ball outside off, Rahane tries to steer it fine but misses.

Morkel continues and India continue with the quick singles. When will they take the powerplay? Dhawan is on 94.

Over 31

Premeditated reverse sweep. Ball ended up full on middle but Rahane did it anyway. Gets two to sweeper cover. India 153/2 after 31 overs.

Oh. Rahane was on the drive, almost fell out of his crease, and missed. The keeper flicked off the bails but the batsman was safe.

Now he gets beaten for spin, hangs his bat out at the ball misses the edge.

Slightly short, punched through off and India get two more. Good to see that Kohli’s wicket against the run of play hasn’t affected their fluency.

Rahane sweeps, Morkel dives to stop, misfields, but he stopped two runs.

Duminy has been brought back.

Over 30

Dhawan drives, slightly in the air but it’s safe. Morkel dives to stop but India run a single. Dot off the last ball, India 146/2 after 30 overs.

Dhawan checks his straight drives, it trickles down the ground and India get another single. And then another from Rahane’s bat. India are judging singles well at the moment.

Imran Tahir continues, Dhawan advances and scores a single to long off. Reaches 90.

Over 29

Now he’s dabbed a late cut and gets a single to third man. Another single off the last over keeps Dhawan on strike. India 141/2 after 29.

Rahane is taking his time settling in. This could be SA’s chance to put India under pressure.

Morne Morkel is back into the attack. First ball is defended by Dhawan, who’s moved to 87.

Over 28

India 138/2 after 28 overs.

Ajinkya Rahane is the new batsman.

OUT! Shortish ball, there for the pull, and Kohli just picks out the short mid on, who took a good low catch. Kohli is gone for 46 off 60 balls, India 136/2.

Over 27

Short ball, pulled hard into the ground, and India run a single even as there is another bit of good fielding at short cover. 136/1 after 27 overs.

Misfield by Philander gets two for India. If you can milk Steyn you can milk any bowler in the world.

Pulled away to long leg for two. SA continue to bowl short. Perhaps a fuller length would be better?

Short ball this time, right on the body, Kohli ducks much better than Dhawan though.

FOUR. Steyn charges in, bowls full, and Kohli drives him straight down the ground for four. ‘Could have been Tendulkar’ says the commentator.

Over 25

India reach 123/1 after 25 overs. Nearly 5 an over now.

One run. du Plessis is now guilty of a needless throw. Dhawan was back in his crease, the throw hit the stumps, but India ran one off the ricochet. Steyn is unhappy.

Kohli has played a deft second fiddle even as Dhawan goes bonkers.

FOUR. Short ball, Dhawan pulls to the long leg boundary.

By the way, Steyn is back into the attack. SA really need wickets.

Two runs when there shouldn’t have been one. Dhawan taps to off and runs, fielder coming in throws at the wrong end and it’s overthrows. The fielder backing up misfields so India run another.

Over 24

Now he drives with much more confidence and gets two in the deep on the off side. India 114/1 after 24 overs. Very good over.

Kohli though looks far less confident. He has now missed two out of two balls.

Dhawan was moving away, then late cuts the next ball to third man for one.

FOUR. What a shot. Shot of his tournament so far. Length ball slightly on the fuller side, crashed down the ground, mid off had no chance.

FOUR. Brilliant shot from Dhawan. Short ball, Dhawan slides back, plays a cute upper cut and the ball races to the fence.

Over 23

Another single and 100 is up for India in the 23rd over. India 103/1 after 23 overs.

FOUR. Short, sits up, and Dhawan crashes it through square leg for four.

Duminy continues and Dhawan can’t get a middle stump topspinner away.

Over 22

Storms heading to Melbourne?

India reach 94/1 after 22 overs.

Free hit, Kohli goes over the infield, but gets it high on the bat. Wide long on catches it but it’s not out anyway and India get two.

No ball from Wayne Parnell, and there’s a FREE HIT coming up!

The crowd is cheering every run now. But India’s run rate is still hugging 4. Need some acceleration. How about taking on a spinner?

Wild short ball, rises head high but still outside off. Dhawan smashes it into the ground on the off side and runs a single. Dhawan had to jump to get over it.

Over 21

Four off the over, India 87/1 after 21 overs.

Short ball and Kohli hits it back to Duminy, who nearly runs out Dhawan! If he had hit Dhawan was gone. However it turned into overthrows for one.

Duminy came into the attack in the 19th over. SA’s sharp infield continues to deny India singles.

Over 20

India go for a quick single off a Kohli defensive prod. Rosseow charges in and throws even as he is sliding. But Dhawan reaches safety just in time. India 83/1.

Slid off the middle off the bat to third man. India gets another single.

Two singles off the next three balls.

DROPPED. South Africa have dropped Dhawan. Another shortish ball outside off, Dhawan slashes again and Hashim Amla lets it go at backward point. It was hurrying towards him but should have been taken, given the usual standard of SA’s fielding.

Over 18

FOUR. Short ball outside off, pacy, and Dhawan has thrashed it, smashed it, blugeoned it through the vacant gully for four. 50 up for Dhawan. India 77/1 after 18 overs.

Yet another short ball, this time it’s neck high but still outside off. Square leg umpire says one for the over.

Another searing good length delivery gets hit down to third man for one. Dhawan moves to 48.

The next ball is a wide as Parnell goes even further outside off.

Wayne Parnell comes into the attack. Bowls slightly short outside off, swinging away and Dhawan slashes hard but misses.

Over 17

Single to end the over, India 70/1.

Top spinner from Tahir, ball hit’s Shikhar’s pad and loops up, is caught by short leg. Huge appeal and after a while they decide not to go for the review. A good decision because the ball was nowhere near the bat.

AB de Villiers makes another great fielding effort. Slides in from short mid on and throws at the non striker’s end even as he is sliding.

First ball after drinks is eased down to long on for one.

Imran Tahir continues, but he’s warming up as if he’s coming back after a long break.

Over 16

It’s drinks time.

Pulled, and lands a bit in front of an incoming fine leg. India 67/1 after 16 overs.

Now the next ball is not delivered. Dhawan backed away and Morkel backed out at the last moment. Revenge for that other over.

Another short ball, Dhawan is tucked up.

FOUR. Another short ball, Dhawan pulls hard, this time it didn’t rise as much. Hit it clean to the on side boundary.

Brute of a delivery, Dhawan gets into an awkward position, ball hits the glove again.

Morne continues. He has conceded 20 off 19 balls so far.

Over 15

Kohli dabs Tahir for one and India are 61/1 after 15.

Apparently Vernon Philander has developed a ‘tight hamstring’ and is off the field.

Meanwhile, India continue to milk Tahir.

Over 14

FOUR. Beautiful on drive from Dhawan, but that superb SA fielding nearly stops it at mid on. The ball slows down but still makes it to the boundary. India 56/1 after 14 overs.

Almost played on! Dhawan gets an underage and the ball flies over the stumps. Both bowler and batsman thought for a moment it had hit the stumps. The commentary team paid no attention.

Dhawan pulls away at the last moment, Morkel was almost through his run up.

Short ball, dies on the batsman and Kohli pulls into the ground. Gets one for all the effort.

Morne Morkel continues, slightly outside off stump and Dhawan gets a thick edge to third man.

Over 13

Down the track but played straight to short mid on. India 49/1 after 13 overs.

Dhawan drives to wide long off and there’s a misfield which allows him to come back for two.

India are looking confident now as they begin to milk Tahir for runs.

Over 11

Short ball but can’t get it past point. Just one off the over. 37/1 after 11 overs.

The next two balls are defended, as Sachin clicks a selfie and the commentators continue to devote time to him.

Flat, full ball and Virat plays a tennis shot to long off for one.

Imran Tahir comes into the attack, and gets reverse swept immediately. No success though.

Over 10

None off the last ball, India 36/1 after 10 overs.

FOUR. Up and over. Slight width and height and Dhawan thrashes it over cover point for four. Deliberately played in the air and it worked.

Dhawan decides to take a long look at Morne as he plays out the first three balls.

Morne Morkel is introduced into the attack from the Members’ End.

Over 9

Three runs off the over, India 32/1 after 9 overs.

Two easy singles are pinched thereafter however, reducing anxiety levels in our newsroom.

JP Duminy is introduced into the attack and immediately causes problems for Dhawan.

Over 8

Last ball gets a quick single, Dhawan sprints into his crease at the other end but a direct hit would have been interesting.

FOUR. Nice ball outside off, perfect length and Dhawan crashes it through covers for four.

The commentators now find it apt to discuss Sachin Tendulkar instead of the poor batsmen at the crease, or the bowlers toiling away.

Now a length ball on middle and Kohli grows in confidence as he tucks it away to the on side for one. Then Tendulkar comes up on screen and the crowd goes wild.

FOUR. Driven well by Kohli through off, he leaned well into the shot. An India chant goes up.

Over 7

Yet another good stop in the covers, and India are 19/1 after 7 overs.

Sachin Tendulkar has arrived at the stadium and Harsha Bhogle is beside himself with joy. The crowd roars like they came to see only him.

FOUR. Third boundary for Dhawan who continues to look good among bad. Pitched up, rare bad ball and Dhawan drives well through covers.

Second ball gets a single to third man. The crowd cheers as if Kohli just reached 50.

Steyn races in again and Kohli leaves. The ball is carrying really well to the keeper and it’s also swinging.

Over 6

Dhawan manages to negotiate the last two balls and now India are 14/1.

Short ball, got big on Dhawan as he swivel pulled. Managed to get it over short fine leg though. A couple of runs scored.

Kohli finally manages a single and the crowd erupts. A lot of Indian support in Melbourne.

Philander to Dhawan, slightly on leg and tucked away for one.

Over 5

Swing and a miss. Virat swipes and misses outside off. India 10/1 after 5 overs.

Now Dhawan gets a single and will be relieved to be off strike.

Another short ball, but slower this time and Dhawan almost played it straight to point. He played early and is lucky it didn’t carry.

Oh. Short ball, not too short. Rises into Dhawan who only found out at the last moment. Couldn’t get out of the way, hits the glove on the way up.

Steyn continues to Dhawan, who is looking slightly more circumspect now.

Over 4

And the over ends in a maiden. India 9/1 after 4 overs.

No runs off four balls so far. There is a lot of outswing being extracted by the SA bowlers.

Virat Kohli is in and gets tested with a Philander outswinger straight away.

Over 3

OUT! Rohit Sharma is gone, run out for 0. Dhawan smashed the ball into the covers and de Villiers is like a hare. Picks up, throws it accurately at the non striker’s end. There is no way Rohit can get back. India 9/1 after 3 overs.

FOUR. Now he does. Outswinger again, high on pace, Dhawan drives. The ball flies between point and third man for four. Not sure the timing was too sweet.

First two balls fetch no run. Steyn is yet to concede.

Steyn is continuing and he looks a bit like Allan Donald from afar.

Over 2

This time he drives through the off side, and there’s a misfield! India get one. India 5/0 after 2 overs

FOUR. But Philander is not Steyn, and he strays on to leg. Dhawan flicks it through the on side for four.

Second ball is defended well by Dhawan. Same for the third ball.

Philander, averaging 21, to Dhawan, who crashes it though the off side but gets stopped at point.

Over 1

Drives and misses, maiden over, India 0/0

Steyn is bowling outswinger after outswinger, and Rohit is still being defensive.

Third ball swings way outside off stump but Rohit leaves. Not wide enough to be wide though.

Driven to mid on but straight to mid on. Good sound off the middle of the bat.

First ball is carefully defended by Rohit.

Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are out to the middle. They will immediately be in Dale Steyn’s firing line.

8:36 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015

It’s now time for the toss.

Dhoni calls heads and Dhoni has won the toss. He says India will bat first.

He says the squad is essentially the same. AB de Villiers says he would have batted first too, but then sometimes you don’t know how much to get batting first.

8:30 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ganguly says there is much grass on the wicket, which means the fast bowlers will get help. He says the spinners won’t get much help except some bounce.

Pommie Mbangwa says the curator has done a ‘fantastic’ job. It looks hard and there will be nice pace and carry, he says. But the sun beating down makes it slightly less hostile to the batsmen.

8:16 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015

On another note, it’s nearly time for the toss.

This puts things in perspective:

And here’s some more madness from India. A lion with Indian players painted on it.

6:55 IST Sunday, 22 February 2015

Just around two hours to go for the match to start and tweets coming from MCG makes it amply clear that excitement is already reaching a frenzy.