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Steyn questions India’s decision

SOUTH Africa’s Dale Steyn questioned India’s decision to bat first after his five-wicket haul helped dismiss the hosts for just 76 on the first day of the second Test yesterday.

Steyn (24) picked up his eighth five-wicket haul including the scalps of first Test triple centurion Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid as India were dismissed in just 20 overs on a green strip at the Sardar Patel Stadium.
The visitors consolidated their position, moving to 223 for four at stumps, with Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers unbeaten on 60 and 59 respectively, for a lead of 147.
“I was surprised,” Steyn told a news conference.
“I haven’t played too much in the subcontinent, especially in India, (but) I’ve never seen a pitch like this, with so much grass. Maybe it played more into our hands.
“From what I read in the papers there was a bit of an argument between the curator and the captain of the Indians. They probably didn’t get what they wanted.
“If they didn’t get what they wanted then you have to ask the question: ‘why did they bat first?’ If you always thought it was going to be green then maybe you made the wrong decision.”
The India innings was in sharp contrast to the first Test in Chennai, which was drawn after a five-day glut for the batsmen which saw 1 498 runs.
“The wicket helped us here a lot more than it did in Chennai. There was a little bit of movement which we didn’t have there and that assists you in one way.
“It probably scared the Indians a bit once one or two wickets fell and the ball seemed to be moving around.
“It just looked like it sent a couple of shivers down the Indian batting line-up. It looked like the guy that came in next didn’t really know how to approach it and how to play the game.”
Steyn picked out his dismissal of Dravid as the highlight, with a quicker delivery that straightened before hitting the stumps.
“Yes, that was probably the best ball. Hopefully I can deliver a few more of those in the second innings,” Steyn said with a smile.
“Sehwag tends to play skywards towards the slips or leave hit bat hanging out towards the slips so there’s always the possibility of an inside-edge.
“His wicket was pretty decent as was that of Dravid. They are two good batsmen and that’s two wickets you definitely want to be getting before the game.”
India’s Harbhajan Singh urged the home board to demand pitches suited to his side’s strong spin department.
“Every team plays to their strength (at home) and we should also do the same,” he told reporters.
“If the captain (Anil Kumble) was unhappy with the pitch and the curator didn’t do anything about it then you just can’t help it,” said the off-spinner, who took three wickets in the South Africa innings.
“As I said, the Indian team’s strength is spin. No doubt we have good young fast bowlers but until today all the matches we have won in India is because of our strength and that is spin bowling.
“And what we are seeing nowadays is that pitches are being changed constantly and the clay is being changed.
“Previously we used to get positive results for India, but now we see a lot of draws being played out and results going against the Indian team.” — Reuters.

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