South Africa beat India in series opener

Hyderabad, November 16:

Jacques Kallis hit an unbeaten 68 as South Africa overcame a fighting India by five wickets here on Wednesday to grab a 1-0 lead in the five-match limited-overs series.

Skipper Graeme Smith scored 48 off 36 balls at the start of the innings and Ashwell Prince chipped in with 46 as the tourists overtook India’s 249-9 with seven deliveries to spare.

Justin Kemp remained unbeaten on a typically brisk 46 off 51 balls after adding 84 in a match-winning sixth-wicket stand with Kallis.

The victory took South Africa’s unbeaten streak to 20 matches — 17 wins, two no-results and one tie — and left them just one short of equalling Australia’s world record of 21 consecutive wins in 2003.

India were in danger of a heavy defeat when they slipped to 5-3 within the first 15 minutes of

play and soon became 35-5 after given first strike on a damp wicket.

Yuvraj Singh then hit 103, his fifth one-day century, to lead a superb Indian fightback. Yuvraj put on 75 for the sixth wicket with Irfan Pathan (46) and 49 for the seventh with

Mahendra Dhoni (17).

Tailender Harbhajan Singh smashed an unbeaten 37 off 17 balls, studded with two sixes and four boundaries, as India plundered 52 runs in the last four overs bowled by Makhaya

Ntini and Andre Nel. South Africa were 76-1 in reply in the 12th over when India hit back with the wickets of Justin Ontong and Smith off successive deliveries from Ajit Agarkar and Rudra Pratap Singh.

Kallis kept his cool to add 84 for the fourth wicket with Prince before the big-hitting Justine Kemp joined in to steer the South Africans home. The remaining four games will be played under lights with the second one-dayer in Bangalore on Saturday.