SA media hails team effort for win against India

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2011, 21:11 PM IST

Johannesburg: South African media on Sunday lauded the collective effort of their national team in its thrilling World Cup victory over India even while saluting Sachin Tendulkar for his "elegant" ton.

Headlined `Proteas breathe at last`, daily `Sunday Times` praised the "remarkable team effort in alien, even hostile conditions."

"South Africa batted conservatively for 20 overs, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis batted watchfully after the early departure of Graeme Smith. They`d clearly identified India`s fifth bowler (in the end a combination of Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan) as a potential weakness," it said.

"Then, in scenes of excruciating drama, the Indian crowd falling eerily silent, de Villiers called for a runner. He was out moments later, sweeping Harbhajan for 52. JP Duminy soon followed for 23; Morne van Wyk (5) followed him but there was a twist in the tale yet - that provided by Peterson and Faf du Plessis."

In praising Tendulkar for his blistering 111, the daily said, "Not content to merely lay the foundation when India batted, Tendulkar also built the first floor and added several rooms. They were all designed with customary Tendulkar elegance: tasteful, never flashy, occasionally containing a bright flourish of colour. As with many Tendulkar innings, contempt was never far away. Once he`d reached his hundred he mowed Morne Morkel through the covers so imperiously that the fielders didn`t twitch before the ball thundered into the hoardings. Morkel eventually had revenge, inducing a rare indiscretion from the Little Master to have him caught at point by Duminy for a 101-ball 111."

A sports website wrote that the Proteas victory was all the more sweet as it happened on the date South Africa had successfully chased down 438 in a famous victory against Australia at home five years ago.

"The Proteas celebrated the fifth anniversary of the famous 438 game in perfect style when they beat India by three wickets in their Group B match at the Cricket World Cup at Nagpur on Saturday," said with headline `Proteas back on winning trail`.

"It was a remarkable recovery considering India had posted 128 without loss in the first 15 overs and 197/1 after 30. At that stage it seemed likely that the Proteas would be chasing a target in the region of 400 with the batting power play not having been taken," it said.

"There were many heroes for the Proteas. Dale Steyn took a phenomenal 5/9 in the death overs to restrict India to 296 when they looked like making something in the region of 350 or more. Robin Peterson smashed 16 runs off the last four balls from Nehra when the Proteas needed a challenging 13 in the last over for victory. It was something of a surprise that Harbhajan was not given the last over ahead of Nehra."