South Africa were 232/4 with Jacques Kallis (81) and Ashwell Prince (28) at the crease when stumps were drawn on Day 1 of the third Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday. SCOREPlaying cautiously, the two were trying hard to negate the India bowling that had assumed lethal proportions under the prevailing weather conditions.The rain-marred match saw the pacemen utilise the other-wise batsmen-friendly wicket to their advantage. This was after India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and put the hosts in to bat.S Sreesanth, who claimed two important wickets in the day, bowled with variety to get the desired result. Being his usual self he did display his on-field antics. Luckily for him and his skipper they were not of the nature to attract the umpire’s wrath.First Sreesanth accounted for Hashim Amla just when he was looking set and then got the better of AB de Villiers, who clearly wasn’t his usual self.While it was an out-swinger that foxed de Villiers (26) into edging an away moving ball to the keeper, it was a short ball that cost Hashim Amla (59) his wicket on 106/3.Amla along with Jacques Kallis had put on a 72-run partnership for the third wicket.The highlight for the day, however, was the intermittent rains. The first session’s proceedings were suspended when the hosts were batting on 21/1. The second session too started late owing to bad light and when it did start, it happened under floodlights. And even that was marred by drizzle.In the second session, Ishant Sharma claimed opener Alviro Petersen on 21. He pitched the ball on the off and it clipped Petersen’s bat to land in the safe gloves of Dhoni. South Africa score at this juncture was 34/2.advertisementIn the morning India pace spearhead Zaheer Khan got the man he was looking for. A fuller length ball entered the bat-pad gate of an out-of-form opposition skipper Graeme Smith to hit his back pad. He fell on six with LBW written against his initials and the Proteas scorecard read 17/1.
Yuki Bhambri is barely out of his teens but India’s No.1 singles player reflects maturity beyond his years.At 20, he will be spearheading India’s Asia-Oceania Group 1 relegation play-off tie against New Zealand, starting on Friday, but insists he does not feel any pressure playing alongside a bunch of youngsters.In fact, Yuki does not prefer to see himself as the No.1 player in the Indian squad. “It’s fun to be with the team. Having people of the same age group helps to be yourself. I don’t think of myself as the No. 1 player. I don’t think there is any pressure on me,” Yuki told Mail Today.”We feel pretty equal game-wise. I know the other boys are also quite capable of winning the matches. This team is the future of India.”I have seen a little bit of the New Zealand players on tour. A lot of my game is based on anticipation. Once I get into the match I can spot the weaknesses pretty early and play accordingly,” said Yuki, who rose to a career high singles ranking of 179 on Tuesday.Yuki made his Davis Cup debut in 2009 against South Africa when he beat a higher ranked Ven der Merwe.Though India lost their tie against Uzbekistan earlier this year, Yuki, after losing to Farrukh Dustov, managed to pull off a good win against Denis Istomin in the reverse singles.The Delhi boy said that playing in a team which had seniors like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi has taught him a lot. “There is lot to learn from the seniors. You pick up the small things along the way. It is nothing special but by just watching them play, you get to learn so much. Being able to beat world no. 43 (Istomin) was a big confidence for me,” he said.”To represent the country is huge. It gives a lot of satisfaction knowing that we can contribute to the team’s success. It gives an extra motivation.”Yuki’s confidence stems from his good showing this year. “I am a better player than what I was seven to nine months ago. I feel I belong there. I have been able to cement my place in the Challengers and now I need to take the next step.””If I can continue playing like this then definitely I can be a lot higher in rankings. Breaking into the top 100, and trying to be seeded in the qualifiers in the Grand Slams are my next goal.”Yuki won the maiden ATP challenger in Fergana, Uzbekistan in May. The 2009 junior Australian Open champion had set the bar high very early in his career. He was up there with the likes of Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison in his junior days.While they have made the transition smoothly to the higher level, Yuki has fallen behind, pegged back by injuries and lack of opportunities. He is, however, getting back to the groove. “Honestly I cannot compare myself with them (Tomic, Harrison). The support they have been getting is absolutely nothing to what I have. I have pretty much made it on my own,” Yuki said.”Somebody like Tomic has (Patric) Rafter as his coach in Davis Cup. Harris is rubbing shoulders with (Andy) Roddick and Bryan brothers. So it is something that has not really bothered me.”I have played a lot with them in my junior days. It just makes me believe that I can be up there too and it is just a matter of time before I play at that level,” Yuki said.advertisement