Wanderers Test: Openers cower to South African pace, can Virat Kohli fill Sachin Tendulkar's shoes?

Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay looked in great discomfort as India were reduced to 24 for 2 after Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss a decided to bat.

updated: December 18, 2013 18:16 IST
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India's new-age opening batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay looked like rabbits caught in the headlights as South Africa's quick bowlers repeatedly troubled them with pace and bounce in the first session of the first Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. India decided to bat first after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss. It was a prudent decision on a firm deck that normally produces over 300 runs in the first innings but India's abysmal average by openers on foreign tours continued. Dhawan and Vijay, who have been prolific scorers in Indian conditions, found life on a fast lane difficult to handle as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel ran in hard and hurled the cherry at an average speed of 140 kmph. Dhawan was bounced out by the world's No. 1 bowler Steyn for 13 while Morkel got Vijay to edge a ball that moved away after pitching. The right-hander from Tamil Nadu scored 6. (Click here for more on India's tour of South Africa)

The Indian openers looked in great discomfort from the very first ball as the South Africans went in with a definite gameplan. They bowled at the batsmen's rib-cage and the back-of-length deliveries left the openers with a prayer on their lips. Normally an aggressive personality, Dhawan displayed some patience till Steyn repeatedly attacked him with body-line length. The fourth straight bouncer paid dividends as Dhawan mistimed a hook and was caught at deep fine leg. It was a perfect set-piece by the Proteas. (Scorecard)

After Dhawan left in the ninth over, Vijay perished in the 16th and India were reduced to 24 for two, a score that definitely put the middle-order under pressure. The failure of the openers also underlined India's poor opening record overseas. India's average opening stand in away Tests since January 2011 has been a paltry 15.96 (in 25 innings). The average opening stand in home Tests during the same period is 58.45 (over 24 innings). No wonder the critics call the Indians "tigers at home and lambs abroad." (Live Blog)

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