Durban, Jan 13 (Agencies): South Africa thrashed Team India by a whooping margin of 135 runs under lights to take 1-0 lead in the five-match series at the Kingsmead stadium.

Except for Virat Kohli, who played a promising knock of 54, and Suresh Raina (32), who fought till end with some exciting strokes, all the Indian batsmen fell like a pack of cards against lethal swing and bounce from South African speed-merchants and folded up for 154 runs in 35.4 overs to embrace one of the worst ODI defeats in recent times.

Apart from one freaky run-out, the pace quartet of Steyn, Tsotsobe, Morkel and Parnell accounted for all the damage with Lonwabo Tsotsobe leading the match honours and winning well deserved ‘Man of the Match award’ with superb bowling figures of 4 wickets for 31 runs.

Set up a stiff target of 289 runs to chase, India made a horrific start to their innings as South African bowlers rattled Indian top-order early to sense an early upset in the Indian camp.

India lost both openers- Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar- in quick succession as the duo was not able to negate South African pace attack and fell down cheaply against quality swing and bounce from South African speedsters.

Vijay was first to depart during Indian chase as the batsman was trapped plumb in front of wickets in the first over off a fiery Dale Steyn delivery which kept low and looked like crashing into middle stump.

Tsotsobe then hurled short-pitch stuffs to Tendulkar, bowling an awkward angle and was finally rewarded for his hard-work as Tendulkar top-edged a climbing delivery towards fine-leg where Steyn took a well-judged catch to end Tendulkar’s innings.

With two wickets down for just 13 runs, youngsters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli tried to rebuild Indian innings but with umpire Simon Taufel making a judgment error and ruling Rohit out off an away moving delivery from Morne Morkel, India slid more deep with 41/3 on board. Delighted with wicket ‘gift’, Morne then removed Yuvraj Singh in the same over as the left-hander edged the ball to second slip after facing just four balls.

After Yuvraj’s dismissal, Kohli and skipper MS Dhoni added valuable 52 runs for the fifth wicket and tried hard to steer India from difficulty but just when the duo started to play big shots, hard luck robbed India as a straight drive from Kohli hit bowlers’ palm and disturbed non-striker stumps where Dhoni was caught short of his crease.

Dhoni’s departure brought Suresh Raina on the crease and with only last recognized batting pair in the middle and mountain like target to chase, curtains were drawn on Indian victory much before than anticipated.

Kohli and Raina added 33 runs for the sixth wicket but with players taking the batting powerplay in 29th over, Kohli perished in a desperate attempt to shoot up the scoring rate.

With no resistance from lower-order, India was all-out for 154 runs in just under 160 minutes of play.

Earlier, riding on the half-centuries from AB De Villiers, JP Duminy and Hashim Amla, South Africa made 289/9 and set India a stiff target of 290 runs to chase under bowling-friendly conditions.

 At a time when India looked like gaining upper-hand by taking top three South African wickets for 82 runs in the 14th over, Duminy and De Villiers came together in dodgy circumstances and showed a lot of enterprise as they put on a critical 131-run stand for the fourth wicket which set the foundation of a competitive first inning score by home team.

Indian speedster Ashish Nehra though accounted for the first South African dismissal but could not repeat his heroics of 2003 at this ground and proved to be the most expensive bowler, leaking 61 runs in six overs.

Winning the toss and choosing to bat, South Africa made a quick start with openers Graeme Smith and Amla stroking boundaries and looting 14 runs in second over of the match but Nehra came back strong as he dismissed Smith to put an instant break on initial aggression shown by Proteas.

Smith (11) scored two boundaries but looked bit uncomfortable during his stay and was finally done in by short of length ball, as he came down the track and attempted an ugly shot to give an easy catch to Rohit Sharma at slip who didn’t made any mistake in pouching the top-edge.

Unperturbed by Graeme Smith’s dismissal early, Amla played in slambang style and looked like making amends for his failure in only T20, as he stroked eight powerful boundaries in just 36 balls to provide early impetus to South African innings.

Amla (50) looked in superb touch and played strokes in all parts of the ground but in a bid to dictate terms, he lost his cool and fell immediately after scoring his 11th ODI fifty.

Munaf Patel, who came in as first change after Nehra went for plenty of runs, made immediate impact as he first ended Colin Ingram’s miserable stay on the crease and then trapped big fish Amla to put India in commanding position early in the match.

Ingram, who came in to bat after Smith’s dismissal, wasted 23 balls for his individual score of 5 runs and got out after he tried to break the shackles and paid the price for a mistimed hit.

Munaf then dismissed dangerous Amla as he forced the batsman to play a swat-loft over mid-on where Harbhajan ran back and took a difficult catch over his shoulder to bring Amla’s sparkling knock to an end.

With three top-order wickets down, India looked like gaining an upper-hand but a counter-attacking knock from both De Villiers (76) and then Duminy (73) foiled Indian plans to create pressure.

 Seeing both batsmen in good form, South Africa took their batting powerplay early in 27th over and made full use of the field restrictions as the duo added 45 runs in five overs without loss of a wicket as the fourth-wicket partnership allowed South Africa`s thin lower middle order to play it safe and just carry on the momentum to run up a strong score.

With all main bowlers going for plenty of runs, Dhoni turned-up to his part-time options and the bold move paid off as Rohit Sharma foxed De Villiers with a slower delivery, as the batsman set himself up for the pull but played straight to Harbhajan at deep midwicket.

Gaining confidence with Rohit’s success, Dhoni asked Suresh Raina to roll over his arm and Raina too didn’t disappointed his captain as he clean bowled David Miller to restrict South African progress.

Rohit then picked up crucial wicket of Duminy as India did well to contain South Africa under 300 runs in late part of their innings.

Zaheer Khan delivered a near perfect 50th over, as he took two wickets for five runs, as South African innings finished for 289/9 in the allotted 50 overs.