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JAIPUR, India - Wayne Parnell and Dale Steyn fought a gallant rearguard action but in the end they had been left with too much to do by an indifferent top order batting performance and finished two runs short in the first ODI against India at Jaipur on Sunday.
Parnell needed two runs off the last ball to tie the match and three to win but was run out attempting the second run, which would have earned him a maiden international half-century had he been successful.
India's victory has left the Proteas needing to win both their remaining matches - at Gwalior tomorrow and Ahmedabad on Saturday - to take the series and with it the second ranking behind Australia. India are currently second.
When Jacques Kallis - who had batted superbly for 89 off 97 balls with six fours and one six - was dismissed with 74 runs needed off 43 balls with only two wickets left, it looked as though the writing was well and truly on the wall for the Proteas.
Kallis had completed a superb all-round match, taking 3-29 in seven, his second wicket being his 250th dismissal in this format of the game.
He thus becomes the only cricketer to have 10000 runs and 250 wickets in both Test and ODI cricket.
With Kallis in such form and leading from the front in the best captaincy style all the Proteas needed was one other of the top six to support him in a major partnership to keep the victory charge intact.
They achieved their plan of scoring 150 in the last 20 overs but lost too many wickets for it to succeed.
South Africa's bowling was much like the batting, ranging from good to indifferent, with the exception of the deadly displays of Steyn and Charl Langeveldt. The most impressive aspect of the Proteas' performance was their fielding. - Sapa