proteas bid to salvage pride

DRAWING the Test series and losing the ODIs will be a bitter pill to swallow for the touring Proteas, but they can restore some self-confidence if they get back to their winning ways at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad tomorrow.

They can take heart from the fact that given the way Sachin Tendulkar played on Wednesday - when India crushed South Africa by 153 runs - no team could have come out on top.

Becoming the first player to score a double century in an ODI, Tendulkar displayed the skill and strength to remind those doubters just why he is still mentioned in the same breath as the late, great Donald Bradman.

Coming on to the international cricketing stage at the tender age of 16, the "Little Maestro" is still displaying the same humility and talent cricket lovers have grown accustomed to 21 years later.

Hopefully new Proteas coach Corrie van Zyl and stand-in captain Jacques Kallis have something up their sleeves to counter the rampant Indians tomorrow, but one doubts it.

MS Dhoni continues to impress both as a captain and all-rounder. His knock of 68 not out on Wednesday reinforced his reputation as the rock in the middle order and with the ever-dangerous Virender Sehwag opening the batting, anything is possible.

All the South African bowlers took a pasting and the seam attack of Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell, Charl Langeveldt and Kallis can expect the same unfriendly pitch conditions they experienced in Gwalior.

Even the spin duo of Roelof van der Merwe and JP Duminy battled and there aren't many other options available to the selectors.

One can't help but think there will be more of the same tomorrow - especially with former South African Gary Kirsten heading up the coaching team for India - and an extended period in the nets may be just what is needed on the team's return.

l Play starts at 10.50am and will be shown live on SuperSport2.