India survived several anxious moments before beating South Africa by one run in the first One-Day International at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur on Sunday.
Wayne Parnell smashed 49 from 45 deliveries but was run-out off the final delivery of the innings as South Africa were dismissed for 297, in reply to India's 298 for nine in 50 overs.
Parnell added 65 from 38 deliveries for the ninth wicket with Dale Steyn, who hit a quickfire 35 from 19 deliveries, to bring South Africa back from the dead.
Captain Jacques Kallis had earlier waged a lone battle with a solid knock of 89 from 97 deliveries, hitting six boundaries and a six, before he was bowled by S Sreesanth.
Part-timer Ravindra Jadeja, who was later named man of the match, played a key role in India's good showing with the ball, claiming two for 29 in ten overs, including two maidens, while Sreesanth claimed two for 53 in seven overs.
Suresh Raina had earlier hit a brisk half-century to help India post a stiff 298 for nine in their 50 overs. He was the only batsman to cross the half-century mark, hitting a fluent 58 from 63 deliveries, inclusive of five boundaries and a six, before he fell to Jacques Kallis, who kept his team in the hunt with three for 29 in seven overs.
Virender Sehwag blazed 46 from 37 deliveries, with six boundaries and two sixes, adding 79 runs in 75 deliveries for the second wicket with Dinesh Karthik, who made 44.
Most of the Indian batsmen got off to starts but none, except Raina, showed enough patience to stay at the wicket.
Virat Kohli played a sedate innings of 31 from 46 deliveries before he was brilliantly caught by Herschelle Gibbs at midwicket off Albie Morkel, having added 66 from 79 deliveries for the fifth wicket with Raina.
The second One-Day International will be played in Gwalior on Wednesday.
Sachin Tendulkar started off with a boundary, hitting a short delivery from Steyn through point in the first over of the match. In the next over, Sehwag bagged his first boundary when he cut Wayne Parnell over the point fielder.
However, India were dealt an early blow when Tendulkar was run out for four. The ace batsman was sent back by Sehwag as he attempted a quick run, but Herschelle Gibbs's quick return to Parnell caught Tendulkar well short of his crease. (10-1, 1.5)
Sehwag sought to calm some nerves when he cut a short delivery from Steyn over the thirdman region for the first six of the match.
Dinesh Karthik, who was promoted to number three, looked nervous at the start as he took nine deliveries to get off the mark. But after a quiet star he started to cut loose and hit Wayne Parnell for three boundaries, in his fourth over, as India recovered to 46 for one after eight overs.
Karthik was hogging most of the strike. He looked to take advantage of the Poweplay overs and hit new bowler Charl Langeveldt through square leg for his fifth boundary to take India past 50 in the ninth over.
Sehwag had been restricted to mainly singles in the last few overs but broke the shackles when he hit Parnell for a boundary to take India to 58 for one after ten overs.
But Sehwag's stay at the crease was cut short courtesy his partner, Karthik. Sehwag also fell to a run-out when Karthik's straight drive was deflected by bowler Charl Langeveldt on to the stumps. The Delhi opener fell after a blazing knock of 46 from just 37 deliveries, during which he hit six boundaries and two sixes, adding 79 runs in 75 deliveries for the third wicket with Karthik.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni got his first boundary when cut a wide delivery from Johan Botha through point. Karthik also took the attack to Botha in his first over when he slog swept him for a six over midwicket to take India to 115 for two after 18 overs.
India's progress was checked further when Langeveldt got the wicket of Karthik for 44. The right-hander, who hit five boundaries and a six in his 56-ball knock, top edged a short delivery and was caught by Alviro Peterson at mid-on. (116-3, 18.2)
South Africa continued chipping away at the wickets to peg back India after their blazing start.
Dhoni fell to a soft dismissal when he lobbed Kallis straight to Morkel at mid-off after scoring 26 from 29 deliveries to put India in further strife. (138-4, 23.1)
New batsman Suresh Raina ensured India kept up with the good scoring rate as he started off with boundaries in consecutive overs to take India past 150 in the 27th over. The left-hander was peppered with a few short deliveries and he found a way around when he played the upper cut against and a powerful pull for two boundaries against Kallis, in the 28th over.
Kohli looked in no hurry at all and got his first boundary after 36 deliveries when he drove Parnell through the covers in the 33rd over to move to 23.
Raina ensured India didn't lose the momentum in the middle overs as he slammed Parnell for a huge six over mid-on that saw India crossing the 200-run mark in the 35th over.
But against the run of play India lost a wicket, when Kohli was brilliantly caught by Gibbs at midwicket off Morkel. Kohli, who played a sedate innings of 31 from 46 deliveries, tried to flick on the leg side but Gibbs, diving to his left, completed a good catch. (204-5, 36.2)
With Yusuf Pathan out in the middle and Raina looking good, India decided to take the Powerplay after 38 overs with the scoreboard reading 211 for five.
But Pathan, who plays for the Rajasthan Royals, let the team down once again as he failed to capitalize on the field restrictions.
In the first over of the Powerplay, he hit Morkel for back to back boundaries and followed it up by slamming Parnell for a huge six over long-on as the crowd roared in delight at their hero's super shot.
But the whole crowd was stunned into silence when Parnell got the wicket of Pathan off the very next delivery. The right-hander tried to loft it over the off-side but ended up spooning a simple catch to the cover fielder after scoring 18 from 13 deliveries. (231-6, 39.3)
Raina completed his half-century in style off 56 deliveries when he hit Steyn for a boundary through midwicket as India progressed to 245 for six after 41 overs.
The Powerplay overs went to script for the Indians as they hit 48 runs in five overs, losing just one wicket to reach 259 for six after 43 overs.
Kallis, leading the side in place of Graeme Smith, made an important contribution with the ball. He provided South Africa the vital wicket of Raina, caught behind after a cracking innings of 58 from 63 deliveries, inclusive of six boundaries and a six. (260-7, 43.4)
Jadeja fell in the similar fashion, caught behind by wicketkeeper Boucher off Kallis, as he attempted to drive it through the off-side after scoring 22 from 20 deliveries. (274-8, 45.5)
Steyn ensured the tailenders were not let off the hook as he bowled a maiden over in the 47th over of the innings. Nehra tried to break the shackles as he slammed Langeveldt for a huge six over midwicket in the next over to take India to 287 for eight after 48 overs and with a chance of going past 300.
Praveen Kumar fell in the typical tailender's style when he was run out for 13 after being sent back by his partner Nehra. (292-9, 49.2)
Nehra was very lucky to survive off the very next delivery. Langeveldt bowled a yorker at over 136kmph, which hit the outside edge of the off-stump yet the bails didn't come off and ball went into the boundary.
After 50 overs, India finished on a respectable 298 for nine in their 50 overs. Nehra scored some useful runs towards the end to remain unbeaten on 16 from 17 deliveries.
India lost the plot in the final overs, as just 28 runs came from the last five overs, while two wickets went down.
Kallis was the star with the ball for South Africa, claiming three for 29 in seven overs, while Steyn bowled without luck during a good spell of none for 46 in ten overs.
With the pitch looking good for batting, India must have been disappointed not to have posted a total in excess of 300.
Praveen Kumar had a huge appeal for leg before wicket against Herschelle Gibbs turned down in the first over of the innings. In the following over from Ashish Nehra the right-hander was again lucky to survive when umpire Shavir Tarapore turned down a huge shout for caught behind.
Loots Bosman also survived a close call for run out, managing to get his bat just in time as Ravindra Jadeja hit the stumps with a direct throw from mid-off in the fourth over.
Bosman got his first boundary when he slammed a slower delivery from Kumar over mid-on for a boundary as South Africa reached 21 for one after five overs.
Both Kumar and Nehra showed remarkable control in the first few overs, before Dhoni made a shocking move. The Indian captain got it completely wrong when he brought on S Sreesanth to replace Nehra, who had bowled two overs for seven runs.
The move backfired big time as Sreesanth was slammed by Gibbs for two boundaries and a huge six over midwicket in his very first over. South Africa got 17 runs from that over, the sixth of the innings, and the innings took off from that point after a quiet start.
In the very next over, Bosman hit Kumar for two successive boundaries as South Africa scored 26 runs from the last two overs to reach 47 for no loss after seven overs.
It was Kumar, who provided India the breakthrough when he bowled Bosman after a quick innings of 29 from 23 deliveries. The right-hander gave himself room trying to hit through the off-side but failed to connect and was bowled. (58-1, 8.4)
Left-arm spinner Jadeja started off with a maiden before striking with the vital wicket of Gibbs in his next over. Gibbs tried to loft Jadeja straight down the ground but ending up holing to Kohli at long-off after scoring 27 from 49 deliveries, inclusive of three boundaries and a six. (64-2, 11.2)
Jadeja was making an important contribution with the ball as he took one for 13 in four overs, including a maiden, but at the other end Sreesanth was going for runs, as he gave away 22 runs in two overs.
Sreesanth's nightmare continued when he was hit for a boundary each by Kallis and de Villiers to give away 31 runs in three overs. Interestingly, South Africa reached 100 for two after 17 overs and India were also on the same score at this stage when they batted first.
But Jadeja tilted the balance in India's favour when he claimed the wicket of AB de Villiers for 25. The right-hander tried to cut a short delivery but the ball kept quite low and crashed into the stumps. (109-3, 19.1)
At the halfway stage, South Africa were 130 for three, facing a stiff task in the next half, having to score 169 from the last 25 overs.
Nehra pegged them further back when he struck with the wicket of Albie Morkel in the second over of his new spell. The left-hander was struck right in front of the stumps and ruled out leg before the wicket for 2 but closer look at the replays suggested that Morkel could have got an inside edge. (142-5, 28)
Meanwhile, captain Kallis led from the front as he completed his half-century from 60 balls to take South Africa to 150 for five after 30 overs.
Sreesanth, who got hammered in his first spell, finally had something to cheer for when he claimed the wicket of Mark Boucher, caught behind for 5. (161-6, 31.2)
Despite the wicket, the Kerala speedster found it difficult to keep the runs down and was hit for a boundary each by Johan Botha and Kallis in his fifth over.
But Pathan struck from the other end with the wicket of Botha. The right-hander, who made 10 from as many deliveries, tried to play the sweep shot but was struck plumb in front of the stumps. (180-7, 35)
With wickets tumbling at regular intervals from the other end, South Africa decided to take the Powerplay before it was too late, with the score reading 185 for seven after 36 overs.
Jadeja was called back for his second spell during the Batting Powerplay yet the South Africans were unable to get him away. The left-arm spinner conceded just six runs in the last two overs to end with respectable figures of two for 29 in ten overs, including two maidens.
Kallis pulled a short delivery from Nehra for a boundary to take South Africa to 205 for seven after 40 overs, with 94 needed from the last 60 deliveries.
With the required run rate getting out of hand, Kallis decided it was time to use the long handle. He stepped out to Pathan and launched him high into the stands over the sightscreen for a six. A few deliveries, Pathan was unlucky not have had his man as wicketkeeper Dhoni missed an easy stumping with Kallis (85) looking to repeat the shot again, in the 41st over.
However, Kallis didn't make full use of that chance and fell soon after. The veteran batsman tried to swipe Sreesanth across the line through the leg side but missed the ball completely and was bowled after a fine innings of 89 from 97 deliveries, laced with six boundaries and a six. (225-8, 43)
Dhoni experimented by getting in part-timer Suresh Raina to bowl in the closing overs. Dale Steyn brought some hope back for the visitors when he hit Raina for two straight sixes in his third over to take the total to 251 for eight in 46 overs, with 48 needed from the last four.
Parnell and Steyn didn't give up hope though. Sreesanth's nightmare continued as he was hit for three boundaries in his ninth over, which went for 14 runs, to leave South Africa on 273 for eight after 48 overs, needing 26 from 12 deliveries.
Parnell then slammed Nehra straight down the ground for a huge six to bring some late drama. The duo brought up their 50-run partnership in just 32 deliveries for the ninth wicket as suddenly South Africa stood a chance.
Steyn also matched Parnell with a swipe across the line for another six in the over as Nehra conceded 16 runs and South Africa now needed to score 10 from the last over.
Kumar then bowled Steyn with a full straight delivery after a smashing innings of 35 from 19 deliveries after he was involved in a blazing partnership of 65 runs from 38 deliveries for the ninth wicket.
Charl Langeveldt took three runs off the fifth delivery of the over to leave the equation at four needed from the last delivery. Kumar bowled a wide delivery to make South Africa's task easier with three needed from the final delivery.
Parnell got a thick outside edge off the final delivery and was run out attempting a tight second run after a splendid knock of 49 from 47 deliveries, inclusive of four boundaries and a six.
South Africa were bowled out for 297 off the final delivery of the match and lost by a narrow one-run margin.
India were lucky to escape with victory, especially considering the late fightback from the South African tailenders, who smashed 60 runs from the last five overs.
India's bowlers were found wanting in the final overs and none seemed to have any answers to the onslaught from Parnell and Steyn. Jadeja, with two for 29 in ten overs, and Pathan, with one for 51 in ten overs, made useful contributions with the ball in the middle overs.
For South Africa, it was once again a case of so near yet so far.