The Indian bench strength lay exposed in the face of some accurate bowling by South Africa [ Images ] in the third and final one-day international at the Sardar Patel stadium in Motera on Saturday. The visitors won by a whopping margin of 90 runs to reduce the arrears to 2-1, the home team having already pocketed the series with wins in the first two matches.
Chasing a mammoth South African score of 365 for 2, India [ Images ] collapsed to 275 all out.
The match was almost of a replica of the Gwalior tie. After winning the toss and opting to bat, the South African batsmen meted out the same treatment that their own bowlers had faced a few days back.
All the four South African batsmen who came to the crease made significant contributions, with Jacques Kallis [ Images ] (104 not out) and AB de Villers (102 not out) leading the way.
The Indian innings, akin to the South Africa, also had an aggressive beginning, with Dinesh Karthik [ Images ] and Murali Vijay [ Images ] both helping themselves to couple of boundaries, the latter's successive boundaries being his first scoring strokes in one-day internationals.
But India soon had to pay the price for over-aggression, with the visitors making a double breakthrough inside six overs.
Dale Steyn [ Images ] foxed Karthik (11) with a slower one, forcing him to hole one out to Hashim Amla [ Images ] at mid-off. And Lonwebo Tsotsobe induced an edge from Vijay (25) and Mark Boucher [ Images ] made no mistake behind the stumps.
The dual dismissals reduced the home team to 40 for two midway through the sixth over.
Rohit swept a Johan Botha [ Images ] delivery straight to Tsotsobe at deep square leg when he was well-settled at 48.
Kohli completed his sixth ODI half century in the next over. Then a procession of Indian wickets started. M S Dhoni [ Images ] (9) announced his arrival with a massive six off Botha but soon edged a Steyn delivery to Boucher.
Four balls later Kohli (57) followed, exactly in the same manner as Dhoni.
Yusuf Pathan [ Images ] (5) survived a caught behind appeal off Tsotsobe but holed out the next ball to Steyn at long-off.
Suresh Raina [ Images ], when on 19, was dropped by Botha off Morkel and he celebrated his good fortune with a boundary off Tsotsobe. Two balls later, Jadeja hit the same bowler straight over the fence for a maximum.
The duo put on a 54-run partnership for the seventh wicket to revive Indian hopes but the need of the hour was a healthy combination of aggression and caution. And the latter is a virtue which the Gen X Indian cricketers lack.
Raina, just one short of a well-deserved fifty, hit a Botha full toss straight to substitute fielder Wayne Parnell [ Images ] at wide long-off. India reduced to 233 for seven.
Roelef van der Merwe trapped Sreesanth [ Images ] (1) plumb in front in the next over to bring India closer to defeat.
Debutant Mithun (24) hit successive sixes off Botha, the first over long-on and then over long-off to delight the crowd but that only turned out to be a brief period of succour.
Van der Merwe had him stumped by Boucher and in the next over Tsotsobe ended Jadeja's (36) resistance.
India had fallen short by 90 runs.
Steyn and Tsotsobe finished with three wickets apiece.
Earlier, a mammoth 173-run unbeaten partnership for the third wicket between captain Jacques Kallis (104) and the in-form AB de Villiers [ Images ] (102) helped South Africa post a formidable 365 for two.
It was the highest total for South Africa against India and palpably the highest total ever at the venue.
Kallis's knock was his 17th ODI ton, his second against India -- after his unbeaten 119 at Kingsmead in November 2006. The veteran's 94-ball innings was inclusive of five hits to the fence and three huge ones over it.
De Villiers's ton was an emphatic one, considering he came in to bat only in the 33rd over.
It was his sixth ODI ton, his second straight against India after his unbeaten 114 in Gwalior. He faced only 59 balls and hit 11 boundaries and three sixes.
The last time the 26-year-old had batted in Motera (in April 2008), he had scored an unbeaten 217. On Saturday, he ensured he continued his unbeaten run here besides helping himself to another ton.
The visitors plundered 122 runs in their final 10 overs, and that included just 44 in the batting Powerplay (overs 41-45).
As regards the Indian bowling, the visitors' total is self-explanatory. The lacunae in the home team's bowling lay exposed yet again as also was the fact that the Indian team is heavily reliant on the toss (read batting first) in placid conditions.
South Africa made an aggressive start, completely dominating the inexperienced Indian bowling attack early on. Bosman was in fact caught off a no ball. Yusuf Pathan took a good catch at short midwicket only to realise that Sreesanth had overstepped.
Abhimanyu Mithun [ Images ] was introduced in the eighth over and Amla welcomed the debutant with successive hits to the fence.
Dhoni dabbled with his bowlers thereafter. Spin was introduced from both ends in the 13th over and while Ravindra Jadeja [ Images ] bowled a good first over, Yusuf's first ball was smashed over the long-on fence by Bosman.
The shot, his second maximum, helped him complete his half century. Bosman celebrated the occasion smashing Jadeja over long-off for his third maximum and Yusuf again (over long-off this time) for his fourth.
But it was Bosman's aggressiveness that led to his eventual demise. Yusuf had the last laugh when he had Bosman caught by Jadeja at long-off to give the home side its first wicket in the 16th over. South Africa 113 for one.
Bosman's 46-ball knock comprised seven hits to the fence and a four over it.
Amla completed his seventh ODI fifty, his first against India, soon after. The 26-year-old was playing only his second ODI against India - his first was at Gwalior where he made 34.
Amla, after making a magnificent 87, was eventually dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja.
Amla's knock was inclusive of eight boundaries. South Africa reduced to 192 for two.
The second wicket partnership yielded 73 runs for South Africa.
Kallis and de Villiers then strove towards building yet another useful partnership for the third wicket, both completing half centuries in the process.
It was Kallis's 76th ODI fifty, his 11th against India and his second in this series after his splendid 89 in the opening game at Jaipur [ Images ]. It was a patient innings, consisting of just a single hit to the fence.
However, the veteran did celebrate reaching by milestone by dispatching Sreesanth to the deep midwicket fence in the same over.
De Villiers's knock, in comparison, was more flamboyant. It was his 21st ODI fifty, his second against India and came on the heels of his spectacular 114 not out in the second game at Gwalior.
And they ensured South Africa gave a fitting reply to India's total in the Gwalior game.