Sourav is back and Greg is pleased!

Those statistically minded are delighted that India, which lost its first Test match as well as its first ODI, has won its first Twenty20 game. S. Dinakar's Diary continues.

So, it is back to Johannesburg. The one-day series has been decided but the Indians will still be making history. In a world that laps up any game of the instant variety, Twenty20 has enormous possibilities. Now, India is being introduced to cricket's latest child. Twenty20 attracts spectators like a magnet. All roads lead to the Wanderers. And there are traffic jams.

Rain had prevented any play in the first ODI at the Wanderers. But then, this is a different day. And there will be a match, after all, in the Bull Ring. The dancers shake their legs, Bollywood-style, ahead of the contest. Then the big blows arrive. This is a night when Wanderers rocks.

There is plenty of support for India too. The side finds a hero as well. The young Dinesh Karthik pilots the side to victory, albeit against a second string South African side.

The Indian flags, amidst a sea of spectators, fly high. Statistician Mohandas Menon is delighted. "India lost its first Test and its first ODI. But now, it has won its first Twenty20 game." The Indians, finally, have a reason to celebrate.

The Indian practice session at Centurion, an 80-minute drive from Johannesburg, has some fizz. Actually, a victory of any kind helps.

V. V. S. Laxman has joined the squad. The man from Hyderabad is chasing a World Cup dream. His career is studded with accomplishments of the rare kind, but he still has not figured in a World Cup.

The Indians, too, have an opportunity to salvage some pride. The final ODI at the lovely Centurion is not without relevance.

The Centurion is a unique venue, with the ground carved out of a hill. You have the hill and the canopies, the box-like corporate enclosures, and then the pavilion enclosure here. The place has an old world charm about it.

Meanwhile, South African skipper Graeme Smith is facing the heat from the more modern electronic and print media. His form with the willow has dipped, and his much-publicised face-off with selection panel convenor Haroon Logart has not helped matters either.

The Indians go down without a fight. And Smith returns to form with a blazing new opening partner — Abraham de Villiers.

During the break in play, the problems of the vegetarians continue. This time around there is virtually nothing for the non-meat eaters.

The Indian fans at Centurion too are hardly able to hold back their anger. The players face the brunt. One of the spectators is held by security personnel close to the dressing room. The Indian team-management claims the man is no more than someone who has drifted into the player area from one of the corporate enclosures.

In the evening, the man in the centre of the storm Zaheer Khan — there are whispers that Zaheer was involved in a verbal exchange or more with the spectator in question — is seen with his Mumbai team-mate Ajit Agakar in the giant mall close to the team hotel. He looks relaxed, at peace with himself.

On the field, Zaheer is putting back the pieces. Agarkar, though, has once again ventured into a rather familiar territory — inconsistency.

The Indians need to lift their spirits ahead of the Test series. Their next stop is the university town of Potchefstroom in the North West province.

The scenic drive to the place, popularly known as Potch, takes around two hours from Johannesburg. When the students are around, this is a lively town. But, this is Christmas time, and most of them have departed for their homes. Yet, the bistros are not completely empty, some of the locals still engage you in eager conversations.

Potchefstroom also has a wonderful cricket facility at the Sedgars Park. The quaint ground has state-of-the-art outdoor and indoor nets. The cricketers are pleased, so is coach Greg Chappell.

Interestingly, this was Australia's base camp during its triumphant World Cup campaign in 2003.

Team India is awaiting a rather special person. Former captain Sourav Ganguly dashes from the Johannesburg airport to catch the Indian Test squad's first practice session.

The Dada is accorded a warm reception. Chappell shouts, "Welcome back. Nice to have you back." Ganguly is focussed, does not speak much. He wants to make up for lost time. Soon skipper Dravid and Ganguly catch up with one another. They go back a long way, have plenty of fond memories.

This has been a difficult tour for Dravid. His team has faltered and then he suffered a broken finger. But son Samit keeps the skipper's spirits up.

Samit is no more than 14 months old, but makes Dravid forget his worries. The young one steps out of the hotel lobby and moves towards the fountain in front. Dravid follows him.

"You know he has learnt to walk during this tour," says a proud Dravid. Samit suffers a fall, and Dravid quickly adds, "Don't help him. He will get up himself."

Samit is on his feet in a jiffy.

Team India too has suffered a fall. And the side needs to find its feet again.

Yet, it all appears to go wrong at Sedgars Park when the Rest of South Africa pacemen blow away the top order.

Ganguly, with his refined technique, is rock solid. Pathan impresses once more with the willow. The Indians regroup.

Later, in the busy restaurant near the team hotel, Chappell, in an informal talk, confesses to Sportstar: "This is the best I have seen him bat. He has come back fitter and has worked on his batting." He laughs off suggestions that he still had differences with Ganguly. "They have all got it wrong. It is not me versus anyone else. It is not about personalities. Ganguly has done all the things we wanted him to do and has come back a better cricketer."

Chappell reveals Ganguly was asked to speak about his innings during a team meeting. "He made some very good points," says the coach.

India go on to win on a rainy evening in Potchefstoom. Is this a new beginning for the side in South Africa? Time will tell.