Southampton - South Africa won the toss, elected to bat and then battled their way to 227/9 against India at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday. 

It was the next chapter in a World Cup story that has still not got out of first gear for the Proteas.

SCOREBOARD: Proteas v India

Never before have South Africa been this at sea at a World Cup, and they now face the very real possibility of losing their third game in a row at the 2019 tournament. 

The batsmen were incredibly disappointing once again with none of the top six playing an innings of real substance. 

It took some lower order resilience from allrounder Chris Morris ( 42 off 34), Andile Phehlukwayo (34 off 61) and Kagiso Rabada (31* off 35) to get the Proteas beyond 200, while earlier Faf du Plessis (38 off 54) and David Miller (31 off 40) had flirted with going big.

It leaves South Africa with it all to do with the ball, and they will be looking to the likes of Rabada and Imran Tahir to pull something out of the bag to get this World Cup out of first gear. 

Hashim Amla returned to the starting line-up while Aiden Markram was left out, but the big selection surprise came in the form of spinner Tabraiz Shamsi. 

With Dale Steyn out of the World Cup and Lungi Ngidi sidelined with a hamstring strain, most expected the Proteas to turn to Dwaine Pretorius to bulk of the seam attack. 

That was not to be, but it is unlikely to matter. 

India, through their superstar speedstar Jasprit Bumrah (2/35), were up and running early. 

Amla (6 off 9) was out caught at second slip when Bumrah had him trapped on the crease and pushin at one, while Quinton de Kock (10 off 17) followed soon after when he played a loose shot at a wider delivery from Bumrah to find Virat Kohli at third slip.

It left South Africa 24/2, and the Proteas were facing a mountain of a task to get back into the match. 

Skipper Du Plessis and Rassie van der Dussen (22 off 37) set about the recovery, and they showed good application against the new ball to get through unscathed. 

They were patient, knocking the ball around the park in an effort to resuscitate the scoreboard, and brought up their 50-run partnership in 70 balls. 

India turned to spin in the 12th over, and when they did Van der Dussen got a bit stuck. 

That pressure resulted in an uncharacteristic release from the 30-year-old that cost him his wicket when he looked to reverse sweep a Yuzvendra Chahal (4/51) delivery that pitched outside leg. 

Van der Dussen had picked the wrong line completely and was bowled, leaving the Proteas 78/3. 

Chahal had Du Plessis out bowed in the same over with a top-spinner that rushed the captain and didn't turn, and at 80/4 the Proteas were back right back where they started with two new batsmen at the crease and in need of a fightback. 

That didn't happen, though, and JP Duminy (3 off 11) was out to Kuldeep Yadav when he went back to a full delivery from the spinner and was trapped LBW. 

There was then a 46-run stand between Miller and Phehlukwayo that South Africa desperately needed, but Chahal again got the breakthrough. 

Miller, who was set, looked to work one back past the bowler the ball just stood up on him and he could only punch it back into Chahal's hands.

Phehlukwayo had done all of the hard work and showed impressive application batting at No 7, but he became Chahal's fourth victim when he went dancing down the wicket looking to clear the ropes only to be beaten in the flight and stumped. 

Morris and Rabada then shared a 66 run partnership at the back-end of the innings that will leave South Africa with something to defend.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...