Cape Town: Riding on captain Virat Kohli’s masterly century, his second of the series, India defeated South Africa by 124 runs in the third one-day international against South Africa and took an unprecedented 3-0 lead in the five-match series at Newlands on Wednesday.
Kohli made 160 not out off 159 balls in an Indian total of 303 for six after the tourists had been sent in on a good batting surface. South Africa, in reply, collapsed yet again to be all out for 179.
However, it was the 29-year-old Kohli’s sublime show on the day. The Indian captain took a relatively sedate 119 balls to reach his 34th one-day international hundred, hitting only seven fours, but added another five fours and two sixes off 40 more balls in a blazing finish to the innings. Kohli’s 160 was the highest individual score by an Indian batsman against South Africa in South Africa, going past Sourav Ganguly’s 127 at Johannesburg in 2001. It was also Kohli’s second-highest ODI score after 183 against Pakistan in 2012.
Kohli also became the Indian ODI captain with most hundreds to his name. He went past Ganguly again, who has 11 centuries in 142 innings.
Kohli now boasts of 12 hundreds as skipper but in only 43 innings. Kohli, with 318 runs in this series so far, now also has the most runs for a visiting batsman in a bilateral ODI series against South Africa in South Africa.
Ricky Ponting, with 283 runs in 2001-02, was the previous best. In terms of balls faced, it was the joint-slowest hundred for Kohli, after he faced 119 balls against Pakistan at Adelaide in 2015.
Kohli was content to play the supporting role in a second-wicket stand of 140 with Shikhar Dhawan, who pounded 12 fours in making 76 off 63 deliveries.
The pair came together after Rohit Sharma was caught behind off Kagiso Rabada in the first over without a run scored. The three-time ODI double-centurion now averages 12.10 in 10 innings on South African soil and has an ODI high score of only 23. Kohli survived an early lbw shout off Kagiso Rabada in the third over. He immediately asked for DRS review, which showed an inside edge and the decision was overturned.
Dhawan scored his 25th ODI half-century off 42 balls and took his team past 100 in the 18th over. Dhawan accelerated after reaching his mark, and scored 26 runs off next 21 balls he faced.
JP Duminy then provided the breakthrough. In fact, it was stand-in skipper Aiden Markram who did all the hard work and took a stunning diving catch to dismiss Dhawan. South Africa then triggered a mini-collapse in the middle order as India lost three wickets for 48 runs. Ajinkya Rahane (11) tried to needlessly attack Duminy and only skied a catch to Phehlukwayo. Hardik Pandya (14) was sent out to target the spinners, who were creating a bit of pressure backed up by some energised Proteas’ fielding.
South Africa clawed their way back before Kohli and Bhuvneshwar Kumar added an unbeaten 67 for the seventh wicket in the last 7.2 overs of the innings.
The South African chase began on a disastrous note. Hashim Amla continued his poor form. He fell in the very second over, falling to Jasprit Bumrah. Markram and left-hander Duminy revived the hosts’ innings by taking the score to 79. But Markram was foxed by Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav to be stumped.
Leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal trapped Heinrich Klaasen in front. The two Indian wrist spinners continued to torment the South African batsman. It soon became 95 for 4 as Duminy failed to read a Chahal delivery to be LBW.
The Indian bowlers pinned down the South African batsmen, who slipped further to finally to be all out in the 40th over.