Port Elizabeth: Virat Kohli and his men rose to the occasion as India registered a historic 73-run win over South Africa in the fifth one-day international here on Tuesday. India thereby clinched their first-ever series in South Africa.
Rohit Sharma finally ended his run drought with a well-paced 115 (11×4, 4×6) to set up India’s win as the tourists put up 274 for 7 in 50 overs. The home team gave a good fight before folding up for 201 in 42.2 overs.
A superior India bowled splendidly to bottle up the South Africans. Seasoned opener Hashim Amla kept South Africa in the hunt with a 71 off 92 balls. But Hardik Pandya, who bowled brilliantly, ran out Amla with a splendid throw from mid-off to disturb the stumps at non-striker’s end. The replays showed Amla was marginally short of the crease. It turned out to be the turning point of the match as South Africa lost their way after Amla’s departure.
But after Amla’s departure, Heinrich Klaasen fought gamely by making at 42-ball 39 before his exit in the 42nd over spelt the South Africa’s doom. Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav scalped three wickets in his tenth over when he dismissed Kasigo Rabada, Klaasen and Tabriaz Shamsi to signal India’s win.
Earlier, Rohit notched up his 17th ODI century. He hit 11 boundaries and four sixes in his 126-ball innings. It was also his second ton against South Africa, the first one came in 2015 at Kanpur when he scored 150.
The century also helped Rohit become the fourth highest century scorer in ODIs for India, following Sachin Tendulkar (49), Virat Kohli (34) and Sourav Ganguly (22).
For South Africa, Lungisani Ngidi was the pick of the bowlers returning figures of 4/51 while Kagiso Rabada picked up a wicket. Asked to bat, openers Shikhar Dhawan (34) and Rohit got India off to a decent start before the former was removed by South African pacer Kagiso Rabada while trying to pull a good bouncer which ended straight into the arms of Andile Phehlukwayo at deep square leg.
Rohit, who struggled to score in the previous ODIs started his innings in similar fashion.