Cape Town: Indian captain Virat Kohli hit 160 not out and led India to a third successive convincing win in the third one-day international against South Africa at Newlands yesterday.
India won by 124 runs to take a 3-0 lead in the six-match series. “We can’t lose the series so that is a huge boost for the team,” said Kohli. “Now we want to increase our intensity even more to close that door.”
Kohli dominated India’s total of 303 for six after the tourists had been sent in on a good batting pitch.
Needing to mount the highest successful run chase at the ground, South Africa fell woefully short. They were bowled out for 179.
Indian wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav again bamboozled the South African batsmen, taking four for 46 and four for 23 respectively. The two spinners have taken a combined 21 wickets in the first three matches of the series.
“They’re world-class spinners,” admitted South African captain Aiden Markram. “After the third time we have played them the guys are still struggling to read the ball.”
Markram gave credit to Kohli and the two spinners but added: “As much as they’ve played really well we’ve got ourselves to blame.”
Kohli hit his second century of the series and the 34th one-day international hundred of his career. He has scored 318 runs in three matches and only been dismissed once.
It could have been different, though. He was given out leg before wicket to Kagiso Rabada before he had scored. Umpire Ian Gould had to overturn his decision when an ultra-edge replay showed a spike as the ball passed the bat.
“I didn’t start off that well but it is another pleasing day individually and as a team,” said Kohli, who said he was struggling with cramp when he was on about 95. “There are times when you are tested and it is pleasing to go through it and do well.”
Kohli 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 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 balls.
The pair came together after Rohit Sharma was caught behind off Rabada in the first over without a run scored.
South Africa, already without three leading batsmen through injury, lost Hashim Amla leg before to Jasprit Bumrah in the second over. Markram and JP Duminy put on 78 for the second wicket before Markram was deceived by Yadav’s second ball and was stumped to start a slide from which the hosts could not recover.