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22 February 2024

Virat Kohli colossal again as India smash South Africa

Photo: AP


Virat Kohli and india's spinners hammered South Africa again on Wednesday in the latest episode of a one-sided ODI series, winning the third game by 124 runs to go 3-0 up with three to play.

Kohli was colossal to make 160 not out from 159 balls - his second century of the series - and lead india to 303-6 after South Africa put the tourists in to bat in an effort to find some way to stop Kohli's momentum.

That didn't work and, in a repeat of the first two games, South Africa also couldn't deal with spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who took eight wickets between them at Newlands as the home team was bundled out for 179 in 40 overs.

Chahal and Yadav, relative newcomers to international cricket, have taken 21 of the 28 South African wickets to fall so far this series, a return that underlines their complete dominance over the South African batsmen.

South Africa started the series as the No. 1 ODI team in the world and india No. 2 but those positions have been quickly reversed.

india came to South Africa on a compelling run of one-day form following eight successive series victories but even that didn't indicate how one-sided the contest would be, with india winning by six wickets and then an even more compelling nine wickets in the first two matches.

South Africa had won 17 straight ODI games at home before india arrived, but one more win from india in the last three ODIs will ensure it leaves South Africa No. 1 in tests and ODIs, a fair consolation after losing a close test series 2-1.

Wednesday's performance was even more impressive by india, even with South Africa without captain Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers and Quinton de Kock because of injury.

Kohli hit 12 fours and two sixes for his 34th ODI century and batted for 49 of india's 50 overs.

Yadav took 4-23 and Chahal 4-46 in South Africa's failed reply, brushing aside a half-century by JP Duminy as South Africa put on 79 for its first two wickets and then lost its next eight wickets for 100 runs once the slow bowlers were introduced.

Kohli came to the crease at the end of the first over after the early loss of Rohit Sharma and again was largely responsible for his team's total with a brilliant one-day innings. Shikhar Dhawan's 76 in a 140-run partnership for the second wicket with Kohli was also a significant part of the indian effort.

india captain Kohli, though, has been in consistently outstanding form on tour in South Africa, and his century was his second in the three one-day games against South Africa and his third in his last four ODIs.

He made 112 and 46 not out in the first two games of this series, and india won easily batting second.

Batting first made no difference in Cape Town as Kohli, relentless to the end, finished the innings with a big six over midwicket and a thumping four down the ground from the final two balls. Those boundaries took india past 300 and improved Kohli's strike rate to better than a run a ball.

South Africa had pulled it back after Dhawan was out to a diving catch by stand-in skipper Aiden Markram off spinner Duminy (2-60) to break india's best partnership.

Prompted by that breakthrough, South Africa took five wickets for 96 runs to slow what was an indian onslaught when Kohli and Dhawan were together.

india finished strongly, though, led of course by Kohli. He combined with Bhuvneshwar Kumar for an unbeaten 67-run partnership off 44 balls. Kohli made 43 of those runs from just 25 deliveries in india's last stand.