Virat Kohli smashed 160 not out as India set South Africa a target of 304 for victory in the third ODI at Newlands.
Kohli’s terrific form with the bat continues. After hitting 112 at Kingsmead and 46 not out at Centurion, the India captain has struck yet another wonderful century at Newlands to put the visitors in charge of a crucial contest.
This after Aiden Markram won the toss and asked India to bat first. The Proteas, who are short on class and experience given the injury-enforced absences of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, and Quinton de Kock, may struggle to chase down what is a formidable target.
The decision to exclude a veteran bowler in Morne Morkel was a curious one. None of the Proteas bowlers troubled the Indian batsmen with any telling consistency.
Imran Tahir was economical yet largely ineffective. Andile Phehlukwayo was hit for 42 in six overs, while debutant Lungi Ngidi went for 47 runs in six.
Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli set the platform for the visitors with a partnership of 140 runs for the second wicket. Kohli was given out lbw on 0, but a subsequent review showed that the ball had brushed the bat before hitting the pad.
After Dhawan departed for 76, Kohli ensured that India maintained control as the end of the innings approached.
India did enough to keep the scoreboard ticking over between overs 30 and 45. The visitors lost three wickets during this period, but still managed to score 86 runs.
Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris did their best to contain India at the death, but failed to claim the big wicket that may have checked the run-rate and seen the visitors finishing with less than 280.
Kohli brought up his 150 in the final over, and received his due appreciation from the Newlands crowd. The India captain rounded off a magnificent innings by hitting Rabada for consecutive boundaries – a big 6 over midwicket and then a straight-drive for 4.
Thanks to Kohli, India look well placed to win this clash and take a 3-0 lead in the six-game series.
India 303-6 – Virat Kohli 160 not out, Shikhar Dhawan 76, JP Duminy 2-60
South Africa: 1 Hashim Amla 2 Aiden Markram (c) 3 JP Duminy, 4 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 5 David Miller, 6 Khaya Zondo, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Imran Tahir, 11 Lungi Ngidi
India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (c), 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images