Cape Town: Run machine Virat Kohli carved out his 34th ODI hundred and second of the series to push India to 303 for six in the third match against South Africa here today.
Kohli scored an unbeaten 160 off 159 balls for 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.
It was not an easy wicket to bat on but Kohli made run-scoring look easy as some of the other batsmen struggled to get going.
Such was the nature of his innings that he scored only 60 runs through boundaries while he had to run hard for the remaining 100. In total, he collected 12 fours and two sixes.
He also became the first Indian batsman to score a hundred against South Africa at Newlands. Only Ganguly previously had an ODI century at this ground, but that came against Kenya in March 2003.
Records kept tumbling as his innings progressed. He 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 hundred 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. But in doing so, Kohli put on 140 runs with Shikar Dhawan for the second wicket.
The left-handed opener scored 76 runs off 63 balls (12 fours) to rescue India from a poor start after South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl.
The Proteas made three changes to their playing eleven after the Centurion defeat. Lungi Ngidi and Heinrich Klaasen were handed their ODI debuts and came in for Morne Morkel and injured Quinton de Kock, respectively.
Andile Phehlukwayo has included ahead of Tabraiz Shamsi as the hosts played an only full-time spinner. India fielded an unchanged side again.
Rohit Sharma (0) continued his poor run in this ODI series and was caught behind off the sixth ball he faced. 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 (on 0*) survived an early lbw shout off Kagiso Rabada (1-54) in the third over. He immediately asked for DRS review, which showed an inside edge and the decision was overturned.
Dhawan and Kohli then came together, and piled on the runs, almost continuing from where they had left off in the previous match. They hit a plethora of boundaries in the first 10 overs as India were placed at 50/1 at the end of the first powerplay.
Momentarily though, India s run-rate dipped below 5/over as Chris Morris (1-45) exerted some control over proceedings.
In the meantime, 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. Part of the reason had to do with Imran Tahir s (1-52) inclusion into the attack as Dhawan-Kohli pairing milked his bowling for runs. India s run-rate suddenly soared past six runs per over.
JP Duminy (2-60) 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 who had danced down to the part-timer.
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. He did hit one six in his 15-ball stay but otherwise looked pretty unconvincing before edging behind off Morris.
MS Dhoni (10) then stemmed the down-curve and added 40 runs with Kohli. In this passage of play, Kohli brought up his hundred off 119 balls, including seven fours.
Oddly enough, quite a few South African bowlers used off cutters as the ball seemed to stop before coming onto the bat, indicating that the wrist-spinners will once come into play.
Kedar Jadhav (1) played a nothing shot and edged behind off Phehlukwayo (1-42) as India were reduced to 236 for six in the 43rd over.
The skipper then found a stable partner in Bhuvneshwar Kumar (16 not out) and the duo added 63 runs off only 43 balls for the seventh wicket, taking India to a challenging total.