Cape Town, Feb. 8 (TNS): An all-round show saw India crush South Africa by 124 runs in the third ODI in Cape Town as they took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the six-match series.
The wrist-spinners again spelled the doom for the hosts as the pair of Kuldeep Yadav (4/23) and Yuzvendra Chahal (4/46) shared eight wickets to bowl out South Africa for 179 in chase of 304.
It was a comprehensive performance from the visitors who, for the first time, recorded a third consecutive win in a bilateral series in South Africa. The Proteas never looked in the hunt as regular strikes pushed them on the backfoot with the Indian spinners bossing over them.
South Africa chase started on the wrong foot with Jasprit Bumrah trapping opener Hashim Amla with his first delivery of the innings in the second over. Stand-in captain Aiden Markram (32) and JP Duminy (51) attempted to resurrect the chase with a decent 78-run stand before the slide began.
Markram was outfoxed by Kuldeep to be stumped by MS Dhoni who became the first Indian and fourth overall to effect 400 dismissals in ODIs. Following his dismissal, the spinners tightened their stranglehold in the middle overs. Duminy, who returned to form with his 25th ODI fifty, soon followed when Chahal joined the fun trapping the well-set batsman in the 22nd over.
While Indian innings found a rock in Virat Kohli who scored a magnificent unbeaten 160 to help them breach the 300-run mark, there was no such luck for South Africa. They weren’t allowed to build any partnerships and the rising pressure combined with the spinning deliveries, contributed to a quick end. Debutant Heinrich Klaasen lasted six runs while David Miller tried settling in before Jasprit Bumrah returned to have him out caught behind on 25 as South Africa lost half their side on 129.
The last five wickets fell for the addition of just 50 with Chahal and Kuldeep inflicting the damage.
The foundations of a dominating performance were laid by India captain Kohli who braved the Cape Town heat and scored a magnificent unbeaten century after a nervy start. Kohli, who struck 160 off 159 with 12 fours and two sixes, recorded his 34th ODI century.
However South Africa started well after putting India in with Kagiso Rabada getting rid of Rohit Sharma for a duck in the first over of the match. But, Shikhar Dhawan(76) and Kohli stitched a huge 140-run stand between them for the second wicket to lead the recovery.
Dhawan was in fine touch, scoring at a brisk rate. He reached his 25th ODI fifty off 42 deliveries and looked set for three figures before chipping one to Markram at short mid-wicket to be caught after 63-ball 76 that had 12 fours in it.
South Africa came back strongly following the departure of Dhawan with Duminy getting rid of Ajinkya Rahane (11) cheaply. Allrounder Hardik Pandya was promoted and began well with a straight six off Duminy. However, a lack of footwork saw him nicking one from Chris Morris to debutant wicketkeeper Klaasen as he walked back on 14. From 140/1, India slipped to 188/4 in the space of 52 deliveries.
Meanwhile, Kohli, who had successfully reversed an lbw decision early in the innings, kept the scoreboard ticking even though he kept losing partners. With MS Dhoni at the other end, he reached his century off 119 deliveries. In the process, he overtook Sourav Ganguly’s record of 11 centuries as captain. The 29-year-old has now scored the most hundreds (12) as India captain.