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Virat Kohli ton upstages Faf du Plessis knock as India beat South Africa in Durban

Skipper Virat Kohli scored a century while Ajinkya Rahane hit 79 as Indian cricket team beat Faf du Plessis-led South Africa cricket team by six wickets in the first ODI in Durban. Earlier, Kuldeep Yadav took three wickets to restrict SA to 269.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2018 12:52 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Durban
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Durban
Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring his 33rd hundred in the first ODI against South Africa cricket team at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Thursday.(AP)

Virat Kohli (112) scored his 33rd ODI century, an extremely fluent and dominant one, to lead India to an emphatic six-wicket victory that not just helped them draw first blood in the six-match ODI series but gave them their first win against South Africa at Kingsmead after six losses.(INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA 1st ODI SCORES)

India had never won here in their seven outings against the hosts (one no result). However, Kohli’s faith in his two wrist spinners and in new No 4, Ajinkya Rahane, paid off as India were able to restrict South Africa to a total that allowed them the luxury to coast to the target. (INDIA vs SOUTH AFRICA 1st ODI HIGHLIGHTS)

Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav ran through the middle order to leave the Proteas tottering before skipper Faf du Plessis, with help from Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo, took them to 269.

Faf du Plesses struck 120, his ninth ODI century, to keep the innings together.

It proved too little as the Proteas attack that had troubled India here in the past, proved a damp squib.

India began well before Rohit Sharma mistimed a pull to be caught. Soon Shikhar Dhawan was run out to a direct hit by Aiden Markram off a Virat Kohli call. However, Rahane (79), who the skipper said on Wednesday would be tried at No. 4 after previous failed experiments, held on and with his skipper took them towards the finish line.

Chasing any target under lights here is a tough ask as the ball swings a lot due to breeze from the sea, hardly 300 metres away. However, the Proteas missed the likes of Dale Steyn, out injured, and even Vernon Philander, not in ODI plans, as none of the bowlers were able to trouble the compact India batsmen.

Both Rahane and Kohli batted patiently as invariably they were given at least a loose ball in every over. Right through the innings, the India batsmen, including the openers, managed to get a boundary almost every over, keeping the hosts under pressure.

Probably, Du Plessis missed a trick when he removed leg-spinner Imran Tahir after a couple of overs as Rahane was new to the crease and the South African leg-spinner had looked like taking a wicket. He brought in the innocuous Andile Phehlukwayo.

The contest wouldn’t have run even this far had Faf du Plessis not played a captain’s knock. His ninth ODI century lifted them after South Africa found themselves struggling at 134/5.

Following a good start despite losing Hashim Amla early, the hosts lost track when Kohli introduced his spinners. Quinton de Kock, who looked in great touch and was hitting the ball well, was out leg before to Yuzvendra Chahal.

Soon the floodgates opened as Chahal bagged another while Kuldeep chipped in with two. The hosts, who just couldn’t read the spin, found themselves on the mat. However, the skipper got some valuable support from Chris Morris, adding 74 with him and 56 with Andile Phehlukwayo.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 16:46 IST