Kuldeep Yadav, Rohit Sharma power India to historic series win vs South Africa

Kuldeep Yadav’s heroics with the ball and Rohit Sharma’s maiden ton in South Africa saw India win the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth by 73 runs and seal a historic series victory.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2018 11:43 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Port Elizabeth
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,Virat Kohli
India today scripted history winning their first ever away series against South Africa across any formats winning the fifth ODI by 73 runs taking an unassailable lead of 4-1 in the six-match series.(AP)

India created history, beating South Africa by 73 runs in the fifth One-day International here at the St George’s Park to win their first-ever series in the country. They lead 4-1 with one game to go at Centurion on Friday. (IND vs SA 5th ODI HIGHLIGHTS)

Opener Rohit Sharma (115 off 126 balls, 11x4, 4x6) finally came good in this series as he scored his 17th century, his first in South Africa, to help India get to 274 in their 50 overs. Although the middle order faltered a bit for India, Rohit’s effort, together with his partnerships with both Rohit and Virat were enough to give the visitors a score that proved too much for the Proteas. (IND vs SA 5th ODI FULL SCORECARD)

South Africa tried hard and despite losing early wickets, including that of AB de Villiers, tried to make a match of it. However, once Hashim Amla was run out by Hardik Pandya, it was left for Heinrich Klaasen to shoulder the responsibility and in the end it proved too much.

Amla top-scored with 71 while Klaasen made 39 off 42 balls. Spinners Kuldeep Yadav (4/57) and Yuzvendra Chahal (2/43) were again among the wickets. Hardik Pandya with two wickets, including that of De Villiers, and a run out of Amla and a catch towards the end was the main star for India in the second half.

Earlier, Rohit’s century carried India beyond the 200-run mark. It was the first time India crossed the landmark at this venue where they had lost all the previous five encounters.

The opener was lucky to get to his century as he was dropped three short of the milestone. Apart from that though, his knock was flawless.

Rohit had been troubled by the pace and the bounce on these wickets in the earlier games, not just in this series but on the previous tour, back in 2013. This time he buckled down, first letting Dhawan play the aggressive role and then getting himself into that mould.

The first boundary of his, off Morne Morkel, was a bit edgy as it went in the air, past the diving JP Duminy at point. He then came down the track and hit Kagiso Rabada for a six over long on to slay the nerves.

That set him going and from there, in the company of Virat Kohli, he never looked back.

Although the pitch supported movement early on, Rohit and Virat were never really bothered as the Proteas bowling struggled to make use of it before resorting to the scrambled seam to confuse the latter-order India batsmen.

India’s ability to fend off the new ball and not lose many wickets has been paying dividends off late. Opener Shikhar Dhawan had said earlier in the series that their team’s ability to see off the first 10 overs without losing many wickets – just one in most cases, has allowed the team to put pressure on the opposition.

In all the matches of this series, although India have lost an early wicket, of Rohit Sharma usually, the other opener and Virat Kohli have managed to build the innings that has helped to take India to a decent and challenging total which stretched the Proteas .

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 16:32 IST