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Rohit Sharma credits top order batsmen for India’s ODI series win in South Africa

Rohit Sharma said that India’s historic series win against South Africa was made possible because of the contribution of the top three batsmen and the middle order did not get enough chances to perform.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2018 11:39 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Port Elizabeth
South Africa vs India,Rohit Sharma,Port Elizabeth
Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant ton as India defeated South Africa in the 5th ODI in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.(AP)

For a team that has won all the major one-day tournaments --- World Cup, Champions Trophy and multi-nation World Series Cup, victories in bilateral series or tri-series in top cricketing nations have been few and far between. (HIGHLIGHTS)

While they have won just two of the eight bilateral series in England – one was given on run rate, they have clinched just one tri-series tournament in Australia with no wins in bilateral series. On Tuesday, they finally clinched their first bilateral ODI series in South Africa. (SCORECARD)

Rohit Sharma, who scored a match-winning century at the St George’s Park here on Tuesday and was also part of the tri-series win in Australia in 2008, said this victory is special.

“This will be right up there. After 25 years, we have won a series in South Africa. Not the easiest place to play cricket, definitely not the easiest place to win a series. We won the tri-series in Australia. Even that series was quite tough. For me, it is difficult to compare the two. I mean it is difficult to say which series means more but I think this series means a lot to us. The way we played from the first game, we have dominated the series.”

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

Skipper Virat Kohli said, “Only one team had the pressure of losing this series (South Africa). It is history and the guys have worked hard for it. Ever since the third Test in Johannesburg, it’s been a good time for us. It’s been a collective effort to create history.”

Rohit added that the dominant performance will go a long way in helping the team get into the habit of winning overseas.

“It was a dominant performance from us. It will only give us confidence as a team to go outside and keep winning those series,” said Rohit.

Rohit felt the victory has been made possible because of the contribution of the top three and felt that the middle order or the lower order hasn’t got enough opportunity to bat.

READ | Rohit Sharma century guides India to first-ever series win in South Africa

“Whatever series we have played before, in India and in Champions Trophy, a lot of the scoring has been done by the top three guys. It augurs well for the team. We always talk about batsmen batting through the innings. That is what we are trying to do. The top three have got the best opportunity because they get to play maximum balls. So our three’s responsibility is that if we are set then we have to try and play long.”

Interestingly, the Indian team won without a sixth bowling option. Of late, they have been including Kedar Jadhav, who offers an option with his spin bowling. However, Shreyas Iyer was picked ahead of Kedar Jadhav for the fifth ODI and Rohit gave credit to the bowlers, especially Hardik Pandya, for bowling in a tight situation like this where they lacked an option.

“It’s always good to have the cushion of that sixth bowler. Kedar has unfortunately been injured. That provided these guys a challenge knowing they don’t have anyone else to bowl those overs if needed. The confidence that they gotfrom the last two games is immense. We have confidence in those five bowlers that we played. Hardik deserves special mention -- the way he came out and bowled in the middle, at the start, towards the end as well. He got crucial breakthroughs.”

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 08:47 IST