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NEW DELHI: In-form Virat Kohli braved heat to score a superb unbeaten century as he guided India to 303/6 against South Africa in the third ODI of the six-match series in Cape Town on Wednesday.
FOLLOW: 3RD ODI, LIVE UPDATES
South Africa made a perfect start after sending India in with Kagiso Rabada getting rid of Rohit Sharma for a six-ball duck in the first over of the match. However, Shikhar Dhawan (76) and Kohli (133*) 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 South Africa captain Aiden Markram at short mid-wicket to be caught after 63-ball 76 that had 12 fours in it.
South Africa came back into the contest following the departure of Dhawan with JP Duminy getting rid of another in-form batsman Ajinkya Rahane for 11. 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 Heinrich Klaasen to walk 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. With less than 9 overs remaining, the pressure of raising the scoring rate got to Dhoni who had scored 10 off 21. He ended up hitting one straight into the hands of Lungi Ngidi off Imran Tahir. His departure brought Kedar Jadhav who guided one into the gloves of the ‘keeper after scoring just 1.
With India six wickets down on 236, it seemed South Africa will be able to restrict them but Bhuvneshwar Kumar hung around as Kohli picked up the scoring rate. His first fifty came in 64 deliveries, the second in 55 deliveries and the third in just 40 deliveries. He finished the innings with a bang, clattering a six and four off the final two deliveries, bowled by Rabada, and walked back to standing ovation having taken his team to a strong total.
Brief Score: India 303/6 (Virat Kohli 160*, Shikhar Dhawan 76) vs South Africa (JP Duminy 2/60)