CAPE TOWN - Virat Kohli slammed a masterful 160 not out to power India to 303/6 in the third ODI against South Africa at a sunlit Newlands on Wednesday.
Kohli thrilled a good crowd that had streamed through the gates despite the early 1pm start with some sublime stroke play. The India skipper came to the crease at the end of the first over after Kagiso Rabada had found the edge of Rohit Sharma’s bat. Debutant wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen, who came into the team for the injured Quinton de Kock, took a comfortable catch.
Kohli was untroubled throughout his innings, switching through the gears without breaking a sweat as he put together his 34th ODI century. He shared a 140-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan for the second wicket before the left-handed opener chipped JP Duminy (2/60) tamely to mid-wicket to be dismissed for 76 (63 balls, 12x4).
Dhawan’s dismissal was the catalyst for a recovery by the home team’s bowlers. Duminy, who bowled his allotted 10 overs on the trot from the Kelvin Grove End, followed up Dhawan’s dismissal by trapping Ajinkya Rahane lbw for 11 and Chris Morris removed the dangerous Hardik Pandya for 14 to see India lose three wickets for 48 runs.
Throughout this mini-collapse, though, Kohli stood tall even after MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav departed for 10 and one respectively a few overs later. Although the visitors were looking at a score close to 350 at one stage, his continued mastery of South Africa’s bowlers ensured India posted a total their bowling unit will be confident of defending.