Saturday, September 22, 2018 06:29:38 AM
The excitement of a series-decider met an anti-climax in Mumbai on Sunday where South Africa's trio of AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock turned the innings into record-breaking 438 runs, which proved too tall a mountain to climb for India who succumbed to 224 all out and lost the series 2-3.
Of the three formats South Africa are scheduled to play on their 72-day tour, they have beaten India now in T20Is (2-0) and ODIs to pocket two trophies and reconfirm their tag of the most successful travellers. The series win attained historic status as it was the first time South Africa won a bilateral ODI series in India.
But the trio of De Villiers (119), Du Plessis (133*) and De Kock (109) took it to a different level by scoring centuries that sent the innings into record books as one of the most prolific 50 overs. It was only the second occasion when three batsmen scored centuries in an ODI innings.
It was De Villiers third century of the series and first for Du Plessis after scoring three fifties in the previous four matches. De Kock now has five centuries against India.
The contrasting effect on the hosts was reflected in Bhuvneshwar Kumar's figures of 1 for 106 - the most expensive ODI spell ever by an Indian bowler.
It was never a realistic chase for India once Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli fell cheaply. But Shikhar Dhawan's 60, Ajinkya Rahane's 87 and their 112-run partnership for the third wicket gave South Africa a mini scare.
Once both the half-centurions were dismissed, the Indian innings came apart to lose the game by a huge margine of 214 runs with 14 overs to spare. Kagiso Rabade improved his CV further by claiming 4 for 41 to lead the Proteas attack ahead of Dale Steyn who took 3 for 38.
The win-toss-bat-first formula continued to prove decisive in the series as all five matches met the same fate. And AB de Villiers had no hesitation in doing so.
Hashim Amla took off like a fast train and became the fastest to 6000 ODI runs during his knock of 23. He broke Virat Kohli's record before being dismissed by Mohit Sharma as India went in with an unchanged eleven.
That followed two match-winning partnerships of 154 between De Kock and Du Plessis and then 211 between Du Plessis and De Villiers, which deflated India.
Those two partnerships were highlighted by 20 sixes in the innings and 169 runs South Africa hit in the last 12 overs.