Sharma hits a fluent century and India wins the ODI series

By Kersi Meher-Homji

The fifth One Day International (ODI) between India and South Africa last night at Port Elizabeth in South Africa was a roller-coaster but India eventually triumphed by 73 runs to win the series 4-1 with one match still to be played on Friday at Centurion

This was India’s first bilateral series win in South Africa in ODI format. India has so far not won a Test series in South Africa.

Sent in to bat India started brilliantly, being 1 for 153, but lost her last six wickets cheaply to total 7 for 274. In terrible form in this series, Rohit Sharma was back at his brilliant best smashing 115 runs with 11 fours and four sixes.

In-form batsmen Shikhar Dhawan hit 34 with eight fours and then captain Virat Kohli scored a subdued 36 before he was run-out. Ajinkya Rahane was also run-out as Sharma looked the other way.

For South Africa fast-medium Lungi Ngidi bowled with accuracy and penetration to grab 4-51. He was near a hat-trick when he dismissed Sharma and Hardik Pandya in two balls.

South Africa started their reply confidently as openers Hashim Amla (71) and skipper Aiden Markram added 52 runs. Just then the Indian spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal took over and the hosts were dismissed for 201 and lost by 73 runs.

For his sensational century Sharma was voted Man of the Match.

A pleased Kohli said at the presentation (as quoted in CricInfo): “Very pleased, another complete performance from us. Only one thing had the pressure of losing this series and we knew that. It’s 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. When three guys at the top are being consistent, the guys who get an opportunity every now and then might not click.”

What now, Virat?

“After this series is wrapped up we’ll sit down and think about where to improve. For now,   4-1 feels great. We want to win 5-1 for sure, but yeah, there might a scenario for a few more guys to get a chance next match. But the ultimate priority is to win and we’ll do anything we can to win.”

Go for it, Virat Kohli!





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