Sharma sets up se­ries win for In­dia

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

PORT EL­IZ­A­BETH: Ro­hit Sharma ended a per­sonal South African hoodoo and set up a se­ries win for In­dia in the fifth one­day in­ter­na­tional at St Ge­orge’s Park on Tues­day.

S harm a’s 115 was his first ma­jor in­nings in three tours of South Africa – and In­dia’s 73-run win en­abled the tourists to take a win­ning 4-1 lead in the six-match se­ries, their first suc­cess in seven bi­lat­eral or mul­ti­team se­ries in South Africa.

“It’s a won­der­ful feel­ing to have cre­ated some his­tory,” said In­dian cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli, who praised what he de­scribed as a “com­plete per­for­mance” by his team.

“The guys re­ally got stuck in, with the bat and the ball and in the field as well.”

South Africa’s chances of over­haul­ing In­dia’s 274 for seven plum­meted when they lost their first three wick­ets in­side the first 13 overs. Hardik Pandya struck cru­cial blows by dis­miss­ing JP Du­miny and AB de Vil­liers.

Hashim Amla played a mea­sured in­nings of 71 and shared part­ner­ships of 62 with David Miller and 39 with Hein­rich Klaasen. He was run out by a di­rect hit from Pandya, ef­fec­tively end­ing the home team’s hopes.

In­dian wrist spin­ners Kuldeep Ya­dav and Yuzven­dra Cha­hal were ef­fec­tive on a slow pitch, tak­ing four and two wick­ets re­spec­tively.

“Our bat­ting wasn’t up to scratch,” said South African cap­tain Aiden Markram. “We lost wick­ets in clumps. But we have to give credit to In­dia, they’re play­ing in­cred­i­bly well.”

Sharma’s 17th one-day in­ter­na­tional cen­tury ended a run of low scores in South Africa. In 19 pre­vi­ous in­nings across both Tests and one-day in­ter­na­tion­als, his pre­vi­ous high­est score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an av­er­age of 13.11.

He said he had en­sured that he stayed in a good frame of mind de­spite not mak­ing big scores.

“I have been en­joy­ing South Africa. It’s a good place to play cricket. I knew I didn’t have to change a lot and the runs would come,” he said.

With the se­ries won, us­ing only 12 of In­dia’s 17-man squad, Kohli said: “We want to win 5-1 but there might be a sce­nario to give a few (other) guys a chance.”

Ro­hit Sharma

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