Rohit Sharma ended a personal South African hoodoo and set up a series win for India in the fifth one-day international at St George’s Park on Tuesday.
Sharma’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, the first success for the men’s team in seven bilateral or multi-team series in South Africa.
The hosts’ chances of overhauling India’s 274/7 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.
“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.
And sure enough, there was plenty of praise for this team’s efforts in achieving what their predecessors couldn’t - starting from praise from the opponent camp...