Virat Kohli (101* off 121) registered his record-equaling 49th ODI on his 35th birthday, while Shreyas Iyer scored 77 off 87 balls as India posted 326/5 against South Africa at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. With his latest hundred, Kohli equaled Sachin Tendulkar’s record of most ODI tons.
Batting first after winning the toss, India got off to a terrific start courtesy of another aggressive innings by skipper Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. He took on Lungi Ngidi in the third over and hit him for consecutive fours. In the next over, he smacked Marco Jansen for two boundaries. The Indian captain continued to attack and whacked Ngidi for two sixes as India raced to 61/0 after five overs.
Kagiso Rabada brought South Africa back in the contest as Rohit (40 off 24) hammered one through the off side, only for Temba Bavuma to take a brilliant catch at mid-off. Kohli came in and struck four boundaries early in his innings to ease into the 20s.
At the other end, though, Shubman Gill (23 off 24) fell to a beauty from Keshav Maharaj (1/30). The Indian opener was completely flummoxed by one that turned away and hit the top of off.
Maharaj kept things extremely tight, but Shreyas and Kohli batted with patience, not giving their wickets away. Once they got their eye in, they turned the screws on the Proteas, adding 134 runs for the third wicket. India steadily progressed to 143/2 at the halfway stage of their innings. Shreyas broke the shackles by launching Tabraiz Shamsi for a maximum in the 28th over.
After Kohli brought up a patient half-century with a single off Maharaj, Shreyas reached his fifty by launching Jansen over the infield for a boundary. Two more fours came off his bat in the same over as India’s innings regained momentum. Shreyas’ fine knock ended when he skied an off-cutter off Ngidi.
Suryakumar and Jadeja cameos lift India at the death
Kohli and KL Rahul struggled to find the boundaries following Shreyas’ exit. Rahul (8 off 17) fell to a brilliant running catch from Rassie van der Dussen as he attempted to flick Jansen (1/94).
Suryakumar Yadav came in and struck five fours in 22 off 14. Just when he was looking dangerous, he perished to Shamsi, gloving a reverse sweep – keeper Quinton de Kock taking a brilliant diving catch.
Kohli reached his hundred with a single off Rabada in the penultimate over. Ravindra Jadeja (29* off 15) played a scintillating cameo to push India past 325. In the last over, he whacked a slower ball from Ngidi for a maximum over midwicket. After the bowler limped off with an injury, Jadeja smashed Jansen for consecutive fours.