de Kock (101) and de Villiers (109) feast on the Indian bowlers yet again
On a day when the weather gods had the last word, 20-year-old Quinton de Kock proved that his baby-faced looks are deceptive as he revealed a mean streak and devoured his favourite attack yet again.
It resulted in the southpaw’s fourth ODI hundred (101) — third consecutive against India in the current series.
de Kock’s knock ensured that the early setback of losing three quick wickets was tided over as the Proteas posted 301 for eight at the dinner break during the final ODI of a three-match series here at the Super Sport Park.
Aiding de Kock’s prolific vigil at the crease was his skipper A.B. de Villiers, who, too, scored a ton (109), his 16th in ODIs, as M.S. Dhoni’s men were left gaping at another challenging target.
Sadly, that was the only action possible at the venue after thunder-showers lashed hard and washed out the rest of the game and South Africa took the series 2-0.
After a rain-drenched Tuesday, Wednesday ushered in a summer sun until the evening turned damp and despair lingered for the Indians, who would have fancied chasing on a fine pitch and against an attack sans Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who were rested for the game.
In the afternoon, de Villiers opted to bat and out strode Hashim Amla and de Kock. With alliances of 152 and 194 in the previous two games, the two have been formidable foes for India. Both began positively, picking fours off Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. However, another epic partnership proved elusive as Mohammad Shami dismissed Amla, and that too off a full-toss. Ishant then delivered a one-two punch.
Henry Davids, one of the three players drafted into the South African playing eleven after Jacques Kallis was also rested, poked around before edging to Suresh Raina at second slip.
Within three deliveries, Ishant had another wicket as J.P. Duminy edged and Raina was in the thick of action again.
Ishant, bowling closer to the off-stump and showing a hint of movement, drew his just rewards and went on to reach the milestone of 100 ODI wickets later in the game.
Meanwhile, the host tottered at 28 for three in 7.4 overs. If India seemed set for a perfect game at last, those hopes vanished as de Villiers allied wonderfully well with de Kock in a 171-run fourth-wicket partnership.
The middle overs were munched upon with relish as de Kock continued to bleed the Indians and his skipper, too, was adept at clearing the ropes as the fans started roaring again.
The runs came easy as de Kock lofted Virat Kohli twice over mid-wicket and into the stands. de Villiers slog-swept Ashwin and also smote the off-spinner over long-on.
Luck, too, was on de Kock’s side as he was dropped on 37 and 43, the second one being Yuvraj Singh’s misjudgement as the opener skied one off Ashwin. A century, however, was not to be denied and soon de Kock became the fifth batsman to score three consecutive ODI hundreds and got rousing approval from another member of that club — de Villiers.
Ishant finally castled de Kock, but de Villiers egged David Miller (56 n.o.) on.
The two added 53 for the fifth wicket, but the rest flickered.
However, the de Kock-de Villiers partnership was enough to power South Africa to a total that, at one stage, looked impossible.
The Indians, though, were denied a tilt at the target as the rain gods played spoilsport.