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Dhawan, Kohli shine, India posts 289 against South Africa
Johannesburg: After threatening to post a much higher total when Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were playing, India ended up at 289/7 against South Africa in the fourth One Day International of the six-match 50-over series at the here on Saturday.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, however, added some spices at the end, scoring 12 runs off the final over. India scored just 53 runs, losing three wickets, in its last 10 overs.
The saviour of India was old war-horse, Dhoni, who remained unbeaten at 42. He hit three fours and a six in his 43-ball knock.
Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were the charm of Indian innings. Both shared 158-run stand for the second stand.
Dhawan got into three digits, joining elite list of batsmen scoring a ton in their 100th ODI game. Gabbar's splendid 105-ball 109-run inning was laced with 11 fours and two sixes.
Captain Virat Kohli failed to convert his half-century into his century number 34. He played an audacious 75-run knock. His 83-ball inning was studded with seven fours and one six.
India were cruising at 197/2 in 34 overs when the play was interrupted for nearly an hour due to lightning. After the play resumed, India lost the plot and lost wickets regularly to what looked an under-par total.
Before the interruption, however, Dhawan and Kohli, two of best in-form visiting players in the series, dominated the home bowlers after India won the toss and opted to bat.
They didn't allow India to feel the loss of Rohit Sharma, who fell for five to extend his poor run of 0, 15, 20 in the series. The right-hander drove a full delivery back to paceman Kagiso Rabada, who managed to take a very low catch.
Kohli and Dhawan then steered India to a position of strength. Both matched strokes per strokes as they played sensibly, waiting for weak deliveries.
Kohli stamped his authority as he continued to punish the South African bowlers. For someone coming into the match with scores of 112, 46 not out, 160 not out, batting looked easy. He registered his 46th ODI fifty.
South Africa, playing without any spinners, looked out of ideas to stop the two with no variety in their bowling. Part-time Jean-Paul Duminy delivered four overs of spin but, expectedly, didn't look like taking a wicket.
At the other end, left-hander Dhawan pulled, cut, and drove with ease as the partnership flourished.
The stand was broken when Kohli hit pacer Chris Morris straight into the hands of David Miller at short cover, with India at 178/2 in 31.1 overs.
Later, Dhawan went on to complete his century, with a straight drive off a full toss from Morris crossing the mid-off fence giving him the three-figure score.
India's march was halted by lightening with dark clouds hovering over the New Wanderers Stadium.
When the match resumed, Dhawan was the first to be dismissed, driving Morne Morkel to AB De Villiers at mid-off.
Ajinkya Rahane (8) too perished, with a pull off Lungi Ngidi failing to clear Rabada at deep square leg. With these two wickets, things suddenly looked gloomy for India, who were at 210/4.
At the other end, Ngidi and Rabada accounted for Shreyas Iyer (18) and Hardik Pandya (9) to dent India's hopes of a late surge but Dhoni once again showed why he is so important for the side.
Brief scores: India: 289/7 (Shikhar Dhawan 109, Virat Kohli 75, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 42 not out; Lungi Ngidi 2/52, Kagiso Rabada 2/58) vs South Africa.