Virat Kohli scores 34th ODI ton as India crush South Africa to go 3-0 up

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Kohli registered his 34th ODI ton in India's big win.

India took a 3-0 lead in the one-day series against South Africa after recording a comprehensive 124-run win in the third ODI at Newlands on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli‘s team amassed 303-6 in their 50 overs after being sent in to bat by Aiden Markram. Captain Kohli made his second century of the series, smashing an unbeaten 160 to go with scores of 112 and 46 not out in the first two games.

In reply, the Proteas were bundled out for 175 as they suffered a rare loss in what is their favourite home venue in ODI cricket.

We take a look at the good and the bad from India’s comprehensive win.

THE GOOD

KOHLI THE KING OF ODIs

Is there any stopping Virat Kohli in his current form? After registering his first-ever ODI ton on South African soil in the opening game, Kohli went one step further in Cape Town.

After India lost Rohit Sharma early, Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan steadied the ship with a 140-run stand for the second wicket. Kohli then had to watch as wickets tumbled around him following Dhawan’s dismissal. Even so, he made batting look easy on a wicket that was far from flat.

After reaching his century, Kohli led the hunt for late runs as he forged an unbeaten 67-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The 29-year-old brought up his 150 towards the end and finished India’s innings with a massive six and boundary.

Kohli collected 100 of his 160 runs through singles.

Kohli collected 100 of his 160 runs through singles.

NO STOPPING THE SPIN TWINS

South Africa needed to find a way to combat India’s wrist spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. If the Proteas did have a new gameplan after struggling against them in the first two ODIs, it wasn’t to be seen on Wednesday as the pair decimated the hosts once again.

Kuldeep broke a dangerous second-wicket stand between Aiden Markram and JP Duminy in his very first over before returning to dismiss Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi. Chahal on the other hand, also accounted for four Proteas batsmen.

With this, the two have have now accounted for 21 of the 28 South African wickets to fall in three matches.

Kuldeep and Chahal proved too hot to handle once again.

Kuldeep and Chahal proved too hot to handle once again.

THE BAD

MS DHONI’S STRUGGLES CONTINUE

That MS Dhoni has lost his edge with the bat over the last few years is well known. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman came into bat after Hardik Pandya’s dismissal. With the skipper going great guns at the other end, all Dhoni had to do was play the supporting role but he struggled.

The 36-year-old was unable to rotate strike effectively and put pressure on himself. The scoreboard pressure got to Dhoni as he stepped out to take on Imran Tahir but miscued his shot into the hands of the long-on fielder.

That dismissal brought an end to Dhoni’s scratchy 22-ball knock that yielded only 10 runs. He did affect his 400th ODI dismissal behind the stumps but in front of the wickets, Dhoni had a forgettable day.

Dhoni struggled to rotate the strike while batting with Virat.

Dhoni struggled to rotate the strike while batting with Virat.

HASHIM AMLA FALLS EARLY

For the third time in as many matches, Hashim Amla was dismissed before India’s spinners came on to bowl. The opening batsman is the best player of spin in the side, especially in the absence of AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis. With India’s spinners wreaking havoc, the hosts needed their best batsman to stay at the crease a lot longer.

However, Amla survived just two balls in the chase and with him, went most of South Africa’s hopes. The right-handed batsman missed the line altogether against a straight Jasprit Bumrah delivery while trying to shuffle across the stumps. The 34-year-old was trapped plumb in front and the umpire had no hesitation in sending him back.

Amla's innings was a short-lived one once again.

Amla’s innings was a short-lived one once again.

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If Virat Kohli plays as long as Sachin Tendulkar, he will score nearly 80 ODI tons for India

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Kohli hit his 34th ODI century on Wednesday.

Virat Kohli’s numbers in ODI cricket are staggering. There is no other way to put it. His unbeaten knock of 160 against South Africa in the third ODI in Cape Town was his 34th century in his 205th ODI, which is simply an unbelievable statistic.

Sachin Tendulkar is by far the most prolific batsman in ODI cricket with 49 centuries and 18,426 runs from 463 matches. That’s over 4,000 runs more than the next best (Kumar Sangakkara 14,234 runs) and 15 centuries more than the next man on the list – Kohli on 34. However, the rate at which the current Indian captain is churning out runs has put Kohli on track to leave the Mumbai master well behind when it comes to scoring centuries.

After 205 ODIs, Tendulkar had 7,593 runs at an average of 42.4. Kohli has 9,348 at an average of 57.3 at the same stage of his career. Kohli’s current rate of a century every 6.02 matches means if he ends up playing 463 ODIs and keeps up his scoring rate, he will end up with 77 centuries.

If you thought Sachin’s record of 49 ODI tons is amazing, just wait until Kohli is finished with his 50-over career.

Given Kohli’s fitness and age (29), it is safe to assume he will be good enough to play for at least six to seven more years. He made his debut in 2008 and has played 205 ODIs so far. And if he somehow plays around 260 more games, Kohli will not only shatter Tendulkar’s century record and reach a level that will most likely be beyond any other cricketer, he will also overtake the Little Master’s tally of 18,426 runs. Kohli is halfway there and looks good to break every record in the book.

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Mickey Arthur says ton-machine Virat Kohli will struggle in Pakistan

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Kohli has two ODI tons against Pakistan.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur attempted to downplay India captain Virat Kohli’s batting feats by stating that if the star batsman does tour Pakistan, he will struggle to score a century.

Kohli has hit 54 international centuries and following his match-winning ton in the opening one-dayer against South Africa has now reached three figures in ODIs in all nine Test playing nations. The one country not on that list is Pakistan; a venue missing from the itineraries of many countries because of security concerns and in India’s case, political tensions as well.

“Kohli is a fantastic player but our team will make it hard (for him) to score a century there (Pakistan),” Arthur was quoted as saying by the Pakistan Observer.

“It has been a great pleasure to watch Kohli scoring against all teams and it is always enjoyable to watch his batting. However, our bowlers will not make it easy for him to score there,” Arthur added.

Arthur’s statements make for interesting reading because Kohli recently hit a fine 153 against a menacing South African pace attack in the Centurion Test and followed that up with 95 runs in the third Test on a Jo’burg wicket that was nearly declared unfit for competitive cricket. He followed that up with innings of 112 and 46 not out  in the first two ODIs.

Kohli has scored 459 runs from 12 ODIs against Pakistan with two centuries and one fifty at an average of 45.9.

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