Virat Kohli is a dangerous batsman. Every team knows that. But as it turns out, the edge of his bat can be equally destructive.
It was his edge towards slip in the first innings of the third Test in Johannesburg that resulted in AB de Villiers sustaining a finger injury that ruled the star batsman out of the first three games of the six-match ODI series.
In the first ODI at Kingsmead, it was the turn of South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis to bear the brunt of Kohli’s edge. Fielding at slip, again, Faf failed to latch on to a Kohli edge off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada. The India captain went on to score a match-winning century as India tasted success in an ODI in South Africa for the first time in seven years.
However, Faf fractured his finger and now has been ruled out of the rest of the ODI and subsequent T20 series. Not only is Faf the leader of the pack but also the lynchpin of their batting line-up. His absence combined with the injury to De Villiers means India enter Sunday’s second ODI in Centurion with even more confidence knowing the hosts are down on personnel and confidence.
Inexperienced 23-year old batsman Aiden Markram, who has nonetheless started his international career well, has been named South Africa’s captain for the remaining five ODIs.
One last appearance for Dhoni at Durban. In all probability... His goodbyes begin on this long overseas cycle wherever he plays now. #SAvIND— Chetan Narula (@chetannarula) February 1, 2018
DHONI ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY
India wicket-keeper MS Dhoni got an opportunity to bat right towards the end of the opening game against South Africa, hitting a boundary in India’s successful chase at Durban. That took his tally to 9,902 runs from 313 ODI matches.
The 36-year-old is 98 runs away from becoming only the second gloveman in the history of ODI cricket to score 10,000 runs. What is even more remarkable about Dhoni’s impending record is that he will most likely enter the 10,000-run club as the only batsman to average more than 50.
No other batsman in the history of ODIs with more than 10,000 runs has averaged more than 45, making Dhoni’s returns even more impressive. Also, his strike-rate (more than 88) will be the second best in the 10k club behind Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (91).
Congratulations India on a very comprehensive victory. While Kohli and Rahane were outstanding, Chahal and Kuldeep ‘s spell was a big difference as well. #INDvSA— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 1, 2018
SPINNERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The wicket in the first ODI at Durban was surprisingly dry and gave India spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal considerable help as they took five wickets for 79 runs from 20 overs. The pitch in Centurion might turn out be equally, if not more, helpful.
The Centurion track was the driest among all surfaces during the three-match Test series and attracted a lot of criticism from the South African camp. If the wicket is even remotely dry on Sunday, South Africa’s batsmen should expect another harrowing 20 overs of wrist spin.
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