South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis played a lone hand with a fighting century, taking his team to a respectable total of 269/8 in 50 overs, in the first ODI against India at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground, Durban, even as wickets fell around him.
Du Plessis and Andile Phehlukwayo kept the runs flowing with a 56-run partnership, during which Du Plessis brought up his century.
India vs South Africa, 1st ODI, latest update: Bhuvi bowls the final over.
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"The Indian spinners bowled well but we should have been better against them", Du Plessis said. But both Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar came round the wicket to the left-hander very early in the innings and made life hard for him, while Hashim Amla kept the scorecard ticking.
The next best contribution came via Chris Morris' 37 and, as is so often the case, talismanic India skipper Kohli (112) came to the fore with his 33rd ODI century, aided brilliantly by Ajinkya Rahane's 86-ball 79.
Kohli's match-winning innings also overshadowed the feats of his counterpart, Faf du Plessis, who rescued a faltering South African effort with 120 from 112 balls. We didn't bat well enough.
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Of more immediate concern is who, in Du Plessis' and De Villiers' absence, will captain South Africa in the second ODI in Centurion on Sunday. "He was superb, he took on the fast bowlers", Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony on Thursday.
When asked if he had suffered any injury while fielding, Du Plessis said, "Just a few battle scars". Wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal too have found a place in the playing eleven with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya being the medium-pacers.
Du Plessis reached his ninth one-day global century off 101 balls with 11 fours and added two sixes before being caught at long-off in the last over after a 112-ball innings. Du Plessis then temporarily consolidated and chose to take on the attack in the final five overs. But if India's top-three get going, they will end up making light work of this chase. It's a pretty easy decision because of the conditions around. One-day cricket, the intensity is a lot higher.
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Du Plessis scored his eighth ODI hundred after a half- empty Kingsmead Stadium bore witness to South Africa's top- order collapse. As a captain, its outstanding when you have two guys who know what they want to do.