India opener Sharma ends South African hoodoo
PORT ELIZABETH – Indian opening batsman Rohit Sharma ended a South African hoodoo when he hit a century in the fifth one-day international at St George’s Park on Tuesday.
Sharma hit 115 in an Indian total of 274 for seven after the tourists were sent in to bat in a match which South Africa need to win to prevent India clinching the six-match series.
Sharma’s 17th one-day international century was his first major innings in three tours of South Africa. In 19 previous innings across both Tests and one-day internationals, his previous highest score was 47 and he had scored only 249 runs at an average of 13.11.
Although he was the mainstay of the innings, Sharma was at least partially complicit in two run-outs, both of which happened after he sent his batting partner back.
The first run-out accounted for captain Virat Kohli, who made 36 – his lowest score of the series – in a second wicket stand of 105 with Sharma. Kohli called Sharma through for a risky single, then could not beat JP Duminy’s direct hit at the bowler’s end.
Ajinkya Rahane was the second run-out victim, playing a ball to mid-on and almost reaching the other end of the pitch before realising Sharma was refusing a run.
Sharma hit 11 fours and four sixes in his 126-ball innings but should have been caught on 96 when Tabraiz Shamsi dropped a straightforward offering at third man off Kagiso Rabada.
As in the previous match in Johannesburg, the Indian innings lost momentum in the closing overs, with fast bowler Lungi Ngidi picking up four wickets as India were able to add only 103 runs for the loss of five wickets in the last 20 overs.