Rajkot, Oct 18 (IANS) Quinton de Kock led the way with a century as South Africa posted a total of 270/7 in the third One-Day International (ODI) against India at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday. Opening the innings along with David Miller, de Kock scored 103 runs off 118 deliveries to give a solid platform to the South African innings. He smashed 11 boundaries and a six before being run out. This was de Kock’s seventh ODI century. The left-hander and Faf du Plessis (60) put together an 118-run stand for the third wicket that threatened India. The Proteas started well with their batsmen handling the Indian bowling comfortably on the flat track. But the Indians pulled off a flurry of late wickets to restrict the visitors. Pacer Mohit Sharma was the most successful among the India bowlers with figures of 2/62 in his nine overs. The right-armer struggled to contain the South African batsmen in his first spell but returned to clinch the crucial wickets of Faf du Plessis and J.P. Duminy which helped put the brakes on the scoring rate. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra (1/38), experienced off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (1/41) and left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1/51) were also among the wickets. Opting to bat, South Africa were off to a steady start with openers Quinton de Kock and David Miller handling Indian pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma comfortably on the flat wicket. Miller, who had struggled during the earlier matches on the tour, was in much better form on Sunday. The footwork was back and some of his shots were a pure delight to watch.
The left-hander looked set for a big score until he mistimed a Harbhajan delivery only to edge the ball to Ajinkya Rahane at backward point. The visitors suffered a big blow soon after as Mishra outfoxed the experienced Hashim Amla with one that spun away after pitching. Faf du Plessis had a narrow escape when he misread a slower one from Mohit Sharma and holed out to Virat Kohli at long on. But Mohit’s celebration was cut short by the third umpire who ruled that the pacer overstepped the crease. Faf had a reprieve in the very next over as an Axar Patel delivery took the leading edge and spooned up in the air, but a diving Suresh Raina was unable to latch on to the ball. The Indians were left rue that costly miss as the right-hander went on to score a half-century. He built up an 118-run stand with de Kock as the duo put the Proteas on course for a big score. With the South Africans crossing the 200-run mark in the 38th over, the visitors seemed set for a 300-plus total. But du Plessis’ dismissal in the next over seemed to rob the South Africans of their momentum. Looking to smash Mohit through the off-side, du Plessis miscued his shot with Bhuvneshwar Kumar pulling off the catch at short third man. Quinton was run out in the very next over as Shikhar Dhawan pulled off a smart effort in the field. Patel then put the South Africans in further trouble by sending back the dangerous AB de Villiers. De Villiers, who got off the mark by smashing Harbhajan for a boundary through the covers, was trapped leg-before while attempting to cut Patel towards point. By the time, Duminy holed out to long on while trying to jack up the run rate, the visitors’ hopes of putting up a big total had all but vanished.