CRICKET NEWS - India have inflicted a crushing nine-wicket victory over South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday and move 2-0 up in the six-match ODI series after bowling out their hosts for 118 – the lowest-ever total at this ground - before easing past their target inside 21 overs.
As it stands, South Africa are still the No 1 side in the world in this format but you’d be forgiven if you refused to believe that after watching this particular encounter.
After being sent in by Virat Kohli on a pitch that may have lacked the usual pace and bounce generally associated with this venue -- but was hardly an ‘Indian pitch’ as Sunil Gavaskar cheekily suggested -- South Africa’s batsmen were made to look ordinary against spin bowling that was controlled and attacking, yet far from unplayable.
In what is becoming a perennial problem, and one that will no doubt have Ottis Gibson scrambling for a solution, the home team failed to navigate a slow and turning ball as they lost their last nine wickets for just 79 runs.
Yuzvendra Chahal was the destroyer-in-chief as he bagged a career-best 5-22 from 8.2 overs but was well supported by Kuldeep Yadav (3-20 from 6 overs) as the pair secured the most wickets from spin in the ground’s history.
Shikhar Dhawan (51* off 56) and Kohli (46* off 50) then combined for an unbeaten and untroubled 93 for the second wicket to ease their side over the line with 177 balls left in the bank.
The victory procession was farcically halted when, with just two runs needed, the umpires called for the scheduled interval. Underlying the ridiculousness of it all, the winning runs were hit in front of a near-empty stadium nearly an hour later.