Johannesburg, Feb 10: Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan marked his 100th One-Day Intertiol (ODI) with a brilliant 109 to take India to 289/7 in 50 overs in the fourth match against South Africa at the New Wanderers Stadium here on Saturday.
Ton-up Dhawan drives India to 289/7
In reply South Africa were 43 for one in 7.2 overs when Lightning stoped play. Markram out for 22 off 23. Hasim Amla (19) was at the crease.
Dhawan, who hit his 13th century, shared a 158-run second-wicket stand with captain Virat Kohli (75) as a ruthless India showed strong intent to clinch the six-match series.
India were cruising at 197/2 in 34 overs when the play was interrupted for nearly an hour due to lightning. After the play resumed, India lost the plot and lost wickets regularly to what looked an under-par total.
Before the interruption, however, Dhawan and Kohli, two of best in-form visiting players in the series, domited the home bowlers after India won the toss and opted to bat.
They didn't allow India to feel the loss of Rohit Sharma, who fell for five to extend his poor run of 0, 15, 20 in the series. The right-hander drove a full delivery back to paceman Kagiso Rabada, who maged to take a very low catch.
Kohli and Dhawan then steered India to a position of strength. Both matched strokes per strokes as they played sensibly, waiting for weak deliveries.
Kohli stamped his authority as he continued to punish the South African bowlers. For someone coming into the match with scores of 112, 46 not out, 160 not out, batting looked easy. He registered his 46th ODI fifty.
South Africa, playing without any spinners, looked out of ideas to stop the two with no variety in their bowling. Part-time Jean-Paul Duminy delivered four overs of spin but, expectedly, didn't look like taking a wicket.
At the other end, left-hander Dhawan pulled, cut, and drove with ease as the partnership flourished.
The stand was broken when Kohli hit pacer Chris Morris straight into the hands of David Miller at short cover, with India at 178/2 in 31.1 overs.
Later, Dhawan went on to complete his century, with a straight drive off a full toss from Morris crossing the mid-off fence giving him the three-figure score.
India's march was halted by lightening with dark clouds hovering over the New Wanderers Stadium.
When the match resumed, Dhawan was the first to be dismissed, driving Morne Morkel to AB De Villiers at mid-off.
Ajinkya Rahane (8) too perished, with a pull off Lungi Ngidi failing to clear Rabada at deep square leg. With these two wickets, things suddenly looked gloomy for India, who were at 210/4.
The saviour of India was old war-horse, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who remained not out 42 off 43 deliveries.
Brief scores: India: 289/7 (Shikhar Dhawan 109, Virat Kohli 75, Mahendra Singh Dhoni 42 not out; Lungi Ngidi 2/52, Kagiso Rabada 2/58) vs South Africa: 43/1 in 7.2 overs. IANS