South Africa vs India 2018: Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli's majestic partnership is SK Play of the Day
On a glorious sunny afternoon at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town, India flexed their muscles and put on a resplendent batting performance against the beleaguered South African outfit in the third ODI of the six-match series.
With a majestic 140-run partnership for the second wicket, opener Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Virat Kohli set the platform for India's maiden 300-plus ODI total against South Africa on South African soil.
Even though conditions suggested otherwise, stand-in captain Aiden Markram won the toss and surprisingly decided to bowl first. When the surface began to facilitate run-making, the inexperienced home team captain was left to rue his decision as his bowlers failed to control the charge of the Indian batsmen.
After losing Rohit Sharma to Kagiso Rabada in the very first over of the match, India seemed to be in a spot of bother. However, Dhawan and Kohli joined hands to keep the hosts at bay. While the left-hander smashed a fluent 63-ball 76, the skipper carried on unabated and hammered a record-breaking 160. The duo's tone-setting partnership is Sportskeeda's Play of the Day.
Dhawan and Kohli flay South African attack
Making his ODI debut, Lungi Ngidi immediately came under the firing line as Dhawan sent his first ball in the 50-over format screaming to the cover boundary. The sublime shot did not just fetch him four runs but also made his intentions pretty clear. He was going after the South African pacers right from the outset.
Dhawan upped the ante against Ngidi by plundering a couple of contrasting boundaries in the fourth over of the innings. The debutant was placed under immense pressure from the unrelenting left-hander.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Kohli utilised the Decision Review System (DRS) and survived a lbw call off the bowling of Rabada. A rare loose delivery from the young pacer got the star batsman going. The stage was set for an intriguing battle between two of the best in the business.
When he picked up length very quickly and unleashed a ferocious pull shot, Kohli's already burgeoning confidence started to reach sky-high. The regal stroke was a statement of intent from the dynamic right-hander and it made Rabada aware of what he was going to be up against.
With Ngidi leaking runs aplenty, captain Markram removed him from the bowling attack and shifted attention towards the likes of Chris Morris and Andile Phehlukwayo. Sensing the change in dynamics, Dhawan and Kohli milked singles as well as doubles to keep the scorecard ticking.
The introduction of Imran Tahir did not help matters at all for South Africa. Dhawan did not allow him to settle down by reeling off a couple of boundaries from the leg-spinner's first over. After bringing up his 25th ODI fifty, the southpaw did not show any signs of stopping.
When it seemed like the partnership was going to blossom even further, the off-spin of JP Duminy did the trick for the Proteas. The part-time spinner tossed one up in order to entice the drive. Dhawan charged down the track and drove in an uppish manner. However, Markram leapt high to complete a smart catch.
Despite securing the breakthrough, South Africa were unable to take control of the proceedings as Kohli stood firm at the crease. The in-form run machine paced his innings to perfection and ensured that the platform laid by the 140-run second-wicket partnership was fully capitalised upon. He remained unbeaten on 160 and lifted India to a hefty total of 303.