Yadav-Chahal restrict SA to 269/8, du Plessis hits 120
Durban, Feb 1 (PTI) Captain Faf du Plessis led from the front with an impressive 120 as he single-handedly took South Africa to 269 for 8 in the first cricket one-dayer against India here today.
India's leg-spin twins Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal shared five wickets among them in an impressive bowling show but du Plessis ensured that the Proteas have a competitive total on board after opting to bat.
Du Plessis scored his eighth ODI hundred after a half- empty Kingsmead Stadium bore witness to South Africa's top- order collapse. The hosts lost four wickets for 51 runs before du Plessis and Chris Morris (37) rescued them with a 74-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
The Protea skipper faced 112 balls from which he hit 11 fours and 2 sixes.
For India, Yadav took 3/34 and Chahal returned 2/45 as the duo excelled in their first proper overseas outing, underlining the team management's faith in leg-spin since July last year.
Earlier, South Africa won the toss and opted to bat. As expected, Aiden Markram came in for injured A B de Villiers and the hosts went in with only one spinner. India's playing eleven was along anticipated lines, with Ajinkya Rahane slated to bat at No. 4 for the first time since January 2016.
A sell-out crowd was expected for this first match of the six-ODI series but the fans -- mostly Indian supporters -- only arrived in spurts on account of a working Thursday, building up gradually over the afternoon. This is the only game of the Indian tour in Durban.
Hashim Amla (16) and Quinton de Kock (34) got off to a watchful start. The latter, in particular, took his time as he had been enduring a poor run of form. At the other end, Amla looked in good nick and scoring at a strike-rate of 90-plus.
They put on 30 runs for the opening wicket before Jasprit Bumrah (1/56) struck in the 8th over. He trapped Amla plumb lbw, albeit was lucky to have his front-foot only millimetres behind the line.
Just before this, India had a major injury scare when Virat Kohli hurt his knee while fielding in the 7th over. He struggled with his right leg for a while thereafter, and even went off to the Indian dugout to get attention from the physiotherapist.
South Africa scored 49/1 in the first 10 overs even as Hardik Pandya (0/41) came on to bowl first-change. More importantly though, Kohli went off the field -- this time to the dressing room to get further treatment -- in this interim as the knee niggle continued to bother him.
Meanwhile, du Plessis began his innings in attacking fashion. He put on 53 runs off 46 balls with de Kock for the second wicket. India had brought on spin from the 11th over itself as Chahal exerted control over proceedings. However, the Proteas' batsmen attacked Pandya and he was expensive in his first spell.
Chahal trapped de Kock lbw in the 15th over, and the batsman walked without bothering for a review. Had he opted for the referral, he would have survived. Du Plessis, alternately, would have been given out lbw on 18 if India had opted for DRS at the end of the 13th over.
The spinners took quick wickets thereafter and did not allow South Africa's partnerships to settle even as 100 came up in the 21st over. Aiden Markram (9) was caught off Chahal shortly after.
Then Yadav got into the act. He bowled J P Duminy (12) with one that kept low, whilst foxing David Miller (7) into a false shot as Kohli completed a smart forward-diving catch at short extra-cover.
South Africa were reduced to 134/5 and it allowed India to bring on Kedar Jadhav (0/19) to make up for Pandya's costly early spell. However, this also allowed the sixth wicket partnership to prosper.
Du Plessis reached his half-century off 54 balls and brought up his 50-partnership with Morris off 57 balls. South Africa recovered to reach 200/5 at the end of 40 overs.
Yadav returned for a final spell to bowl Morris in the 41st over. Du Plessis though stood tall and added 56 runs for the 7th wicket with Andile Phehlukwayo (26 not out). In doing so, he brought up his century off 101 balls.
Du Plessis' knock mirrored his grinding method from Test cricket and single-handedly anchored the South Africa innings, before he was out caught in the deep off Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1/70) in the last over. The duo opened up late in the innings as 32 runs came off the last three overs