Ishant Sharma India
Ishant Sharma picked up four South African wickets in the third ODI. BCCI

Now, Ishant Sharma is not considered to be one of cricket's foremost intellects; but when the India fast bowler said South Africa opener Quinton De Kock, the undoubted man of the ODI series, was "lucky" to score three consecutive centuries, it was you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me-worthy.

Ishant actually had one of his more memorable games of late, where he took wickets and kept the run scoring to a minimum, considering the ease with which the South African batsmen have tonked the Indian bowlers in the ODI series, which the Proteas won 2-0 after the third one-dayer was abandoned.

However, the lanky pacer left himself open to ridicule by suggesting De Kock was only able to get to those three consecutive centuries thanks to lady luck.

"I think he has been quite lucky," Ishant told reporters after the third ODI was called off due to rain. "I can say that. Because the ball is getting in between fielders, he is getting top edges, players have been dropping catches off him.

"I think you have to take positives. If he is scoring, good for him. What we can do is more important."

Sure, De Kock was a little fortunate to be at the crease long enough to complete his fourth international century, with Ajinkya Rahane and Yuvraj Singh dropping the elegant left-hander, who is still to turn 21 don't forget, on 37 and 43.

But then, which batsmen don't get lives when they are batting; the longer you bat the more likely you are to give a few chances to the fielding side. Calling that luck might be Ishant's way of coping with India's abysmal performance in the ODI series, but that really is about it.

Both De Kock and AB De Villiers could not hide their amusement when asked about Ishant's comments on the Proteas opener's three outstanding knocks.

"He was telling the truth," de Kock said while trying to hide his laughter. "I did get a bit lucky today [Wednesday]. There were two dropped catches and I was really angry with myself. I just had to go back into my bubble again."

What cannot be denied is the undoubted ability of De Kock, who seems to have pretty much every shot in the book, and then some. Yes, the bowlers could have hit the right areas, as MS Dhoni suggested so many times over the series, more often, but at the end of the day, De Kock was just too good in the series - a tip of the hat and we will get you next time, the more apt thing to say.

Ishant, apart from the puzzling comments, did have a good day in the field, picking up four wickets for just 40 runs. The lanky pacer sent Henry Davids and JP Duminy packing early on, leaving SA reeling on 28 for three, which unfortunately India could not capitalise on, as De Kock and De Villiers put on a splendid partnership while helping themselves to deserved, not lucky, centuries.

The fast bowler, who became the 16th Indian to reach 100 wickets in ODIs on Wednesday, would also dismiss De Kock, before grabbing a wicket late on to come away with commendable figures. Dhoni was impressed by Ishant's performance, and felt the 25-year-old had finally hit the right lengths.

"If tall bowlers bowl the right lengths you can get wickets. He [Ishant] worked hard with the bowling coach and played a few domestic games after recent loss of form. He bowled brilliantly today," Dhoni said.

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