Opener Shikhar Dhawan said he was elated after scoring a century in the fourth ODI of the ongoing six-match series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Saturday (February 10), which was also his 100th international outing for India in the 50-over format.
Dhawan became the first Indian to score a century in his 100th ODI match. He scored 109 off 105 balls. The left-hander also became the first Indian opener since Sachin Tendulkar in 2003 (152 vs Namibia in the 2003 World Cup) to score an ODI ton in South Africa.
The Delhi batsman, who missed out on the three-figure mark despite getting good starts in the first three ODIs, played a solid knock, which included 10 fours and two sixes. He stitched a 158-run stand for the second wicket with captain Virat Kohli (75). | Full Scorecard |
With 271 runs from four matches at a staggering average of 90.33, Dhawan is only behind Kohli (393 runs) on the list of batsmen with most runs in the ongoing series.
"I enjoyed it. It cannot get any better. In my 100th match, I scored a century, very happy about it. Yeah, they [South Africa] came up with plans. I adjusted to those things, started off well. From the other end, Virat was also doing well. I have been playing well, want to continue the good work," Dhawan said at the post-match press conference.
Dhawan backs Chahal, Kuldeep to learn from 'failure'
Despite Dhawan and Kohli providing a solid foundation, the Men in Blue could only manage 289 on the board as they lost momentum after a break for bad weather.
India managed only 83 runs in their last 87 balls as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. MS Dhoni's 43-ball 42 gave the visitors some much-needed impetus in the last few overs.
Nonetheless, South Africa managed to register a convincing five-wicket win as they successfully gunned down a revised (DLS) target of 202 (28 overs) with 15 balls to spare.
Indian wrist spinners, who demolished the South African batting line-up in the first three ODIs, were taken to the cleaners after the rain break in the second innings. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal conceded 119 runs in just 11.3 overs.
Kohli's men also failed to convert the chances on the field as Shreyas Iyer grassed David Miller's catch in the 18th over. The left-hander was handed another reprieve when he was on just 7 in the same over when Chahal overstepped before finding a way through the batsman's defense
Miller made sure India paid the price by hitting a match-winning 28-ball 39.
Dhawan, though, backed India's wrist spinners, saying the Johannesburg ODI was a chance for them to learn. He also said it became difficult for the spin twins to "grip and turn" the ball after the rain break.
"They are young guys. They have done very well for us. Anyone can have a bad day. These two spinners won three games for us. My support is always with them," Dhawan said.
He added: "Usually, our spinners don't bowl no balls. But sometimes, luck favors the opposition too, [and] not just for us. It favored Miller, he took it with both the hands, he smacked a lot of boundaries and changed the momentum.
"As I said, it's not a thing that happens every time. They got hit and they will learn a lot of things. It is important to go through failures to learn in life. It's just one loss. We've already won three games, just one more win and we will be through."