The two put on a record 189-run partnership to end South Africa’s 17-match winning streak at home
Captain Virat Kohli struck a stylish century to lead India to a comfortable six-wicket victory over South Africa in the first One-Day International on Thursday and end the hosts’ 17-match winning streak on home soil.
India amassed 270 for four to reach the target with 27 balls to spare at Kingsmead after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, who won the toss, scored 120 of his side’s 269 for eight.
A record 189-run third-wicket partnership between Kohli, who made 112, and Ajinkya Rahane (79) set up India’s victory in the opening game of the six-match series.
Kohli reached his 33rd ODI hundred off 105 balls while Rahane’s flamboyant knock came off 86 balls.
Their stand was the highest for the third wicket in an ODI at Durban, beating a two-decade-old mark held by Pakistan, and ensured India eased to victory with plenty to spare.
Earlier, opting to bat, South Africa got off to a patient 30-run start before Jasprit Bumrah’s sharp inswinger trapped opener Hashim Amla in front. du Plessis and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock (34) shared a 53-run second-wicket stand before Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep crippled the hosts with some excellent bowling.
The South African skipper started well by punishing pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar for three consecutive boundaries as the second-wicket partnership flourished before leg-spinner Chahal struck with the wicket of de Kock, trapped in front. Chahal jolted the hosts further with the wicket of Aiden Markram, thanks to a brilliant catch from Hardik Pandya.
Kuldeep joined the party with the quick dismissals of Jean-Paul Duminy and David Miller even as du Plessis looked comfortable driving Kuldeep for a couple of runs through extra cover.
Duminy found the going tough against the chinaman bowler before a googly, which kept low, broke through his defence to leave the hosts at 122 for four.
Miller, who walked in next, also struggled against Kuldeep and all he could manage was a drive to skipper Kohli, who completed a good catch diving forward at short cover.
From 134 for five, du Plessis and Chris Morris (37) piled on the runs to take South Africa to a better-than-expected total, and hand a sell-out crowd hope, but still significantly short of a winning score.
du Plessis, who survived a few close chances before reaching his century with a single off Bhuvneshwar Kumar, raised a 56-run partnership in the company of Andile Phehlukwayo (27 not out). The skipper fell in the final over of the innings, holing out to long-off.
Kuldeep Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers, finishing with figures of three for 34 in his 10-over spell.
India had won eight of its previous nine ODIs chasing down a target, and Kohli felt his side was always in with a chance of doing so again.
“It was a special knock for me because the first game of a series is always important. When we restricted South Africa, we knew we needed one partnership to effectively take us home,” said Kohli at the presentation ceremony.
The second game of the series is at Centurion in Pretoria on Sunday. South Africa tops the ICC ODI team rankings while India is second.