After suffering a 5-wicket defeat (DLS method) at the hands of South Africa in the fourth one-day international at New Wanderers Stadium Johannesburg, India opener Shikhar Dhawan said that the rain didn’t help the cause of the visitors as the wrist spinners found it difficult to grip the wet ball.
Dhawan, who recorded his 13th ODI ton (109 off 105 balls) in the rain-curtailed affair at Wanderers, also rued giving second chance to the swashbuckling Proteas batsman David Miller.
“The main reason was, of course, the dropped catch and then a wicket off no-ball. From there the momentum changed. Otherwise we were in very good position,” Dhawan quoted in the post-match press conference.
“Of course rain had an impact too. Our spinners couldn’t turn the ball or grip the ball the way they did in the last three matches. It makes a difference when the ball gets wet. That’s the reason,” he added.
Miller was dismissed by Yuzvendra Chahal when he was on 7 but was saved after the replay showed that Chahal had overstepped. The southpaw then went on to score 39 runs in 28 balls. Miller put on a 74-run stand for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who scored a scintillating 27-ball 43 as South Africa sealed the deal with 15 balls to spare.
“Miller also played very well. Luck was on his side. First he was dropped and then got bowled off a no ball. Usually our spinners don’t bowl no balls. He took that chance with both hands and went on to change the momentum of the game,” Shikhar said.
India didn’t experience the best of start in the fourth ODI as Rohit Sharma perished for only 5 to Kagiso Rabada. However, Dhawan was determined to make it count on this occasion after registering the scores of 35, 51* and 76 in the previous encounters. The southpaw forged a 158-run stand for the second wicket with skipper Virat Kohli (75 off 83 balls) before India suffered yet another collapse in the middle order.
Dhawan was finally dismissed by Morne Morkel on 109 – an innings laced with 11 boundaries and 2 sixes. MS Dhoni’s 43-ball 42 at the last stage propelled the visitors to a highly competitive total of 289/7 in their 50 overs. However, the rain-break during South Africa’s innings meant that the revised target for the hosts is 202 in 28 overs.
“We took the decision to bat first because in the evening the ball moves here. There’s also the effect of the breeze and it can have an impact. Of course, we were batting in a flow when the rain came and our flow was broken. After that I got out. Then the runs didn’t come at the same pace. But that doesn’t mean the total was bad. But once it rained again, the outfield became wet,” Dhawan opined.
The carnage of Proteas batsmen saw India’s wrist spinners conceding 119 runs in 11.3 overs in the fourth ODI. In contrast, the duo of Kuldeep and Chahal have picked up 21 wickets in the first three ODIs while bowling in tandem.
Defending the young wrist spinners Dhawan said: “See they are young guys. They have been doing very well, more than well for us. These two spinners have won three games for us. My support is always with them. Anyone can have a bad day. It’s not something that happens every time. Like our spinners don’t often bowl no balls. Even if they get hit, they will learn a lot of things.”
Since it was Shikhar’s 100th one-day international match, he also joined an elite list of batsmen who have scored a ton in their 100th ODI. Talking about his innings, the left-hander said: “It was a picture perfect innings. I enjoyed it. It cannot get any better. In my 100th match, I scored a century. I’m very happy about that. Obviously they had their plans, but I adjusted to those things and started off well.”
“From the other end, Virat was also going well and so I supported him. I am happy that I scored a century today. I just want to continue and improve the quality of my game,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)