De Kock shines again but rain washes out third ODI

PRETORIA: Quinton de Kock became the fifth batsman to hit three centuries in three one-day internationals, but persistent rain at Centurion forced the third and final match of the series between South Africa and India to be abandoned on Wednesday.

De Kock followed up his 135 and 106 in the first two games by hitting 101, while AB de Villiers hammered 109 as South Africa posted 301-8.

However the rain swept in during the innings break and the players were unable to take the field for India’s reply, leaving South Africa to settle for a 2-0 series victory.

The 20-year-old De Kock’s innings made him the first wicketkeeper to achieve the feat of three tons in as many games, and also gave him the record for most runs in a three-match bilateral series.

While his first two centuries in the series had been breezy affairs, De Kock faced a more challenging situation on Wednesday after Ishant Sharma (4-40) claimed two early wickets to reduce the hosts to 28-3.

The left-hander dug in admirably alongside his captain De Villiers – and enjoyed some fortune when he was dropped on 37 and 43 – as the pair added 171 for the fourth wicket to put South Africa back in charge.

De Kock passed the 330 runs by New Zealand’s Martin Guptill in a three-match series against England this year, and joined Zaheer Abbas (1982), Saeed Anwar (1993), Herschelle Gibbs (2002) and De Villiers (2010) on the list of batsmen to score three one-day hundreds in a row.

Sharma ended the knock when he bowled De Kock with a slower ball, but he could not stop South Africa from taking 45 runs in the batting powerplay.

De Villiers struck five sixes in his 101-ball innings, and after he was trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav, David Miller took over the six-hitting responsibilities.

Miller struck three sixes in his unbeaten 56 off just 34 deliveries, as a couple of late wickets for Mohammed Shami (3-69) failed to prevent South Africa from reaching the 300-run mark.

That put South Africa in a strong position to record a series whitewash, but the inclement weather ensured it was not afforded the opportunity to do so.

The two teams now turn their attention to the two-match test series, which gets underway at the Wanderers next Wednesday.