India 282 for 3 (Shreyas 113*, Kishan 93) beat South Africa 278 for 7 (Markram 79, Hendricks 74, Siraj 3-38) by seven wickets
The ease with which India reached 280 – with 25 balls to spare – could make South Africa’s total look far off the mark. They lost both openers in the powerplay when Quinton de Kock reached for a wide Siraj delivery but did not move across to meet it and chopped the ball onto his stumps, and Janneman Malan became Shahbaz’s first international wicket: out lbw on review.
Markram’s arrival led to Kuldeep being brought on, in the hope that the wristspinner would remove South Africa’s No.4 for the fourth time in sixth matches. He beat Markram with drift and flight and reviewed an lbw shout off the eighth ball he bowled to him. Markram survived on umpire’s call. Kuldeep was taken off after that over, in what appeared to have been a tactical mis-step from the captain Shikhar Dhawan, and Markram doubled his score off the next 12 balls he faced.
By that stage, Hendricks had settled and looked comfortable, especially against the spinners, against whom he used his wrists and feet well. Hendricks’ inclusion in the XI is particularly topical because he could not find a place in the team despite making four successive T20I half-centuries on South Africa’s tour to England in August. He went on to notch up a fifth half-century in six international innings, and fourth in ODIs. He has not played in this format in almost a year, when he was part of the team that took part in a washed-out match in November 2021. Fortunately for South Africa, he was in excellent touch.
Hendricks’ fifty came up off 58 balls, after which he struck the first six of the innings when he hit Kuldeep over wide-long on, but Markram almost didn’t join him to the milestone. He was on 49 when he missed a pull and was given caught behind to Avesh. Markram reviewed immediately and UltraEdge confirmed he had not made contact with the ball. He went on to reach fifty off 64 balls.
South Africa were 157 for 2 after 30 overs and should have had 300-plus in their sights but Hendricks pulled Siraj to deep midwicket on 71. In-form batter Heinrich Klaasen struck 30 off 26 balls but then mis-hit a Kuldeep googly for Siraj to take running in from long-on, and Markram was out two balls later. That gave David Miller 12.4 overs to marshal the lower order, but he struggled to get going.
South Africa scored just 31 runs between the 40th and 45th over with only one boundary. Wayne Parnell tried to hit a Shardul Thakur slower ball over long-off but was too early through the stroke and was caught on the boundary. The only other time South Africa found the rope before the penultimate over was when Siraj shied at the non-striker’s stumps and missed. With no back-up, the ball went for four overthrows despite protests from the Indian fielders that the delivery should have been dead.
With eight balls remaining in the innings, Miller hit Thakur for back-to-back boundaries but he could not hold on to strike for most of the final over. Siraj bowled Keshav Maharaj, who struggled to get the ball away throughout his stay at the crease, to finish with the second three-for of his 12-match ODI career.
South Africa’s defence started fairly well when, for the second match in succession, Parnell removed Dhawan and Kagiso Rabada got rid of Shubman Gill, though the pair had got India off to a decent start. Dhawan launched Bjorn Fortuin – tasked with opening the bowling with Parnell – over deep midwicket for six before Parnell took out his offstump. Gill hit five confident fours, including three through the covers, before Rabada took a low catch in his followthrough to dismiss him. India were 49 for 2 in the ninth over and 55 for 2 after the powerplay.
It was all Kishan and Shreyas from there as they targeted the left-arm spinners. Kishan stayed back in his crease to hit Maharaj over midwicket for two sixes in two overs while Shreyas enjoyed anything short of a length and showed off his cut shot. In perfect harmony, Kishan pierced the on-side and Shreyas the offside to control the chase.
Their partnership reached fifty when they brought up India’s 100 with a six from Kishan off Maharaj, and it grew to a century when Kishan smashed Fortuin over mid-off. They also attacked pace: Kishan pulling Rabada through deep square and Shreyas hitting Parnell for back-to-back fours off full deliveries that invited the drive. Nortje bore the brunt when Kishan took on his short ball for a pull through and then over mid-wicket, and when he pitched fuller, Kishan hoicked over the same region for a couple of sixes.
Kishan was all set for his first international hundred and was seven runs away when he holed out to deep midwicket off Fortuin. India still needed 70 runs off 15.3 overs and the job was mostly done.
Shreyas converted his half-century and brought up a hundred off 103 balls when he made room to a Rabada short ball and lofted it over extra cover. Three overs later, he hit the winning runs, steering Nortje through third for the 15th four of his innings. India sealed the chase with 25 balls remaining and took the series to a decider in Delhi on Tuesday.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent