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Proteas captain Temba Bavuma. Picture: RYAN WILKISKY/BACKPAGEPIX
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma. Picture: RYAN WILKISKY/BACKPAGEPIX

SA rode the momentum of their Test series win over India into the ODI series by winning the first one by 31 runs at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday.

Having won the past two Tests, and the manner in which this victory was achieved, suggests the home side holds a grip over the tourists that will be difficult to break in the second ODI at the same ground on Friday.

The Proteas earned the win due to superb centuries for captain Temba Bavuma (110, 143 balls, 8x4) and Rassie van der Dussen (129 not out, 96 balls 9x4, 4x6) before their bowlers shared the load in restricting India to 265/8 chasing 297 for victory.

India’s back was perhaps broken by events in the first half of the day when Bavuma and Van der Dussen, in sweltering conditions, shared in one of the more memorable stands for the Proteas in recent history.

While Bavuma brought solidity to the innings after the early demise of Janneman Malan, it was Van der Dussen who played a knock for the ages on a surface that rarely entertained such exquisite run-scoring excess. It was an innings of style and substance in every sense.

Their record 204-run partnership at this ground for the fourth wicket in the size and speed at which it was constructed was always going to be hard to replicate in a chase on a wicket that appeared to get slower as the day progressed.

At first though India’s chase showed promise. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli went about their business in relatively untroubled fashion after India captain KL Rahul’s departure.

Dhawan, who was in fine touch, was particularly fierce driving square of the wicket. When the Proteas offered him width he profited.

With the introduction of Tabraiz Shamsi in the 20th over, it was hoped the tide would turn in the home team’s favour. He started, rather anticlimactically, with a wide and went for nine in his first over.

Dhawan looked at ease whether facing up to the slow right-arm deliveries of Aiden Markram, or Marco Jansen steaming in from the Stables End of the ground. His stroke play was effortless and he hardly played a shot in anger by the time he reached his half century.

Kohli was not to be outdone. Though he at times stroked the ball majestically, he had to rein himself in.

The game turned decisively in SA’s favour when India lost both in three overs. Dhawan was bowled by Keshav Maharaj for 79 before Kohli scooped a benign legside drifting delivery from Shamsi to Bavuma at midwicket.

When hard-hitting Rishabh Pant departed with India still needing 115 their fate was sealed.

Shardul Thakur (50, 43 balls, 5x4, 6x1) hit some lusty blows to give the India scorecard some respectability.

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