India vs South Africa 3rd ODI Results: Match Abandoned After Proteas Post Another Big Total

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By Deepak Vikraman | December 12, 2013 2:01 AM EST

Ishant Sharma celebrates after picking up the wicket of Henry Davids. BCCI

India head into the Test series against South Africa with a few hundred big-fat questions hanging around the necks of the batsmen like the proverbial albatross.

The final chance at batting redemption was taken away by rain, which decided that the limited-overs fun was enough, with the third and final one-day international at Supersport Park in Centurion abandoned after South Africa posted 301 for eight in their 50 overs.

Not a single over could be bowled in the second innings, with the rain playing spoilsport, ensuring the match would be eventually called off.

While India have struggled to even reach a score of 200 in the series so far, this would have been their best opportunity for the batsmen to get some runs under their belt with the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel rested.

The first innings witnessed Ishant Sharma finally look like a fast bowler, and not a basketball player trying his hand at cricket; but unfortunately for India, there was no help for the lanky pacer, with Quinton De Kock, yes him again, and AB De Villiers making merry to help South Africa to a big total.

The way the Indian batsmen have gone about their business, the score of 301 set by the Proteas in their first innings, after choosing to bat first after winning the toss, will be enough to help them win twice, with Sharma, with figures of 10-1-40-4, the only man able to make a dent into the home side's let's-score-at-will-against-the-Indian-bowlers batsmen.

For the first time in the tour India actually made early breakthroughs - the fact that they couldn't make use of it is of course an entirely different matter.

In the 27th ball of the innings, India were actually celebrating as Hashim Amla, the irresistible object as well as the immovable force, actually lost his wicket, without a score of note to his name.

The elegant right-hander gave his wicket away hitting a full toss from Mohammed Shami straight to Yuvraj Singh at short square leg.

The scenario got rosier for India, as Ishant Sharma bowled two peaches in the same over to dismiss, first Henry Davids, and then JP Duminy.

Both balls found the outside edge of the batsmen, with Suresh Raina completing the catch at slips on both occasions.

That left South Africa on a precarious 28 for three from 7.4 overs, the hopes of a morale-boosting win for India ahead of a testing two-match Test series soaring as high as it's ever been in the tour.

However, in walked that I'm-so-talented-and-dangerous-that-even-the-opponents'-fans-can't-help-but-admiring-me SA skipper AB De Villiers to flick that switch and turn the game the home side's way, with a lot of help from Quinton De Kock, the I-can't-seem-to-get-out-without-scoring-a-century-against-India left-hander, at the other end.

What followed was a masterful fourth-wicket partnership between the duo, where they took their time at the beginning, before smashing the bowlers at will to accelerate and set the finishers the perfect platform.

Quinton De Kock and AB De Villiers smashed centuries for South Africa. BCCI

What India haven't been able to do this series is build any partnerships of note, and De Villiers and De Kock showed exactly how it's done.

Sure, there were a couple of missed chances here and there, with De Kock handed two lives, which proved to be costlier than a diamond ring on a tenth anniversary.

This was celebration time for De Kock, who could do no wrong and yet again smashed a brilliant hundred, a third straight one, adding to his previous scores of 135 and 106 in the first and second ODI respectively.

The please-stop-batting-we-want-to-bowl-to-other-batsmen-partnership was finally broken by India in the final ball of the 38th over, Ishant again the main man, but not before De Kock and De Villiers had added 171 runs in 182 deliveries.

The wicket of De Kock (101, 120b, 9x4, 2x6) did not actually bode too well for India, as it brought David Miller to the crease, with the visiting side's supporters well aware of the left-hander's capabilities having seen him tear bowlers apart in the IPL for the Kings XI Punjab.

De Villiers and Miller on-song is a nightmare right out of Elm Street, but thankfully for India, just when the two were tonking the bowlers for fun, the former fell. Not before completing a deserved hundred of course, with De Villiers scoring a carefree 109 from 101 balls (6x4, 5x6) after which Umesh Yadav trapped him in front of the wicket.

That left Miller to finish things off as well as possible in the final six-and-some overs, with India looking towards the splendid bowling effort that they managed in the second ODI, when they restricted the Proteas from a slam-bang finish.

It proved to be a bit of both as Miller (56, 34b, 5x4, 3x6) completed his half-century, but India did not allow SA to go nuts, keeping the score to around the 300-run mark.

We will never know if the Indian batting would have made a game of it; one thing is certain, however, a 2-0 win for South Africa in the series, and momentum firmly perched in the home side's camp going into the Test series starting next week.

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