New Delhi: Indian cricket fans are known to follow their favourite players across the globe and it was no different at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Monday as Virat Kohli and his boys sweated it out for the fifth ODI against South Africa on Tuesday. Having finished training, Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane and chief coach Ravi Shastri took time to pose for selfies with the fans and also sign some autographs.
Taking to Instagram, BCCI posted a couple of photos which read: “#TeamIndia batsman @ajinkyarahane and Head Coach @ravishastriofficial oblige for a few autographs and selfies post practice #SAvIND.”
After winning the first three games in the ODI series against South Africa, Team India was handed a shock defeat in the fourth ODI at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. With rain playing spoilsport, South Africa seized the moment to win the game by 5 wickets. And even as the teams gear up to play the fifth ODI at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, Virat Kohli and his boys have their task cut-out. India has played four ODIs against South Africa on this ground and is yet to register a win at the venue.
If Kohli and his boys do manage to win the fifth ODI, it will not only be their first win at the ground, but will also be India’s first bilateral series win against the Proteas. India has never managed to win an ODI series against South Africa in the Rainbow Nation. Leading 3-1 going into the fifth game, this is indeed Kohli and boys’ best opportunity to rewrite history.
India first played at St. George’s Park in 1992 and with Mohammad Azharuddin winning the toss, India batted first, only to be bowled out for 147. South Africa chased down the total in 47 overs to win by six wickets. WV Raman was the only player to show some fight as he hit 33 – the highest score in the India innings.
India next played at the venue in 1997 with Sachin Tendulkar leading the Men in Blue. This time too India won the toss and decided to bat, only to lose opener Sourav Ganguly for a duck. The visitors managed just 179/9 with make-shift opener Rahul Dravid and Azharuddin scoring half-centuries. South Africa chased down the target in 45.1 overs to once again register a six-wicket win.
The third encounter between the two teams at the venue was in 2006 with Virender Sehwag leading the side. This time the Proteas won the toss and decided to bat first and put a decent 243/8 on the board. In reply, India managed only 163 as Irfan Pathan was the highest scorer with an unbeaten 47 off 55 balls. South Africa won by 80 runs.
The last game between the two teams at this venue was played out in 2011. MS Dhoni was the captain and once again it was the home team that won the toss and decided to bat first. They scored 265/7 riding on Hashim Amla and JP Duminy’s fifties. In reply, India could manage only 142/6 in a rain-curtailed game as the visitors lost the match by 48 runs (D/L method). Current skipper Virat Kohli was the highest scorer, remaining unbeaten on 87 off 92 balls.