The third and final cricket one-dayer between India and South Africa was yesterday abandoned after rains intervened at the innings break to leave the home side with a 2-0 series win here.

Rains came after South Africa elected to bat and posted an imposing 301 for eight in their allotted 50 overs and continued thereafter at Super Sport Park. The Indians did not get to face a single delivery.

The umpires waited till 8:10 local time (11:40pm IST) before calling off the match, leaving the Indians disappointed ahead of the two-match Test series beginning December 18.

India had suffered embarrassing defeats in the earlier two ODIs of the series, losing by 141 and 134 runs in Johannesburg and Durban respectively.

Before the Test series, the Indians play a practice game against South African Invitation XI at Benoni from December 13 to 14.

The 0-2 loss in the three-match contest meant that India have failed to win an ODI series in South Africa in four attempts. India lost their earlier three ODI tours in South Africa — 2-5 in 1992/93, 0-4 in 2006/07 and 2-3 in 2010/11.

Earlier in the day, Quinton de Kock notched up his third successive hundred while captain A B de Villiers also struck a century as South Africa wriggled out of a tight spot to post an imposing 301 for 8 after electing to bat.

Opening batsman de Kock smashed nine fours and two sixes for his 101 off 120 balls to become the third South African and fifth overall batsman to hit a century in three successive innings as he helped revive the home side innings after being reduced to 28 for three in the eighth over.

Pakistanis Zaheer Abbas (Dec 1982-Jan 1983) and Saeed Anwar (1993) and two South Africans Herschelle Gibbs (2002) and de Villiers (2010) are the other four batsmen who have scored hundreds in three successive ODI innings.

De Kock, however, became the first batsman to score all three hundreds in the same series. With 341 runs from three matches, de Kock is also only the third batsman ever to score 300-plus runs in a three-match ODI series, after New Zealand’s Martin Guptill (vs England in 2013) and Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor (vs New Zealand in 2011).

De Kock shared a crucial 171 runs for the fourth wicket with his skipper de Villiers, who hit his 16th ODI century, to repair the South African innings from 28 for three. De Villiers struck six fours and five sixes in his 101-ball innings.

For India, pacer Ishant Sharma finished with 4/40 from his 10 overs, picking up his 100th ODI wicket in doing so.

Fellow pacer Mohammed Shami chipped in with 3/69 while the third of the pace trio Umesh Yadav took one wicket.

On a pitch that seemed to be the flattest of the three ODIs on display so far, de Villiers had no qualms about batting first after winning the toss. Since they had already stitched up the series, the hosts rested Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, bringing in Henry Davids, Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir.

India made the lone change, with the fit-again Yuvraj Singh taking Ajinkya Rahane’s spot.

The Proteas’ in-form openers Hashim Amla and de Kock began in the same fashion as they did in the previous two matches, with the opening overs of Ishant and Umesh Yadav resulting in a string of boundaries. However, there was a difference this time. India would strike early, and not just once.

First up, Mohammad Shami was successful in breaking the opening stand cheaply. The first wicket yielded only 22 runs, as Amla was out pulling, caught by Yuvraj. He followed up his century in Durban with only 13 runs. Ishant then got a double break-through for his team, dismissing both Davids (1) and JP Duminy (1) in the eighth over. For the first time in three matches, the hosts were feeling the heat after being reduced to 28 for three.

South Africa, however, did not worry too much. After all, de Kock was still batting when he was joined by de Villiers.

And together, the in-form batsmen set the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt. Their progress was slow as they set about rebuilding the innings. South Africa’s fifty came only in the 13th over.

(This article was published on December 12, 2013)
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