There was a war of words between Dale Steyn and Virat Kohli before the second ODI in Durban. While Steyn and other Proteas pacemen backed that up with another stellar performance, Kohli and his team-mates were once again exposed terribly. The result: India lost another contest without putting up a fight by 134 runs, giving the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Quinton de Kock is just 20 years of age but he has already shown enough signs that he is there to represent South Africa for a long haul. His 106 - second hundred on the trot - and Hashim Amla's 100 set up South Africa for another big total, having added 194 for the opening wicket, and their pacers kept the stranglehold on the Indian batsmen, handing another crushing defeat to the visitors.
Needing to chase down a challenging 281, India looked for a good start, but the visitors failed to get one second time in a row. Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli departed without opening their accounts. Rohit Sharma (19) did play some good cut shots but was snaffled brilliantly by Amla. Ajinkya Rahane (8) was unlucky to have been given caught behind and he was quick to express his displeasure at the decision.
It was always going to be a tall order for the rest of the batsmen and although MS Dhoni (19), Suresh Raina (36) and the rest tried their best to fight it out, what all they could achieve was to reduce the margin of defeat as their innings folded for mere 146 in 35.1 overs.
After their humiliating defeat in Johannesburg, it was expected that India would make some changes to their playing eleven. Yuvraj Singh was given a break because of back spasm, with Ajinkya Rahane taking his place. India also decided to enthuse more pace to their attack with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav replacing Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma.
In retrospect, MS Dhoni might be ruing the fact of not batting first on a pitch which was much drier than the one in Johannesburg. Both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja gripped the ball on occasions which also prompted Dhoni to use six overs of Raina and three overs of Kohli.
If only Umesh Yadav had not given 20 runs in the 49th over, India would have restricted South Africa to lesser than 280. De Kock got out to R Ashwin in the 36th over and it was expected that South Africa would once again post a total in excess of 300, with De Villers promoting himself to No. 3.
But India pulled things back thereafter, taking wickets at regular intervals, which eventually put the lid on hosts' scoring rate. De Villiers (3) was stumped off Jadeja, Amla and David Miller (0) were taken by Mohammad Shami and Duminy (26) was run out as South Africa lost five wickets for 55 runs. But some lusty blows from Ryan McLaren (12) and Vernon Philander (14) at the end ensured that India chase a challenging total.
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