Suryakumar thrashes ton as India level series in South Africa
Suryakumar Yadav hit a dazzling century as India levelled their series against South Africa with a crushing 106-run win in the third and final Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.
Suryakumar made 100 in a total of 201 for seven after India were sent in to bat.
South Africa crashed to 95 all out with left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav taking a career-best five for 17 on his 29th birthday.
"We wanted to play a fearless brand of cricket. That was one box we wanted to tick – to put runs on the board and then defend it," said Suryakumar at the post-match presentation when he was named player of the match and player of the series.
The Indian captain thrashed eight sixes and seven fours in making his fourth T20 international century off 55 balls. He was caught at deep square leg off the next ball as India lost three wickets, including a run-out, in the final over, bowled by Lizaad Williams.
Suryakumar was off the field for most of the South African innings after twisting his left ankle while fielding in the third over.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took over the captaincy and played a significant role in South Africa's collapse by dismissing their captain Aiden Markram, for a hard-hit 25, with his first ball.
"It's not that bad. I'm walking, so it's all good," Suryakumar said of the injury.
Mohammed Siraj set the tone for India's bowling effort with a superb maiden over to Reeza Hendricks, with three slips in place for the last two balls of the over.
But it was the spinners who did the major damage, with Jadeja taking two for 25 and Kuldeep ripping through the lower order, taking the last four wickets off seven balls.
The pitch had looked excellent for batting when Suryakumar and Yashasvi Jaiswal (60) punished the bowling in a fourth-wicket stand of 112 off 70 balls but Jadeja and Kuldeep both gained turn and occasional low bounce.
"Credit to the (Indian) batters for making it look easy for them," said Markram.
Suryakumar went out to bat after left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took two wickets off successive balls in the third over. He was relatively subdued in taking 23 balls to make his first 25 runs but then unleashed his full array of strokes, including hits for leg-side sixes off good length balls.
The teams start a three-match one-day international series at the same venue on Sunday.