Virat Kohli colossal again as India smash South Africa in Cape Town

India's Virat Kohli celebrates his century at Newlands in Cape Town as India smash South Africa to go 3-0 up in the six-game series. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Virat Kohli colossal again as India smash South Africa in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN: Virat Kohli and India’s spinners hammered South Africa again on Wednesday in the latest episode of a one-sided ODI series, winning the third game by 124 runs to go 3-0 up with three to play.
Kohli was colossal to make 160 not out from 159 balls — his second century of the series — and lead India to 303-6 after South Africa put the tourists in to bat.
In a repeat of the first two games, South Africa couldn’t deal with India spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, who took eight wickets between them at Newlands as the home team was bundled out for 179 in 40 overs.
South Africa started the series as the No. 1 ODI team in the world and India No. 2 but those positions have been quickly reversed.
India came to South Africa on a compelling run of one-day form following eight successive series victories but even that didn’t indicate how dominant it would be in the first three games.
South Africa had won 17 straight ODI games at home before losing to India by six wickets and then nine wickets in the first two matches.
Wednesday’s performance was even more compelling by India.
Kohli came to the crease at the end of the first over and again dominated his team’s total with a brilliant one-day innings. Shikhar Dhawan’s 76 in a 140-run partnership for the second wicket was also a significant part of the Indian effort.
India captain Kohli, though, has been in consistently outstanding form on tour in South Africa, and his century was his second in the three one-day games against South Africa and his third in his last four ODIs.
He made 112 and 46 not out in the first two games of this series. Kohli hit 12 fours and two sixes in this one, finishing the innings with a big six over midwicket and a thumping four down the ground from the final two balls. Those boundaries took India past 300 and improved Kohli’s strike rate to better than a run a ball.
South Africa had pulled it back at Newlands after Dhawan was out to a diving catch by stand-in skipper Aiden Markram off spinner JP Duminy (2-60) to break India’s best partnership.
Prompted by that breakthrough, South Africa took five wickets for 96 runs to slow what was an Indian onslaught when Kohli and Dhawan were together.
India finished strongly, though, led of course by Kohli. He combined with Bhuvneshwar Kumar for an unbeaten 67-run partnership off 44 balls. Kohli made 43 of those runs from just 25 deliveries in India’s last stand.


FOUR THINGS WE LEARNED: A classic clash, sublime New Orleans Saints and a bad break for Alex Smith

Updated 20 November 2018
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FOUR THINGS WE LEARNED: A classic clash, sublime New Orleans Saints and a bad break for Alex Smith

  • Saints once again show why they are serious Super Bowl contenders.
  • Unlucky Alex Smith suffers a horror injury.

LONDON: This is the time of year that can either make or break a team’s regular season. Are they headed for the playoffs or are they set to be on holiday in January? Here is what we learned after week 11 of the NFL.

RAMS AND CHIEFS SERVE UP A CLASSIC

Where to start analyzing Monday night’s epic in Los Angeles? It was certainly one of the best games of gridiron I have ever seen. From the first kick-off to the final seconds, both sides threw caution to the wind, with the Rams winning by three points in a 54-51 nail-biter — on the way to producing a classic clash that will still be talked about for years to come. 
American Football is often criticized for being too “stop-start,” but watching these two Super Bowl favorites go hammer and tongs for four quarters would have been enough to convert any detractor.
To put into context just how explosive both teams were, it was the first time two teams have scored more than 50 points in a match in the history of the NFL.
While many are praising the defensive qualities of a playoffs-bound Chicago, we are just glad the defensive units did not bother showing up for this one and we had the privilege of watching two blistering offenses in full flow. If either of these teams goes on to win the Super Bowl, they can pinpoint this match as one of the key moments of their season.

It was raining touchdowns in the all-time classic between the Chiefs and the Rams.



SAINTS CHANNELLING THE SPIRIT OF 2009

When the league fixtures were announced in the summer, the Saints-Eagles match-up was singled out as a test of the two team’s NFC championship credentials. Unlike the Rams and Chiefs extravaganza, though, this ended up being a damp squib of a game. 
Philadelphia just did not turn up, while the Saints — the hottest team in the league at the moment — were imperiously led by Drew Brees to a blowout 48-7 win, which now sits in the record books as worst defeat in the Eagles’ history. 
Brees threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns, meaning that the 9-1 Saints have now scored 40-plus points in three matches in a row and have become the first team in the Super Bowl era to post at least 40 points six times in the first 10 games of the season. It will take a very good team to stop this Saints side from claiming glory in Atlanta next February.

Drew Brees was once again in imperious form for the ever-improving and dangerous Saints. 



PURE ATHLETICISM TRUMPS TACTICAL PLAY-CALLS

Gridiron is an extremely technical and tactical sport, with coaches and players spending weeks perfecting certain plays. But sometimes a moment of sheer athletic prowess wins out and blows all the spreadsheets and playbook analysis out the window. Week 11 saw its fair share of brilliant moments — from Kenny Golladay’s sublime touchdown catch for the Lions against Carolina, to Juju Smith-Schuster’s unbelievable grab for the Steelers on a late, game-winning drive, not forgetting Odell Beckham’s strength to hold on in the end-zone for a Giants score against Tampa Bay. And those moments are exactly why millions of people tune in to the NFL every week.

Kenny Golladay with his moment of magic during Detriot's 20-19 win over Carolina. 



THOUGHTS WITH ALEX SMITH

Much progress has been made in preventing concussion and serious head injuries in the NFL in recent years. Rule changes and safety measures have been implemented, and we are beginning to see a reduction in the number of head and neck traumas. But in sport, horror injuries can happen — and there is little the league can do to prevent the kind of leg breaks Washington’s Alex Smith suffered during their game against the Texans. Everyone watching immediately knew the severity of the break, and it is clear Smith faces a lengthy recovery. Such injuries can end careers. Here’s hoping he makes it back.

Alex Smith being stretchered off after his horror injury suffered against the Texans.