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.


Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

Updated 21 May 2018
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Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad

MADRID: Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.
Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
“The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have,” Lopetegui said.
“We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do.”
Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group.
Morata’s absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old’s dramatic dip in form.
After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.
“I’ve talked to the players I had to talk to,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list.”
In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals.
Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.
Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain’s impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Manchester United’s David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain’s group of defenders.
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult,” Lopetegui said. “But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”