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Kohli sparkles as India beat Proteas by 35 runs to square series

Chennai: Virat Kohli smashed a sparkling century as India levelled the five-match cricket series 2-2 after beating South Africa by 35 runs in the fourth ODI here on Thursday.

Kohli slammed six fours and five sixes in his 138-run knock, his 23rd ODI ton, to help India post a daunting 300-run target for the tourists.

However, South Africa’s chase was hampered by the Indian spinners as the tourists were restricted to 264-9 in their stipulated 50 overs despite a valiant century from skipper AB de Villiers.

De Villiers struck 10 fours and two sixes in his 112-run knock and thereby becoming the second highest run-getter for South Africa in ODIs.

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh claimed two crucial wickets of Quinton de Kock (43) and big-hitter David Miller (six), while Amit Mishra and Axar Patel took a wicket apiece.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who returned the figures of 3-68, removed the tail-enders after taking the precious wicket of De Villiers.

Opting to bat first, Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane steadied the innings after India lost both openers Shikhar Dhawan (seven) and Rohit Sharma (21) early. The duo gradually accelerated the innings as they scored a 104-run partnership for the third wicket.

Rahane was dismissed for 45 on a delivery by Dale Steyn before Kohli added 127 runs with Suresh Raina (53) for the fourth wicket at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

With the win, India have forced a decider which will be played at Mumbai on Sunday. (ANI)