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Rain ruins final ODI

- Series has helped us get used to the pace and bounce: Dhoni
AB de Villiers, after his century, on Wednesday

Calcutta/Centurion: The third and final one-dayer between India and South Africa was abandoned on Wednesday after rain intervened at the innings break to leave the home side with a 2-0 series win.

Rain came after South Africa elected to bat and posted an imposing 301 for eight in their allotted 50 overs and continued thereafter at Super Sport Park. The Indians did not get to face a single delivery.

The umpires waited till 8:10 local time (11:40pm IST) before calling off the match, leaving the Indians disappointed ahead of the two-match Test series beginning December 18.

India had suffered embarrassing defeats in the earlier two ODIs of the series, losing by 141 and 134 runs, in Johannesburg and Durban, respectively. Before the Test series, the Indians play a two-day practice game against South Africa Invitation XI at Benoni from December 13.

Earlier in the day, Quinton de Kock notched up his third successive hundred while captain A B de Villiers also struck a century as South Africa wriggled out of a tight spot to post an imposing 301 for 8 after electing to bat.

Opening batsman de Kock smashed nine fours and two sixes for his 101 off 120 balls to become the third South African and fifth overall batsman to hit a century in three successive innings. He helped revive the home side innings after being reduced to 28 for three in the eighth over.

De Kock, however, became the first batsman to score all three hundreds in the same series. With 341 runs from three matches, De Kock is also only the third batsman ever to score 300-plus runs in a three-match ODI series, after New Zealand’s Martin Guptill (vs England in 2013) and Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor (vs New Zealand in 2011).

Mahendra Singh Dhoni said after the abandonment that they were positive about chasing the target.

The following are excerpts

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: We were positive about the chase. We have not been chasing well in the last two matches, but we were positive at the break in this match. It was one of the best pitches in South Africa for the batsmen… There were a few positives for us out of this game. We were able to capitalise with the new ball and got an early wicket. We exposed their middle-order a bit until AB de Villiers came to bat.

We needed to adjust to the conditions better. However, playing the one-dayers before the Tests have helped us. The series has helped us get used to the pace and bounce in South Africa. Ishant Sharma has been very good in this match. He has shown that if a tall bowler bowls at the right lengths on these surfaces, he can get wickets.

He was expensive in the ODI series against Australia, but he worked really hard with the bowling coach Joe Dawes and played a few domestic games to get back his rhythm.

However, I really do feel South Africa are blessed to have so many seam bowling all-rounders. They are a fantastic side. They have Jacques Kallis playing as an all-rounder and that helps them play five bowlers. Some of their batsmen are exceptionally talented as well.

Quinton de Kock (MoS): It is nice to get one or two trophies for your performance. But I just got to keep working hard to get a couple more centuries. I’m quite relaxed and happy from the inside, more so because we won the series. Today, I was just trying to survive and get through the opening period of play. I had switched to another mode to try and survive and push on later… I do not know what this will do to my career as this is just my second series win with the team.