Life has been a roller-coaster for Sai Sudharsan in South Africa as the young India batter made his debut for the national team, smasing two half-centuries on the trot. Sudharsan made his debut in the first ODI against the Proteas on Sunday, December 17, marking the occasion with a well-crafted 55 not out as India won the game by eight wickets. He then followed it up with a brilliant 62 in a losing cause in the second ODI. While the 22-year-old could only conjure 10 runs in the series decider, he continued to impress on the field.

Sudharsan took a stunning catch to dismiss Heinrich Klaasen. The incident happened in the 33rd over of the match when Klaasen chipped Avesh Khan’s delivery straight to mif-off, with Sudharsan diving forward to claim the catch of the series.

It was an important wicket in the context of the game as South Africa were cruising while chasing a 297-run target. However, Klaasen’s dismissal sparked a Proteas collapse.

Earlier, Sanju Samson made 108 in an Indian total of 296 for eight at Boland Park.

South African captain Aiden Markram’s decision to send India in to bat on a slow pitch on a hot afternoon backfired as the hosts were bowled out for 218 in reply.

India arrived in South Africa without most of the players who took the country to the World Cup final last month. But they won two of the three matches in convincing fashion.

Arshdeep Singh rose to the challenge spectacularly. He took 10 wickets in the series, including four for 30 on Thursday, and was named player of the series.

South Africa were well-placed when Tony de Zorzi (87) and Markram (36) put on 65 for the third wicket to take the total to 141 in the 26th over.

But the innings fell away when Markram gloved an attempted reverse sweep off Washington Sundar to wicketkeeper Rahul and De Zorzi was leg before wicket to Arshdeep 20 runs later.

KL Rahul praised his group of young players as India claimed the series 2-1.

“It’s a really young group of players,” Rahul said at the post-match presentation. “They have played a lot of cricket but not at international level.

“The message was to let them adjust to international cricket and let them get used to the pressure. Have fun initially and after a few games start expecting things from them.”

(With AFP Inputs)

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