With their backs against the wall, Indian cricket team produced a strong batting performance against South Africa to post a mammoth total of 299 runs after batting first at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai during the fourth One-Day International (ODI) on 22 October.
Virat Kohli, who has been under fire for his dismal form, played a crucial innings of 138 runs to anchor the hosts to a competitive total. The Delhi lad teared the opposition bowling apart, smashing six fours and five sixes in his 140-ball knock.
The Indian Test captain notched up his hundred in 112 balls and became only the second Indian, after Sachin Tendulkar, to score a century against every Test-playing nation. It was also Kohli's first ODI hundred against South Africa.
Suresh Raina also managed to shut his critics with an important knock of 53 runs that came at a brisk pace alongside three fours and a six. Ajinkya Rahane, who had slammed back-to-back fifties in the first two ODIs, missed out on his third half-century of the series by five runs after Dale Steyn got the better of him in the 27th over.
After winning the toss, India lost both their openers Rohit Sharma (21) and Shikhar Dhawan (7) for a mere 35 runs. With India reeling at 35/2, Kohli and Rahane began rebuilding the innings and added a crucial 104 runs for the third wicket.
With the Proteas desperate for a breakthrough, Steyn got Rahane caught behind to rattle Team India's innings. Following Rahane's dismissal, Raina came out in the middle and finally added some runs after being dismissed for ducks in the last two games. The left-hander added 127 runs alongside Kohli for the fourth wicket as India looked set for a 300 plus score.
However, against the popular perception, South Africa managed to restrict India under 300 runs. Young seamer Kagiso Rabada continued to impress and was the pick of the bowlers for South Africa with his spell of 3/54. South Africa's bowling spearhead Steyn was also amongst the wicket-takers, claiming three scalps for 61 runs.
South Africa, who are without their dynamic middle-order batsman JP Duminy, will surely be tested by the Indian bowling attack in their run-chase under lights at the MA Chidambaram wicket. However, with both Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers in good touch, the Proteas will back themselves to seal the game and the series.
Trailing 1-2 in the five-match series, MS Dhoni-led India desperately need to win this game to keep themselves in contention of scripting a turnaround in the ODI series.