Ravindra Jadeja attributes his resilient century to Virat Kohli on a challenging pitch.

Ravindra Jadeja showered accolades on Virat Kohli for his record-breaking century in Kolkata on Sunday, which served as the bedrock for India’s resounding victory.

Jadeja commended Kohli for his remarkable 49th ODI century, a milestone that drew comparisons to Sachin Tendulkar’s enduring record. He highlighted Kohli’s role in guiding the team through a challenging phase during the afternoon on a sluggish, turning pitch at the Eden Gardens.

“In the afternoon, with the turn and the slow pitch, it was tough for the batters to find their timing,” Jadeja remarked during the post-match press conference. “However, credit must go to Virat and the middle-order batsmen for their adept handling of the opposition spinners. It was truly impressive.”

“I believe this is particularly special for him considering the condition of the pitch in the afternoon. At one point, even reaching 260-270 seemed acceptable, but during that period, executing the strategy of rotating the strike and finding boundaries must have been quite demanding.

“Especially when the team was grappling to score, with both their spinners performing admirably, it was a substantial achievement and a tremendous effort on his part to rotate the strike, hit boundaries, and accumulate a total of over 300 runs while remaining unbeaten,” Jadeja concluded.

During the middle overs, South Africa’s spinners Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi managed to reduce India’s run rate, following Rohit Sharma’s explosive start. Maharaj’s dismissal of Shubman Gill with a sharply turning delivery provided a glimpse of the challenge that awaited the Indian batsmen.

Nevertheless, Kohli remained composed and, with reliable assistance from Shreyas Iyer, steered India through this challenging phase. South Africa’s head coach, Rob Walters, also acknowledged that his team had conceded more runs than he would have preferred and refrained from placing blame on the pitch conditions.

I believe it would be hasty and unjust to lay the blame on the pitch,” Walters stated during his post-game media briefing.

“When one side scores 320 runs, and the other gets bowled out for 80, it doesn’t quite add up, does it?

“So, to be fair, as I mentioned, 320 was a formidable target on that pitch. I think we’ll all look back and admit that it was probably 70 or 80 runs more than what was required. However, on the flip side, I must commend India for their excellent performance, and I wouldn’t attribute any blame to the pitch in that regard.”

In the meantime, Jadeja disclosed that the choice to bat first was a deliberate attempt to test the batsmen on a sluggish pitch and observe how the bowlers would cope with dew later in the evening.

“After winning the toss, we wanted to put ourselves to the test. If we had bowled in the afternoon, we might not have been able to accumulate as many runs.

As I mentioned, the pitch had a lot of stoppage, minimal bounce, and the spin was consistently on the rise. It was turning continuously.”

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