Young opener Quinton de Kock blasted his second ODI century as South Africa thrashed India by 141 runs in the first One-Day International, in Johannesburg, on Thursday.
The 20-year-old hammered 135 runs from 121 deliveries to power South Africa to a huge 358 in their 50 overs after they were put in to bat. In reply, India struggled against the Proteas' pace attack, fired up by Dale Steyn's fiery spell of three for 25, and crashed for 217 in 41 overs.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the only batsman to offer a fight with a brisk 65.
The South Africans once again exposed the Indian batsmen's inability to cope with pace, swing and bounce in adverse conditions after the trio of De Kock (135), AB de Villiers (77) and JP Duminy (59 not out) pulverized the young Indian bowlers, hitting them all around the park.
De Kock batted splendidly upfront, scoring a 121-ball-135, studded with 18 fours and three sixes, and added 152 runs in an opening stand with Hashim Amla, who scored a patient 65.
The foundation laid by De Kock helped De Villiers and Duminy launch a furious assault later on, and 135 runs were scored from the last 10 overs of the innings.
De Villiers smashed his way to 77 from 47 balls, laced with six fours and four sixes, while Duminy clobbered five sixes in his 29-ball 54. The duo added a whopping 105 runs in 7.4 overs.
Captain Dhoni's decision to bowl backfired, as the inexperienced Indian pacers struggled to find their rhythm and did little with the new ball.
There were a flurry of boundaries early on as South Africa's openers raised the first 50 in the ninth over.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggled in his first spell, conceding 29 runs in his first five overs, while Mohit Sharma was also expensive, his first six overs costing 28 runs. He was unlucky, though, not to account for both openers.
In the seventh over of the innings, De Kock sliced him straight down to third man, where the ball bounced before it was taken by Mohammed Shami. Off the next delivery, a top-edge from Amla fell short of Rohit Sharma, at cover.
It was only when Shami, India's most successful bowler (3-68 in 10 overs), was introduced into the attack that the two batsmen came under some pressure because of his extra pace.
Spin was introduced in the 15th over and Ravichandran Ashwin came on to bowl as Dhoni started juggling his bowlers in search for a wicket, even going back to Kumar and bringing on Jadeja in the 18th over. The barrage of fours, however, continued to flow from the bats of Amla and De Kock, as South Africa crossed the 100-run mark in the 22nd over.
On either side of that milestone, both completed half-centuries. De Kock was the first to get there, off only 54 balls, with eight fours. Amla reached his fifty off 73 balls, hitting four fours and one six.
Shami finally broke the partnership, when Amla dragged one on to his stumps. He was out for 65 runs, off 88 balls, which included five fours and a six.
Shami also got rid of Jacques Kallis (10) in the 33rd over, and the double jolt meant that only 32 runs came from the five overs of Batting Powerplay.
At the other end, De Kock continued his run-scoring spree and hit a huge six off Mohit in the 33rd over. That took him to 98 runs, and four balls later he celebrated his
second ODI hundred with a single to square leg.
He hit two more sixes and three fours to register his highest ODI score -- 135 runs. He was finally dismissed by part-timer Virat Kohli, who took a sharp return catch.
De Villiers was the relatively silent batsman in this 75-run partnership that came up in just nine overs. After De Kock's dismissal, he was joined at the crease by JP Duminy and together they put the Indian attack to the sword in the final overs.
Their 50-run partnership came off only 27 balls, and the 300-run mark was attained in the 47th over. The two batsmen went on an all out attack in the last few overs as South Africa hammered as many as 84 runs from the last five.
India's openers never got going. Rohit Sharma, who struggled for 18 runs from 43 balls, and Shikhar Dhawan (12) found it difficult to score against the new ball as Steyn and Morne Morkel generated good bounce and movement.
Rohit, who played and missed a lot of deliveries, got off the mark only off the 17th delivery he faced. Dhawan hit three boundaries before top-edging a pull shot and and was caught by wicketkeeper De Kock, running backwards.
Rohit and Virat Kohli (31) tried to steady the ship, but with the asking run-rate rising they had to take a few risks.
Kohli was the next to depart when he edged Ryan McLaren to Kallis at second slip.
Yuvraj Singh's poor run continued as he was bowled in the same over for a two-ball duck.
India then choked in the middle overs following two successive run-outs, of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina (14), after being reduced to 108 for five in the 23rd.
Dhoni went on the attack right from the start and kept hitting boundaries despite wickets falling at the other end. He slammed 65 from 71 balls, hitting eight fours and a six, before he was bowled by Steyn in the 41st over.
The pacer also claimed last-man Shami, caught and bowled, in the same over to finish off the Indians for 217 in 41 overs and give South Africa a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Image: Quinton de Kock
Photograph: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images