For eight long years, Sanju Samson had to wait for his maiden international ton, which ended on Thursday in an ODI against South Africa

first burst on to the international cricket scene back in 2015 in a T20I against Zimbabwe. But for eight long years, Sanju Samson had to wait for his maiden international ton, which ended on Thursday in an ODI against South Africa. Coming to bat at No. 3, Sanju Samson curbed his natural attacking instincts to time his innings well. He scored 108 off 114 balls, hitting three sixes and six fours. Courtesy his century India reached 296/8 in 50 overs. Then, India easily scalped the South African wickets to pocket the series 2-1.

Former Indian cricket team captain Sunil Gavaskar praised Sanju Samson’s innings. “This century will change his career. He always belonged here. We all know the talent that he has. We have all been saying look at the talent that he has got but not yet delivered. Today he delivered. Not just for everybody for himself too,” Sunil Gavaskar said on Star Sports.

“I feel really emotional, going through the emotions now. I am very happy to achieve this. I have been putting in a lot of work, both physically and mentally, and I am happy to see the results go my way now. They bowled really well with the new ball, and the older ball was getting slower and more difficult to bat. So after KL got out, they had momentum, and Maharaj was bowling very well. But me and Tilak stuck it out and went strong at the end. We were playing an extra all-rounder today, so me and Tilak had decided that we had to go hard from the 40th over onwards,” said Sanju Samson following the innings.

Coming to the match, India was put on the field first by the Proteas. Rajat Patidar (22 in 16 balls, with three fours and a six) had a hard-hitting international debut, while Sai Sudharsan (10) was disappointing following two back-to-back fifties. Skipper KL Rahul (21) also could not build on a solid start, leaving India at 101/3.

Then Samson had a 116-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Tilak Varma (52 in 75 balls, with six fours and a six). Samson scored his maiden ton, 108 runs in 114 balls, with six fours and three sixes. He played a cautious and measured knock instead of his usual attacking approach. Finishing touches from Rinku Singh (38 in 27 balls, three fours and two sixes) took India to 296/8.

Beuran Hendricks (3/63) and Nandre Burger (2/64) were the top bowlers for South Africa. Lizaad Williams, Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj got a wicket each.

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