India captain Virat Kohli on Friday powered India to a 5-1 series win over South Africa with his 35th century in the 6th and final ODI. Kohli's third century of the series comprised 19 fours and two sixes. The 29-year-old's unbeaten 129-run knock left the cricketing world awestruck. Among those who applauded Kohli's skill and consistency were Pakistan women cricketers Syeda Nain Abidi and Kainat Imtiaz. "So focussed and concentrated as a batsman! 100 number 35! Absolutely amazing batting !! He is a Genius!!," tweeted Abidi. "What a player," wrote Kainat Imtiaz after the right-hander's high-quality hundred at Centurion
Kohli is first Indian to hit three centuries and the only player to score over 500 runs in a bilateral ODI series. He finished the series with 558 runs at an average of 186.00.
Freak, Rockstar, Fighter, Winner, Believer - @imVkohli! ????????— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) February 16, 2018
Runs machine + Hundreds machine +Chasing Machine = @imVkohli Bhai ???????????????? outclass— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) February 16, 2018
One of the best ODI innings I have seen in the recent past. Congratulations, @imVkohli! Excellent work by #TeamIndia to win an ODI series for the first time in South Africa. Way to go, boys???? #SAvIND ???? pic.twitter.com/IjAlV2YpHp— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) February 16, 2018
Outstanding effort by the boys winning 5 to 1 against South Africa in Sa will go down one of the best series wins away ! Congratulations to @imVkohli on 3 tons unbelievable batting !!!— yuvraj singh (@YUVSTRONG12) February 17, 2018
Kohli was in superb form as he hit 129 not out off 96 balls to take India to an eight-wicket win with 17.5 overs to spare.
It completed a crushing 5-1 series victory for India, who started the series second behind South Africa in the ODI rankings but finished as the undisputed number one side.
"You want to lead from the front with your performances," said Kohli. "When they come off so well, along with the effort of the whole team, it's very pleasing."
Asked how he maintained the intensity which he had shown throughout the series, Kohli said: "I've got eight or nine years left in my career. It's not a long career for a cricketer so I want to make the most of it. I want to train as hard as I can and make the most of every day."
He said there was no greater honour than playing for and captaining his country.
"If I take it for granted it's not doing justice to what I have been given by God."
He paid credit to "people off the field" who had contributed to his and India's outstanding performances, including his wife, Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma.
"She keeps me motivated," he said. "She has been criticised in the past but she is one person who keeps me going."
(With inputs from AFP)