ANI Photo | Ian Bishop, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif laud Sanju Samson for maiden ODI century

Former West Indies cricketer Ian Bishop and former Indian batters Suresh Raina lauded Indian batter Sanju Samson for his maiden ODI century against South Africa in the third ODI at Paarl on Thursday.
A maiden ODI century by wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson and a half-century by Tilak Varma helped India post a competitive 296/8 in the third ODI against South Africa at Paarl on Thursday.
Bishop took to X (formerly Twitter), expressing hope that many centuries come from Samson’s bat later.
“Well played Sanju Samson. First ODI century. Gosh, I hope that there are several more to come,”
tweeted Bishop.
Raina also lauded Samson for his “exceptional” performance.
“Played exceptionally on the field today @IamSanjuSamson! Congratulations on your maiden ODI century brother, what a moment for Indian cricket. Hard work truly pays off, Keep Shining! #INDvSA,” tweeted Raina.
Mohammed Kaif also called Samson an “X factor player” following his century.
“Cricket is nothing without the players who bring the X factor. #SanjuSamson,” tweeted Kaif.
Expressing delight over his maiden ODI century, Samson said that it feels emotional after seeing results go his way following so much hard work.
“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 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.
The series is tied at 1-1 and India needs to defend 297 to win it. (ANI)

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