India opener Rohit Sharma who scored his maiden century on South African soil said that the century was long due. India rode on Rohit's ton to decimate South Africa and script a historic series win in the six-match ODI series.
Having lost the fourth ODI, India bounced back strongly to pocket the penultimate ODI as Virat Kohli became the first India skipper to lead the men in blue to a series win in South Africa,
It was a long time coming (smiles). I had a good time in the middle; as the game went on the wicket got slower and slower and it wasn't easy. Had fun in the middle and it is always a good feeling when you score a hundred and your team wins the match," Rohit said.
"We stuck to our plans and am glad it came off. You've got to keep yourself mentally fit. South Africa is a good place to play cricket and I try to keep myself in the right frame of mind and it paid off. I knew I didn't have to change a lot and the runs would come. I kept doing the same things off the field, I kept hitting the ball well and the confidence was there that I would score," he added.
Rohit who won the man-of-the-match award dedicated the hundred to his wife on Valentine's day.
India rode on Rohit's 126-ball 115, laced with 11 boundaries and four sixes to post 274/7 even after the lower order failed to capitalise on the brilliant start.
Rohit became the fourth highest century scorer in ODIs for India, after Sachin Tendulkar (49), Virat Kohli (34) and Sourav Ganguly (22).
Rohit, however, was involved in two unfortunate run-outs -- first with skipper Virat Kohli (36) after sharing a 105-run second wicket stand and then Ajinkya Rahane (8), who fell victim to Rohit's mistimed call.
"We were in a spot of bother when I got to my century and that's why the celebrations were low key. What was important for me was to bat long and get the team to a good score and am glad we came out hard and defended it. When you get in you've got to make it count and unless you play a bad shot you don't really get out. The top three get the most number of balls to play and you have to make it count. The rest of guys put in the runs in the last few games and it was my day today," he said.
Former and current India players heaped praise on the Indian team as Twitter was flooded with congratulatory messages with Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar leading the way.
Congratulations India on a historic series win. The wrist spinners have been incredible and this win must be really sweet for Virat and the boys. Thoroughly outplayed South Africa #SAvIND-VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 13, 2018
Many Congratulations to the Indian Cricket team on their first bilateral series win in South Africa. Brilliant consistency and hunger throughout and winning this series overseas is just a sign of things to come. Special team #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/eISyJ6HzUN-Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 13, 2018
And he got it. In limited overs cricket, Rohit Sharma is a blue chip. https://t.co/bplnZuorQzHarsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 13, 2018
This is a memorable moment for this side. Have done something that previous Indian teams couldn-t. Win an odi series in SA-Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 13, 2018
The sixth ODI will be played on February 16 at SuperSport Park, Centurion.