Virat Kohli concedes that batting second suits his game plan after the India captain played another sublime innings to guide his side to a six-wicket win over South Africa in Thursday's first one-day international.

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis had made a gritty 120 to help South Africa post 269-8 from their 50 overs in Durban on a slow pitch, with his side having been in trouble at 134-5.

Kohli, Rahane lead India to six-wicket win

However, Kohli responded with 112 of his own and put on 189 for the third wicket alongside Ajinkya Rahane (79) as India moved ahead in the series.

And the visiting skipper, who now has 33 ODI centuries, was happy to be giving chase.

"It's easier [to bat second]," he said at the post-match presentation.

"You can break down a total when you have a number on the board, you know exactly what you want to do against each bowler. It suits my game plan."

He added: "It was quite special.

"The first game of the series is always important and we wanted to take the confidence of the last Test into here."

Du Plessis was shorn of meaningful partners in South Africa's innings, with Chris Morris (37) the next-best contributor, and the hosts' captain was disappointed they did not record a higher total.

"We definitely didn't get enough, we didn't bat well enough," he said.

"I reckon we were about 50-60-70 runs short. Chris had a good partnership but as a batting unit we were disappointed. 

"When you're chasing five runs an over here, it's pretty easy."