India finally earned a win over Australia in the last match of the ODI series to deny the home side a clean sweep.
Australia had been relentless in the first four matches. Last night at the Sydney Cricket Ground it was India’s turn to dig in. Manish Pandey, playing only his third international, was the hero for India, smashing the first century of his ODI career (104 off 81 balls). Pandey scored the winning runs with two balls remaining, to the delight of the Indian fans, and won Man of the Match for his efforts.
Australia batted first, reaching 330 on a flat Sydney pitch. David Warner top-scored (122 off 113 balls) and marked his century by cradling his bat in homage to his new child, born last week. Mitchell Marsh scored his maiden ODI century, a swift 102 off 84 balls, but has copped some flack for slowing in the last two overs as he was on the brink of reaching the hundred. Jasprit Bumrah finished with a very economical 2/40 for India on debut.
The Indian run chase got off to a scintillating start as Shikhar Dhawan raced to 78 off 56. Rohit Sharma looked set to score his third century of the series until, perched on 99, he got the faintest of edges to Wade. Dhoni (34) then lasted almost to the end. With India needing 13 off the last over, Dhoni hit a six then mishit his next assault on the fence, falling just short into Warner’s hands. Pandey calmly knocked off the final seven runs, reaching his century with a four. John Hastings was again the best of the Australian bowlers, notching 3/61.
Rohit Sharma, who last night became the 12th Indian to cross the 5000-run mark in ODI matches, was named Man of the Series with an average of 110.25. He has scored 10 hundreds and 28 fifties in 142 ODI innings for a total of 5008.
The run aggregate for the series was 3159, the highest on record.
In the post-match interviews and presentations, Australia’s captain Steve Smith described the series as “a big run-scoring fest”.
MS Dhoni, the Indian captain, was optimistic about his young team’s prospects: “We have been competitive in the series. The first four games were quite close which we didn’t close down well. What’s important is whenever you come for a tough series, it’s important to back the youngsters. … You have got a glimpse of what we will be seeing in the T20 series.” – Jesse Mullens
Photo of the Australian team with the trophy from the Australian Cricket Team’s Facebook page.