Aaron Finch brought up his 5th ODI hundred in the game against South Africa © Getty Images
Aaron Finch brought up his 5th ODI hundred in the game against South Africa © Getty Images

Nov 19, 2014

Aaron Finch’s 109 propelled Australia to a huge score of 329 in the third One-Day International against South Africa at the Manuka Oval on Wednesday. The highlight of his innings was the manner in which he paced himself, he always was in control. The 28 year-old took his time early but came into his own afterwards as his innings was studded with nine fours and three sixes.  He was content to play second fiddle to David Warner in the opening stages of the Australian innings but soon he took the attack to the bowlers. A pull shot off Vernon Philander in the sixth over was one stroke that stood out.

Steve Smith too contributed with a fantastic 73 not out off only 55 balls. He took the South African bowlers to the cleaners toward the end of the innings. Earlier Australia’s openers Aaron Finch and David Warner gave them a solid start as they put on 118 in 19 overs. Vernon Philander broke the opening stand when he had Warner caught by AB de Villiers for 53. Finch too made a half-century. The South African bowling attack lacked discipline as they constantly bowled loose balls and conceded quite a few extras especially free hits.

Warner was as usual aggressive during his stay at the crease as his 53 came off only 50 deliveries. His innings contained six boundaries and two sixes. He struck the ball well right throughout his innings and went after Philander in the second over itself as he hit him for a six and a four. In the next over he struck a boundary off Morkel.

The normally miserly Philander was erratic on Wednesday,  to add to his indiscipline he even conceded a couple of free hits. Both Aaron Finch and Warner attacked him. He conceded 70 runs in his 10 overs.

Finch took his time to settle down but once he did the South Africans found it very hard to stop him. It was in the sixth over that he opened his shoulders with a six off Philander. The aggressive right-hander took advantage of the short ball and dispatched it into the stands.

It was Morne Morkel, who took five wickets in the last game, started off proceedings for the Proteas with a wide. In this game, however, he was expensive as he went for. It was Warner who had went after in the third when he pulled him for a boundary. Thereafter he bowled well using his height to good advantage hit the deck and generated some uncomfortable bounce, however, this did not work as Finch was hitting him over mid-wicket constantly. In the powerplay he was targeted . To make matters worse he lacked discipline. In the 14th over he conceded a free hit which was hammered for a six by Warner.

Dale Steyn was brought on in the 4th over and nearly made an impact when he had Warner almost inside edge one onto his stumps. The ace South African continued to bowl well but runs were being leaked at the other end. He too was taken for runs as the Aussies went hammer and tongs in the closing stages of their innings.

The introduction of spin in the  form of Imran Tahir made very little difference as Warner immediately went after him. After his dismissal it was Watson’s turn to have a go at him as he used the sweep shot to good effect against the spinner.

Shane Watson went onto make 40 very useful runs at a fast clip. He went after the bowlers from the time he came in. The burly all-rounder looked set for a bigger score till tried to hit Farhan Behardien for a six only to hole out in the deep.

South Africa have an uphill task before them but have made it a habit of chasing huge scores in the recent past.

Brief scores:

Australia 329 for 5 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 109, Steve Smith 73*; Farhan Behardien 1 for 39, Morne Morkel 2 for 84) vs South Africa

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