MItchell Marsh © AFP
MItchell Marsh played a breathtaking knock of 86 © AFP

By Sameer Jha

Sep 1, 2014

Australia scored 282 for the loss of seven wickets in the fifth One-Day International of the triangular series at Harare. Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Marsh made the biggest contributions for Australia scoring 85 and 86 respectively.

Australia started things off in style with Hughes hitting two boundaries off Dale Steyn in the first over itself. All was going well until the 11th over, when Aaron Finch fell trying to hit a big shot off Ryan McLaren. After his dismissal, Hughes combined beautifully with Steven Smith to rotate the strike and get the Australian total to  130 for one at the end of 29 overs. However, Smith fell in the 30th over and Glenn Maxwell, who walked in at No. 4, failed to fire and fell after scoring just two runs. The runs were drying up for Australia, and Hughes too departed for 85 trying to clear the fence.

It was looking like Australia won’t be able to reach 250, when Mitchell Marsh played a gem of an innings at the end. He hit three consecutive sixes off Dale Steyn in the 47th over. Marsh kept the tempo up for Australia and dispatched Ryan McLaren for 16 runs in the 48th over, and hit two consecutive sixes in the last over. The innings would definitely strengthen his case for inclusion in the Australia XI in the upcoming ICC World Cup 2015.

Australian bowlers will now look to defend the total, by putting up a good show. Earlier in the series, South Africa had chased down a target of  328 courtesy a heroic 202-run partnership by Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. While the Proteas would love to see a repeat of that, the Australian bowlers will try every means possible to prevent that from happening.

Brief scores:

Australia 282 for 7 in 50 overs (Phillip Hughes 85, Mitchell Marsh 86*; Aaron Phangiso 2 for 39) vs South Africa

Full scorecard

(Sameer Jha is a reporter at cricketcountry.comHe can be followed on Twitter at @SameerJha_)