Pandey's maiden ODI ton helps India clinch thriller

Australia 7 for 330 (Warner 122, M Marsh 102*) v India
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David Warner and Mitchell Marsh combined for a 118-run fifth-wicket stand © Getty Images

Mitchell Marsh played the innings he had been waiting to produce all summer after David Warner made his customary Sydney century to set India 331 in order to avoid a 5-0 Australian sweep in the ODI series on an SCG pitch that has offered something to the bowlers.

Heavy rain around Sydney in the lead-up to the match affected the ground staff’s preparation, ironically resulting in arguably the fairest surface of the international summer – excepting the grassy, experimental pitch prepared for the inaugural day-night Test in Adelaide. MS Dhoni duly sent the Australians in, and was rewarded with early wickets.

But after the loss of Aaron Finch, the captain Steven Smith, George Bailey and Shaun Marsh inside the first 22 overs of the afternoon, Warner and Mitchell Marsh combined for a partnership all the more impressive for the fact that they had to deal with a moving ball for virtually the first time since Adelaide back in November.

Warner’s hundred was his second from as many SCG fixtures this summer, and he also made a century against India on this ground in their Test match last January. His momentum built throughout the innings even as he appeared to try to make certain of a hundred after being dismissed for 93 in Canberra. The resultant celebration is now near enough to choreographed, but Warner added a baby rocking motion in recognition of the recent birth of his second daughter.

Less scripted was the manner of Mitchell Marsh’s celebration, having rattling to a maiden international hundred on the same ground where he made his first Sheffield Shield century for Western Australia in 2011. Twice before this summer, Mitchell Marsh had been promoted by Smith in order to grant the allrounder extra time in the middle, and he looked awkward each time.

This was more the role he has been groomed for, staging a middle order recovery after early wickets with good judgment and power hitting. There was some drama to Marsh’s hundredth run – he spent three nervy deliveries on 99, before flicking Ishant through midwicket to reach the milestone from a mere 81 balls. Marsh’s 82nd struck him amidships, and the final two overs reaped only seven runs.

The visitors had left out Ajinkya Rahane after he split the webbing in his right hand during the fourth match of the series in Canberra, and Manish Pandey was included in his place. Again India’s selectors preferred the allrounder Rishi Dhawan to R Ashwin, while Jasprit Bumrah was named for his debut in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Smith went into the game without Glenn Maxwell, who was still sore after he was struck on the knee while batting at Manuka Oval. Kane Richardson’s sore hamstring resulted in him being left out following his five-wicket haul in the fourth game, replaced by Scott Boland.

Ishant Sharma found seam movement in the very first over, fooling Aaron Finch into shouldering arms to a nip-backer that struck him in the vicinity of the off stump. The umpire Richard Kettleborough raised his finger without hesitation, though ball tracking was to show the ball may not quite have been moving back enough.

Smith looked at ease despite his early arrival to the crease, until the introduction of Bumrah who appeared to catch him a little off guard. Bumrah generated decent pace from an abbreviated run up and unusual action, and after tying down Smith was able to gain his wicket when a pull shot found Rohit Sharma at midwicket. Bumrah later added the wicket of James Faulkner: his control put other more experienced teammates to shame.

Neither George Bailey nor Shaun Marsh were able to prosper, the former fooled by Dhawan’s leg cutter and the latter a run out when Umesh Yadav’s return from the outfield rebounded from the knee of Gurkeerat Singh to disturb the bails. At 4 for 117, Australia were teetering, but Warner and Marsh were to recover the innings in some style.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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