Australia 5 for 378 (Warner 119, Marsh 76, Smith 72, Head 57) v New Zealand
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
David Warner hit 14 fours and a six in his typically bruising 114, his sixth ODI ton this year © Getty Images
David Warner and Steven Smith, then a supercharged Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, catapulted Australia to a commanding 5 for 378 and a daunting chase for New Zealand to stay in contention for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy at Manuka Oval.
After the toss was delayed by more than half an hour due to light drizzle in Canberra, the hosts were given an ideal start by Warner and a noticeably tighter Aaron Finch, getting through an early period of new ball movement to ease the pathway for the rest.
Warner’s hundred combined judicious shot selection with plenty of hustle between the wickets and power off the bat, his sixth in ODIs this year. Most notable were his muscular, punched drives down the ground that gave New Zealand’s seamers very little margin for error.
Smith, following up from his ground record 164 at the SCG on Sunday, produced another innings of substance and style in Warner’s wake, as the pair combined for a stand worth 145 at better than a run a ball. Head was promoted above Mitchell Marsh when Warner exited, and vindicated the decision by clattering 57 from 32 balls, before Marsh himself followed up with a bullying 76 from 39 – the swap appeared to suit both players.
Needing to win to keep the series alive, New Zealand dropped Lockie Ferguson after his Sydney debut for the more experienced swing bowler Tim Southee. Australia dropped Adam Zampa from the side that won handsomely at the SCG, replacing him with the allround skills of James Faulkner.
Having gambled on overcast skies and the potential for a slightly tacky pitch, Kane Williamson needed early wickets but did himself no favours when placing only two slips for Warner. In his first over, Trent Boult found enough swing and bounce to draw an edge from Warner, but it flew past Jimmy Neesham’s outstretched left hand at slip rather than straight into the lap of where third slip might have been.
Finch, meanwhile, showed he had worked on his first ball dismissal at the SCG, getting forward and across to cover the moving ball, and ensured that Williamson resorted to the spin of Mitchell Santner in only the 11th over of the innings. By the time Finch was bowled behind his pads trying to sweep Santner, there were 68 runs on the board and a platform had been laid.
Smith wasted little time picking up the thread left by his Sydney innings, while Warner played shots all round the ground without ever losing control of his tempo. Through strong running and the occasional boundary, he pushed on to three figures, doing so with near enough to 20 overs of the innings still remaining.
It took a fine low catch from Williamson at cover to account for Warner, before Smith skied an attempt to loft over cover and so missed out on consecutive hundreds. Head was rapidly into stride, pinging boundaries with relish, in contrast with a more halting effort from Mitchell Marsh.
These two had traded places in the batting order, and it was not hard to imagine Head keeping his new-found place at No. 5 in the future, even if Marsh gradually found his rhythm to strike the ball with the sort of power associated with his best batting days. He put an exclamation point on the innings with a trio of straight sixes in the final over from a humbled Matt Henry.
Of the New Zealand bowlers, only Santner avoided considerable punishment; a trio of no-balls and the resultant free hits did not help either.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo