Finch ton leads Australia to win

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Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Aaron Finch’s superb century at the top of the order helped Australia move 2-1 ahead in their series against South Africa after a commanding 73-run win in the third one-day international.

Finch came back into form after a lean trot by striking 109 off 127 balls while David Warner contributed 53 and Steven Smith added a fluid 73 off 55 balls with some lovely hitting towards the end of the innings to take Australia to 329 for five.

It proved too big a hurdle for South Africa to overcome, despite an opening stand of 108 from Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla, who went on to register his 16th ODI century in Canberra.

Yet they lost their last six wickets for just 32 runs to hand the initiative in the series back to Australia, who responded magnificently following their setback in Perth.

The hosts had been bowled out of 154 on Sunday and had a point to prove after winning the toss, with openers Finch and Warner laying a platform for the rest of the order with a century stand.

Warner was the more attacking of the two early on, as Finch attempted to find his feet following a lean trot that had seen him go 13 innings, for either country or state, without going past 50.

Warner brought up the century stand with two fours in an over off Imran Tahir while the pair passed 50 shortly afterwards.

Warner perished two balls after bringing up his half-century by muscling Vernon Philander to AB de Villiers at midwicket to depart for 53.

Shane Watson, though, picked up where Warner left off, bludgeoning part-timer De Villiers over the midwicket boundary en route to a quickfire 40 off 38 balls before holing out to the same area off Farhaan Behardien.

Yet Finch continued at pace and back-to-back boundaries off Tahir took him within sight of his century, which he brought up off the next ball with a single down the ground after a misfield from the spinner.

He then departed for a well crafted 109 after missing a De Villiers slower ball.

But Steve Smith took up the mantle to lead the hosts towards a formidable target and he surgically picked the gaps to keep the scoring rate ticking over in the final few overs.

George Bailey and Mitchell Marsh contributed cameos before both holing out off Morne Morkel, who leaked 19 runs in the final over en route to expensive figures of two for 84.

Yet South Africa would have been confident of chasing the total down, especially as Australia had left out talismanic paceman Mitchell Johnson.

Their hopes would have increased by Amla and De Kock putting on 108 for the opening wicket.

Yet De Kock perished for 47 after top-edging Josh Hazlewood to short third-man, while Faf Du Plessis and Rilee Rossouw came and went to leave the Proteas on 148 for three.

Yet Amla characteristically soldiered on, while captain De Villiers produced an array of imaginative strokes to bump up the run-rate.

He hammered Watson for four then six before crunching three consecutive boundaries off Marsh on the way to a quickfire 50 off 32 balls.

Amla went to his well-crafted century two balls later but the visitors’ hopes took a blow when De Villiers was trapped in front for 52, aiming a heave off Kane Richardson.

Amla then fell in the next over for 102 after being bowled by Hazlewood and from there it was a procession as South Africa collapsed from 224 for three to 256 all out, with left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc (four for 32) blowing away the lower order.

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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