Australia v India, 5th ODI, Sydney January 23, 2016

Pandey's maiden ODI ton helps India clinch thriller

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India 4 for 331 (Pandey 104*, Rohit 99, Dhawan 78, Hastings 3-61) beat Australia 7 for 330 (Warner 122, Mitchell Marsh 102*, Bumrah 2-40, Ishant 2-60) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Chappell: Hundred will give Pandey more belief

Manish Pandey and MS Dhoni, rising star and fading force, combined to deliver India victory over Australia at the last possible opportunity in another run-fest at the SCG. Having crumpled in a humiliating heap in Canberra, the tourists were able to hold their nerve this time, helped by a pair of critical Australian dropped catches.

David Warner and Mitchell Marsh had made centuries for Australia, but the allrounder conceded 13 from the final over of the night to allow the visitors avoid the ignominy of a 5-0 series sweep. It also provided partial vindication of Dhoni's longtime belief in seeing out an innings, even if his steady 34 was a diminished version of supreme closing displays he used to be able to put together for his team. Australia were denied an unbeaten home summer.

Fluent hands from Shikhar Dhawan and the Man-of-the-Series Rohit Sharma had put India in sight of victory though both men fell short of centuries. Dhawan was brilliantly caught by Shaun Marsh at deep point, before Rohit reached 99 only to edge John Hastings behind and be given out by the umpire Paul Wilson after a dramatic pause for the crowd of 33,710.

Pandey, playing his fourth ODI, weathered that moment and pushed on to his highest and best innings for India. His crisp stroke play found plenty of gaps around the SCG and kept the run chase within sight. Dhoni arrived at the fall of Rohit's wicket and after a halting start India's captain gradually found his range in time-honoured fashion.

The pair allowed the equation to leak out to 35 to win from the final three overs, before taking 13 from the 48th over and nine from the 49th. Needing 13 from the final over, Mitchell Marsh gave away a wide first ball, before Dhoni hammered a six over long off. He then perished trying to repeat the shot, but Pandey squirted a boundary past the gloves of Matthew Wade to reach a deserved hundred and put the result beyond doubt.

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. Dhoni duly sent the Australians in, and was rewarded with early wickets.

But after the loss of Aaron Finch, Steven Smith, the captain, George Bailey and Shaun Marsh inside the first 22 overs of the afternoon, David 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 rattled 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 had 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 Mitchell 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. Mitchell Marsh's 82nd struck him amidships, and precious momentum was lost in the final 12 balls.

Those two overs meant India were chasing a target somewhat skinnier than they had faced in Canberra; Dhawan and Rohit began with venomous intent, and for a time there seemed nothing that would stem their momentum. The stand was worth 123 at comfortably better than a run-a-ball when Dhawan lofted John Hastings and was caught by a leaping Shaun Marsh.

Rohit's prolific scoring in this series was completed by another confident hand, which ended only when a baying crowd and tight field placed by Smith had the opener edging behind. Shaun Marsh had dropped a far simpler chance from him the over before. That wicket may have given Australia the momentum to go on to win, but Dhoni's early struggles were reprieved when Nathan Lyon spilled another chance at deep midwicket.

The spin of Lyon and Smith cost 78 from 10 overs, leaving much responsibility on the shoulders of Hastings and Scott Boland. Mitchell Marsh bowled well enough until India's final onslaught, and the all-round skills of Glenn Maxwell, missing due to a knee knock in Canberra, were notable for their absence.

Ishant Sharma had found seam movement in the very first over of the afternoon, 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 the debutant Jasprit Bumrah who appeared to catch Smith 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. They seemed to have done enough, until a mere seven runs from the final two overs of the innings gave India a glimpse.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ammo666 on January 26, 2016, 9:33 GMT

    Oh the greatest team with the best players in the world have won at least one game..AUS got tired of winning 4 in a row against the greatest team & players in the world lol

  • Al_Bundy1 on January 25, 2016, 21:29 GMT

    This should serve as a lesson to India - keep playing the same players, keep losing the same way. Robin Uthappa and Saurabh Tiwary have been proving themselves in Ranji Trophy/IPL for quite some time. Pervez Rasool can be a good spin all rounder outside India. Ashwin and Jadeja are toothless outside India. Krishna Das and Shardul Thakur are 2 medium pacers who have done well in domestic cricket. Try them instead of Yadav and Aaron.

  • subnarayan on January 25, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    I saw Ian Chappell criticising Dhoni's captaincy on the ODI series as too defensive and that he should be replaced. A captain can only attack if he is given the right bowling attack. Indian team has never had an attacking fast bowler after ZahirKhan. The present team attack is a huge weak link in the Indian team. Added to the flat wickets and the dominant Aussie batting what else any captain do? Unlike test matches ODI games are result oriented and no Draw business. By attacking with weak bowlers you can loose the match in a couple of high scoring overs. By defending with good fielding you save more runs and manage the target with a strong batting. This is what Dhoni has been doing all along and has seen success. Everyone has seen Dhoni at IPL T20 attacking given the right bowling attack. Probably guys like Mike Hussey, Mathew Hayden can vouch for this being part of the Chennai Super Kings. Call for change in captaincy is unwarranted !!!

  • Naresh28 on January 25, 2016, 14:06 GMT

    India continues to have abundant batting talent. Some call us FTB but really, Indian batsman have scored 100's in Oz, Nz, SA , Eng. As a team we fail in the bowling department and therefore we lose games because of this.

  • DMBangera on January 25, 2016, 11:40 GMT

    eng_mdkhan, One correction, It should be Saffron, White and Green not green, white & orange.Anyways I can understand your difficulties.

  • dalok on January 25, 2016, 0:07 GMT

    We have to give Pandey more chances after this performance. He needs to be kept in the mix for atleast next two ODI series. I was not impressed by Mann, Rishi Dhawan, and Sran. I also feel it is high time we start dropping Jadeja in away series. He hasn't done anything noteworthy outside India.

  • mohsin9975 on January 24, 2016, 22:11 GMT

    One crucial point no ones mentioned here is India lost 4-1 to a 2nd string attack inspite of playing 2 warm-up games before a LOI series(1 T20 & a 50 over game)which no other visiting teams get to play.Had traditional AUS wickets been prepared for d series, Ind bowlers wud've come into play & AUS wud've had to play their best bowlers to beat India. No doubt, AUS wudve still won d series wid d same scoreline, but d games dat Ind wud've lost wudnt hav been as close. Ind cud've won couple of games bowling under lights but, wud've been thrashed in d remaining games as Ind batting depends heavily on Sharma & Kohli(AUS had 100s from Warner, Finch, Smith, Bailey, MMarsh & 96 from Maxwell). Fans wudve lost interest had AUS lead 3-0 widout star Ind batting putting up a show, unlike how it panned out

  • dharsanti on January 24, 2016, 19:39 GMT

    Kohli and dhoni shud retire

  • neutralcricket on January 24, 2016, 17:42 GMT

    @5WOMBATS Kohli's leadership skills are not defined by a single incidence. Gesture towards crowd were not justifiable then and now. Though, he is channelizing his aggression towards game of cricket which is a good thing. Nobody is perfect so critics like you are necessary part of life to find the faults, however be watchful to not become the fault itself.

  • Kvivek3 on January 24, 2016, 17:26 GMT

    Highly disappointed with the recent pitches (roads) irrespective of the countries. I believe this may be because of IPL introduction. We Indian spectators are the major reason for this drastic impact in cricket world. But as a cricket lover, I believe there should be a balance in the Pitch (Batting / Bowling). It can be either sipping / Seeming track, but should not be like road. ICC should have to respect the bowlers too, they are also players. It is making me to go back and search on youtube for the swing balls from Imran Khan / Wasim / Richard Hadly / Zaheer / Mcgrath etc now a days there is no pitch is helping / balancing the bowlers. very rare. Its no needs to be full bowling friendly, there should be a balance in cricket. How many cricket lovers are agree to this ? - Vivek from India.

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