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19-Nov-2014 11:30:00 GMT
Australia v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Canberra

Finch and Pace Earns Australia Win

Canberra: Finch scored century, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood share seven wickets as Australia go 2-1 up.

Australia have inflicted capital punishment on South Africa, taking the third Carlton Mid ODI by 72 runs in Canberra.

Opening batsman Aaron Finch thumped 109 from 127 and Steve Smith 72 not out off 55 balls to propel the hosts to a venue-high score of 329 for 5.

The Proteas made a fist of the chase off the back of Hashim Amla's first one-day international century against Australia, and when he and AB de Villiers (52 off 34) were at the crease, South Africa looked to be favourites.

But their wickets sparked a collapse of 4-14, with Mitchell Starc (4-32) and Josh Hazlewood (3-51) the standouts with the ball.

George Bailey's men now head to Melbourne for Friday's fourth ODI with a 2-1 lead in the five match series.

After opted to bat, Aussies opening pair in Aaron Finch and David Warner played with caution and care in the early going, resisting the urge to play at anything on the stumps, instead waiting for width and freedom.

In the 10th and final over of the first Powerplay, Finch lofted Morkel over mid-off to lift Australia's score over 50 and give the hosts the initial momentum.

Moments after the pair raised their century stand, Finch was the first man to lift the bat for his own milestone, reaching 50 from 65 balls that included four fours and two sixes.

Canberra then witnessed something rarer than a double dissolution – the batting Powerplay taken before the 35th over.

The going was good when Finch featured in his second 50-run stand of the match; the Victorian and Watson taking down de Villiers' own gentle medium pace for 13 runs to end 30 overs on 184 for 1.

But as Watson began eying his fifty, the veteran allrounder was undone by the pace, or lack thereof, of Farhaarn Behardien, caught at wide long-on by David Miller to fall for 40 (38).

Finch however, was locked on to his fifth ODI century, and after a brace of boundaries through the off-side off the leg-spin of Imran Tahir moved him to 99, a push down the ground brought up his ton from 117 balls to produce an emotional fist pump and wave to the standing ovation from the sell-out Canberra crowd.

Finch's knock would come to an end on 109 (127) in the 41st over when his lusty swipe across the line failed to make contact, losing his middle stump to the persistent de Villiers.

The Proteas were stingy in the final stages, dismissing Bailey for 12 (15) and conceding only one boundary in six overs before Mitch Marsh's powerful bunt down the ground found the rope in the 46th over off Behardien.

Smith worked, glided, swatted and lobbed his way to a half-century from 45 balls as the 300 was raised with two overs remaining.

South Africa's pursuit of 330 started in positive fashion. Hashim Amla drove Josh Hazlewood freely for two fours through cover to get his innings off to a flying start. Amla was a man possessed during the mandatory Powerplay, elegantly stroking seven boundaries off Australia's quick men to leave the run chase on track at 62 for none.

Bailey was desperate for a breakthrough, but as the overs ticked on the opening pair made the seemingly mountainous target look more like a distant molehill. When Amla raised his fifty from 46 balls, South Africa had left base camp and we're already 100 runs down by the 16th over.

With de Kock on the footsteps of an ODI half-century, a wild pull shot was top-edged to the safe hands of Marsh at short third man to go for 47 (53), giving Hazlewood the much needed breakthrough.

A wicket traditionally brings joy to the fielding side, and while the Australians were elated they'd made the breakthrough, the sight of du Plessis striding out to the centre put the dismissal in perspective.

But the wicket did change the course of the match. Boundaries became a little harder to find, the required run rate continued to creep skyward, and when the big shot was needed to release the pressure valve, du Plessis's hoick to deep mid-wicket was swallowed by Warner to see him depart for 17 (21).

There's a saying in cricket that goes something like 'one wicket brings another', and so it did when Rilee Rossouw edged Starc behind to go for two (5) to leave the match on an even keel at 148 for 3 from 28 overs.

Amla's path to his 17th ODI ton was made easier with de Villiers's domination of the bowling, hitting three consecutive boundaries, all behind square of the wicket, off Marsh to ease the asking rate and keep the bubble between balls remaining and runs required at an acceptable level.

Earlier, Australia have won the toss and have opted to bat.

Australia have made three changes -- Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson and Xavier Doherty come in place of Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Mitchell Johnson. South Africa are unchanged.


David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, George Bailey (Capt.), Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Xavier Doherty, Josh Hazlewood

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Rilee Rossouw, AB de Villiers (Capt.), Farhaan Behardien, David Miller, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir

Brief scores
Australia -
329/5 (Finch 109, Smith 73*, Warner 53)
South Africa - 256 (Amla 102, de Villiers 52, Starc 4-32, Hazlewood 3-51)
Result - Australia won by 73 runs
MOM - Steven Smith (Australia)

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