Australia vs South Africa 3rd ODI: Finch gives Australia 2-1 lead

Finch celebrates after scoring his fifth ODI century

Finch celebrates after scoring his fifth ODI century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia opener Aaron Finch scored a breathtaking century to not only help his side beat South Africa by 73 runs in the third ODI in Canberra, but also give them a 2-1 lead in the series.

Finch was well supported by fellow opener David Warner and batsman Steve Smith as they both smashed half-centuries.

However, South Africa opening batsman Hashim Amla and captain AB de Villiers also deserve a lot of credit as they made 102 and 52 respectively.

Australia captain George Bailey would have been thrilled with his decision to bat first after Warner and Finch amassed a 118-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Warner was caught by de Villiers at midwicket off the bowling of Vernon Philander.

Warner’s excellent knock of 53 came off 50 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.

Warner gave Australia a strong start

Warner gave Australia a strong start

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Finch and Shane Watson kept the runs flowing with a 71-run partnership before Watson was caught by David Miller at long-on off the bowling of Farhaan Behardien for 40.

Finch and Smith kept Australia in control with a 53-run partnership, during which Finch registered his fifth ODI century, before he was clean bowled by de Villiers for 109 off 127 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and three sixes.

Bailey only made 12 runs before he was caught by Faf du Plessis off the bowling of Morne Morkel.

Mitchell Marsh made a quickfire 22 before he was caught by de Villiers at long-off off the bowling of Morkel.

Thanks to Smith’s unbeaten knock of 73, which came off 55 balls and included eight boundaries, Australia finished on 329/5 off their 50 overs.

Smith hammered eight boundaries during his dazzling knock of 73

Smith hammered eight boundaries during his dazzling knock of 73

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Morkel was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Philander, Behardien and de Villiers chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 330 to win, South Africa got off to a superb start as Amla and Quinton de Kock accumulated a 108-run partnership, during which Amla recorded his half-century, before de Kock was caught by Marsh at backward point off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 47.

Du Plessis made 17 runs before he was caught by Warner off the bowling of Marsh.

Rilee Rossouw failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught behind off the bowling of Mitchell Starc for two runs.

Amla and de Villiers steadied the innings with a 76-run partnership, during which Amla registered his 17th ODI century and de Villiers his half-century, before de Villiers was given out lbw off the bowling of Kane Richardson.

De Villiers reviewed the decision, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit the stumps. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

De Villiers’ fantastic knock of 52 came off 34 balls and included six boundaries and a six.

De Villiers made a gutsy 52

De Villiers made a gutsy 52

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Amla went on to score 102 off 115 balls, which included nine boundaries, before he was cleaned up by Hazlewood.

Amla's 17th ODI century went in vain

Amla’s 17th ODI century went in vain

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Miller only made three runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Starc.

Philander fared no better as he was caught by Finch at midwicket off the bowling of Starc for one run.

Dale Steyn mustered 12 runs before he was caught by Marsh at mid-off off the bowling of Starc.

Behardien also made 12 runs before he was caught by Finch at mid-off off the bowling of Hazlewood.

Due to a knee injury, Imran Tahir was unable to bat and Australia ended up winning the match by 73 runs.

Starc was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Hazlewood snapped up three and Richardson and Marsh claimed one wicket each.

Smith edged out Finch for the Man of the Match award, and said: “Finch laid the foundation early which was good for a big score. I had free reign to do whatever I wanted. [About his flicks on the leg side] We all practice hard in the nets for such shots and that’s how we get better, that’s how it comes out in the game. The boys bowled very well, in the right spots even after the ball got soft and it started to reverse. Hazlewood is outstanding these days and it’s great to see Starc back with some wickets.”

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