Australia v India, 5th ODI: Manish Pandey scores brilliant hundred to give India the first victory of the series
In a match that was nothing but a dead rubber, all that was left for India was to salvage some pride and avoid a clean sweep by the home side in Sydney.
After having almost chased down a mammoth score in the fourth ODI, India seemed comfortable doing the same in final ODI and MS Dhoni chose to bowl first after winning the toss. India missed the services of injured duo, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ajinkya Rahane, who were replaced by Jasprit Bumrah and Manish Pandey respectively.
India got off to the best start possible as Ishant Sharma trapped Aaron Finch LBW, although replays suggested that the ball was just missing the off-stump. Steven Smith and David Warner then stabilised the hosts’ innings with their 58-run partnership.
Jasprit Bumrah, making his debut, came in as a first-change bowler and bowled very well as he found some seam movement, too. His discipline earned him some fruit for his labour as he picked up his first wicket – a big wicket in the form of Steven Smith.
Warner, although not looking his best, continued playing his natural game and attacked the Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav was all over the place as he leaked away runs at ease.
Rishi Dhawan, who was one of the better bowlers in the previous game, picked up his maiden ODI wicket in the form of George Bailey as the Australian batsman edged it to mid-on.
Shaun Marsh came into the side in place of the injured Glenn Maxwell and looked good in the time he was at the crease before a freak run-out dismissal. A throw from the deep hit Gurkeerat Singh Mann's knee and then knocked the bails off.
What followed next was an excellent batting display from Warner and an out-of-form Mitchell Marsh. The duo put on an 118-run partnership to take their team out of trouble and scored runs at a good rate.
David Warner, after being out in the nervous nineties in the previous game, finally scored his first ODI century against India with a well-made 122 off 113 balls. Warner's knock included nine fours and three sixes.
Mitchell Marsh played a great attacking innings and got a deserving outcome for his exploits – a maiden ODI hundred. His unbeaten knock of 102 came from just 84 balls and had nine fours and two sixes.
M Marsh's 85-run partnership with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade took Australia to great score, when at one point they did not look like getting even 300. Wade played a useful knock of 36 off 27 balls to up the run rate in the death overs and give Australia a total of 330/7 in 50 overs.
The Indian bowlers, other than Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, were far from impressive as they sprayed the ball all around the pitch and conceded easy runs.
Bumrah had a wonderful debut as he picked up two wickets and gave away only 40 runs in his 10 overs. The 22-year-old also found some seam movement on a pitch that did not offer much for the bowlers.
Ishant Sharma picked up two wickets while Rishi Dhawan and Umesh Yadav picked up one each. Yadav was smashed all around the ground as he conceded 82 runs in 8 overs.
India got off to a great start as the openers continued their good run in the series and put up a 123-run partnership. Shikhar Dhawan, who found his batting form in the last couple of games, started off slow, but picked up pace very well later on and scored a brilliant knock of 78 runs off 56 runs.
Kohli, who was the top run-getter before the start of the match, did not get going as he edged a ball well outside off-stump to Wade and was dismissed for just 8 runs.
India was dependant on the top-order for all the four ODIs, and it looked like India were in trouble at 134/2. However, a 97-run partnership between Rohit Sharma and Manish Pandey gave India some chance to win their first game.
Rohit was dismissed for 99 by a very consistent John Hastings after he got a faint edge to the keeper.
Manish Pandey played a brilliant innings and gave enough reason as to why he should be a consistent member of the Indian squad. He remained unbeaten on 104 off 81 balls until the end of the innings and led India to their first victory of the ODI series.
Pandey was controlled from the start of his innings and played a mature knock hitting shots all around the ground. Dhoni gave him able support until the last over and scored a useful knock of 34.
With this win, India maintain their No. 2 position in the ICC Rankings and avoid an embarrassing clean sweep defeat.
Brief Scores: India (toss) 331/4, 49.4 overs (Pandey 104*, Rohit Sharma 99; Hastings 3/61) beat Australia 330/7, 50 overs (Warner 122, Mitchell Marsh 102*; Bumra 2/40, Ishant Sharma 2/60) by six wickets.