Pandey’s timely ton leads India to a thrilling win in Sydney









Manish Pandey is congratulated for his ton at the 5th ODI between India and Australia

By Kersi Meher-Homji  

I had headlined my yesterday’s story in e-TIDU: “Will India turn it around in Sydney today?”

They certainly did, thanks to two youngsters, batsman Manish Pandey and medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah as also to the consistently aggressive Rohit Sharma.








Jasprit Bumrah

The Canberra collapse of Wednesday looked a thing of the past as India chased a formidable total of 7 for 330 to win by six wickets in Sydney with only two balls to spare.

Many will call it a consolation win but to me it was an inspiring victory as India plays a series of three T20 matches starting on India’s Republic Day and Australia Day in Adelaide. India’s morale is up, beware Australia.

India’s win ended Australia’s sequence of 18 successive ODI victories in Australia. The last time they had lost an ODI at home was to South Africa in November 2014.

India won the toss and sent Australia in to bat. They totalled 7 for 330 thanks to entertaining centuries by opener David Warner (122) and Mitch Marsh (102 not out in the final over). It was Marsh’s first international century.

The only Indian bowler to impress me was 22 year-old debutant Bumrah who took 2 for 40 in 10 economical overs.

India started the chase promisingly with openers Rohit Sharma (99 with three sixes) and Shikhar Dhawan (78) putting on 123 runs. Then it was all Pandey, aged 26, who mixed caution with splendid stroke-play. He guided India to a thrilling win in the final pulsating over.

In only his fourth ODI, Pandey reached his century off only 80 balls, hitting eight fours and a six. With out of touch skipper MS Dhoni (34) he added 94 for the fourth wicket.

Off the fourth ball of the final over by Mitch Marsh, zestful Pandey reached his century with a heart-warming four. The next ball he took two runs and India won.

What a cliff hanger with the result in doubt till the very end! Over 33,800 spectators, half of them Indians, rose to the heroics of 26 year-old Pandey. If only he was selected in the previous ODIs.

Pandey was the popular Man of the Match. He said at the presentation, “Batting No. 4 is one of the chances I got because Ajju [Ajinkya Rahane] was injured, and I wanted to capitalise, especially on these wickets, with 300 scored in every match. Always nice to have Indian people in the stadium, it’s a big boost to us.”

Rohit Sharma was adjudged Man of the Series. When asked whether he was disappointed on getting out on 99 he replied, “Not really, because we won the game tonight. Young Manish Pandey did really well, playing his fourth one-day international, getting that hundred and getting us off the mark. Over the course of the tournament we played some really good cricket. Little moments we couldn’t capitalise on. We never thought we were 4-0 down. We wanted to come and win this game and go with a positive frame of mind into the T20 series. I’ve been batting really well in one-day cricket, it’s important that I keep scoring runs for the team.”

Rohit had an outstanding series, being the only batsman to top 400 runs, amassing 441 runs at 110.25 with two centuries (highest score 171 not out) and a 99.

Next best were Virat Kohli, 381 runs at 76.20 with two centuries and Australia’s captain Steve Smith 315 at 63.00 with one century.


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