Thu, Nov 20, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Big-hitting Finch, Smith bat Aussies past Proteas

AFP, CANBERRA

Aaron Finch of Australia bats in their third one-day international against South Africa at the Manuka Oval in Canberra yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Australia cruised to a 73-run victory over South Africa in their third one-day international yesterday on the back of big-hitting innings by Aaron Finch and Steve Smith.

Opener Finch cracked 109 off 127 balls and Smith hit a swashbuckling unbeaten 73 off 55 balls, as Australia amassed a formidable 329-5 off their 50 overs in Canberra.

The Proteas were always up against it and were dismissed for 256 in the 45th over, with last man Imran Tahir unable to bat due to a knee injury sustained while fielding.

The hosts now lead the five-match series 2-1 ahead of the final games in Melbourne tomorrow and in Sydney on Sunday.

Left-armer Mitchell Starc troubled South Africa with his late swing and finished with four for 32 off eight overs, while fellow opener Josh Hazlewood had three for 51.

Hashim Amla hit 102 off 115 balls and skipper A.B. de Villiers cracked a belligerent 52 off 34 balls to briefly threaten Australia’s bowlers.

Smith was named man of the match for his innings, which was full of improvised shots, including one boundary cheekily hit through his legs.

Finch was in blistering form as the hosts madoe full use of the slow Manuka Oval pitch after winning the toss. He hit nine fours and three sixes to spearhead Australia’s run plunder before he was dismissed by part-time bowler De Villiers in the 41st over.

Fellow opener David Warner pounded 53 off 50 balls, with six fours and two sixes, in a first-wicket stand of 118 in 20 overs. He looked set for a big score before he found De Villiers, who took a leaping catch at midwicket.

Smith crashed eight fours in a majestic knock, while Shane Watson took a more controlled 40 off 38 balls before he miscued and was caught in the deep by David Miller off the medium pacers of Farhaan Behardien.

Morne Morkel was the best of the Proteas bowlers with two for 84, while Vernon Philander, De Villiers and Behardien took a wicket each.

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