Steve Smith’s brilliant century and fantastic performance from pacers helped Australia clinch a 25-run series win over New Zealand in the third and final ODI of the series at Cairns on September 11.
With this victory, Australia has captured the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy 3-0. Put to bat first by New Zealand, Australia scored 267/5 in their 50 overs. Smith (105) and Marnus Labuschagne (52) and wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey (42*) scored most of their side’s runs. Pacer Trent Boult was the leading wicket-taker for New Zealand in the match with 2/25 in ten overs.
Kiwis gave the hosts a tough fight, with Glenn Phillips (47), James Neesham (36) and Finn Allen (35) playing some useful knocks, but Mitchell Starc (3/60) led the bowling attack from the front to ensure that the visitors fell 25-runs of win.
Put to bat first by New Zealand, Australia were off to a bad start. Pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee damaged the top order once again with two early blows, sending back Josh Inglis (10) and captain Aaron Finch (5). Finch could not have a memorable outing in his final appearance for Aussies in ODIs. With his dismissal by Southee, who bowled a full length ball that went past Finch and disturbed the furniture, Australia was at 2/16.
The new duo of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne had responsibility to bail their side out of trouble and prevent another collapse. The duo started scoring runs intelligently, making full use of bad balls bowled by Kiwis. They helped their side cross 130-run mark. Their 118-run stand ended after pacer Lockie Ferguson’s delivery was caught by Boult at mid-on while the batter attempted a pull. Labuschagne was gone at 52 off 78 balls.
Steve Smith found gaps really well, mostly hitting boundaries. He brought up his 12th ODI ton and formed a 69-run stand with wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey, that helped Aussies cross 200-run mark.
Santner got big wicket of Smith, dislodging his stumps while he tried hitting big coming down the track. The batter scored a brilliant 105 off 131 balls.
Carey carried on the innings, building stands with Glenn Maxwell (14) and Cameron Green (25*) to take Australia to 267/5 in 50 overs.
Trent Boult was the best bowler for Kiwis once again, taking 2/25. Ferguson, Santner and Southee got one wicket each.
Chasing 268, openers Allen and Devon Conway gave Kiwis a cautioned start. Conway hit five fours and looked good, but Sean Abbott got his wicket when he was at 21. Smith took the catch at point and NZ were at 1/49. Green also struck soon to send back Allen for 35 off 38 balls. Kiwis were at 2/57.
Captain Kane Williamson and Tom Latham kept scoreboard ticking but a stumping by Carey on a delivery by Adam Zampa sent back Latham for 10 runs. Kiwis looked in trouble at 3/77.
Williamson and Daryl Mitchell helped the side cross 100-run mark. But soon, skipper’s run at crease was cut short by an unfortunate run out by Labuschagne and Carey for just 27 runs. Mitchell fell just few balls later to Josh Hazlewood for 16 runs. Kiwis needed a stand to revive their chances of winning the match, with half of their side back in the hut by 112/5.
Glenn Phillips and all-rounder James Neesham carried on with the chase, forming the first fifty-run stand of the innings that Kiwis needed desperately. Neesham’s fall for 36 off 34 balls to Green ended the 61-run stand.
Mitchell Santner came next on crease to boost the scoring rate of his side. Phillips developed another useful 51-run stand with Santner. Starc’s pace put an end to this stand, sending back Phillips three-runs short of half-century after he was caught by Abbott at fine leg. Soon, Abbott dismissed Santner for a well-made 30 runs.
New Zealand was at 230/8 in 46.2 overs. They could have won the match from this point, needing 38 in 22 balls. But the rest of batting line up could not put up a fight and could only score 12 more before they were all out. Australia bundled out Kiwis for just 242 in 49.5 overs and won the game by 25 runs.
Starc took the winning wicket, finishing with 3/60 in 9.5 overs. Abbott and Green got two wickets. Hazlewood, Zampa got one wicket.
Steve Smith was adjudged as player of the match for his fine century. (ANI)
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