Finch’s forgotten century as much-maligned Manuka pitch produces another cracker

It’s apparently the pitch imperfect, a much-maligned deck, but it proved to not only be a happy hunting ground for Aaron Finch, but cricket as well in another amazing runfest at Manuka Oval.


Finch produced his second consecutive century in Canberra, having also passed the ton against South Africa there last summer.

And he did it in impressive fashion, switching seamlessly from playing second-fiddle to Warner to setting the pace.

His 107 was two short of the total he scored against South Africa as Australia looked certain losers with just 12 overs remaining before an astonishing Indian collapse gifted them the game.

The visitors were coasting with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli in total control of the game, but their demise in quick succession was the start of a remarkable collapse.

It was just another thriller at Manuka — on the back of last year’s Big Bash League final, which went down to the last ball, and a record-breaking Chris Gayle double century during the last summer’s World Cup.

But unlike the controversial Gayle’s match-winning knock, Finch’s century was all but forgotten after the manner in which the Aussie bowlers turned things around.

“I hope [it’s not forgotten] because that was a serious innings. [Finch] and Davey [Warner] set the tone I guess and us bowlers were loving it, but we weren’t really because we knew we had to go out there and bowl on that wicket,” Aussie man-of-the-match Kane Richardson said.

“He did the same thing here [last summer]. He loves Canberra I think, this wicket, that was a good knock for him and will give him a lot of confidence going into Sydney, and he’s the T20 captain as well so it’s the perfect time for him to make a big hundred.”

While Finch continued his love affair with Manuka, it wasn’t the happy homecoming Nathan Lyon would have wanted, the former ACT Comet struggling with the ball to post figures of 1-76 off his 10 overs.

He was hoping to press his case to be Australia’s leading spinner in all three forms of the game, but Australia captain Steve Smith’s gamble to open the bowling with Lyon didn’t pay off.

He went for 22 off his first two overs and continued to struggle until he fought back to get a wicket as the Indian scalps were tumbling late in the game.

Having not only established himself as Australia’s No.1 spinner at Test level, but also the greatest ever offie for his country, Lyon was hoping he to become the No.1 tweaker in ODIs as well as the Twenty20 World Cup in India this March.

Lyon played his last ODI against Pakistan in Dubai in October 2014, while he’s never played an international T20.

It will be interesting to see whether the selectors stick with him for the final one-dayer at his NSW home ground of Sydney on Saturday.