SYDNEY, Jan 23: Young Manish Pandey struck a brilliant unbeaten 104 as India thwarted Australia�s push for a clean-sweep with a record run chase to notch up a thrilling consolation six-wicket victory in the fifth and final cricket one-dayer here today.
Australia thus won the high-scoring series by 4-1 margin.
Chasing a steep target of 331, India�s batting rode on Pandey�s maiden ODI ton and a superb opening stand of 123 between Rohit Sharma (99) and Shikhar Dhawan (78) to overhaul the score with just two balls to spare, setting up the record for the highest run chase against the home team on Australian soil.
After having bungled a similar chase in the previous match, the Indians made sure that they did not suffer any catastrophic collapse today with Pandey being the glue that held one end.
The visitors, after cruising along nicely at one stage, were left to pick 13 of the last over which was bowled by Mitchell Marsh. He bowled the first delivery wide as the equation came down to 12 off six balls.
Skipper Dhoni, who was struggling to middle the ball throughout the entire innings cleared the fence off a low full-toss bowled by Marsh but was out off the very next delivery leaving a tricky six runs to be scored off 4 deliveries.
Pandey, however kept his cool as he steered a wide yorker for a boundary to keep it down to 2 off 3 balls. He also completed a magnificent ton in the process.
The win was accomplished when Pandey hit over extra cover region as vice-captain Virat Kohli rushed to the field to congratulate him. Pandey, hit eight fours and a six in his 81 ball knock.
The cricket caravan now moves to Adelaide, where the first T20 International will be played on Republic Day.
While Pandey was adjudged Man of the Match, Rohit, who has been in sublime form throughout the series was fittingly awarded Man of the Series for his 441 runs in five matches with a staggering average of 110.25 that included two hundreds, which could have easily been three as he missed it by a whisker.
For Dhoni, who notched up his highest score of 34 off 42 balls in the series, the chase became an acid test as he struggled to even work the singles during the initial part of his innings. But the six off the final over should make his critics believe that �Dhoni The Finisher� has still some firepower left in him. While chasing 331, India got off to a flying start thanks to Dhawan, whose 78 runs came off 56 balls and was laced with 7 fours and 3 sixes. This was his 17th ODI fifty.
Earlier, David Warner scored 122 runs (113 balls, 9 fours, 3 sixes), his 5th ODI ton, while Mitchell Marsh finished with unbeaten 102 (84 balls, 9 fours, 2 sixes), his maiden ODI hundred as Australia finished at 330/7 (50 overs).
Warner and Aaron Finch (6) got the proceedings underway then, with Indian bowlers getting on top for the first time since the Perth ODI as Ishant Sharma (2-60) trapped Finch LBW in the very first over.
Steve Smith (28) put on 58 runs for the 2nd wicket with Warner quickly even as Bumrah (2-40) was introduced into the attack in the 8th over and then Rishi Dhawan (1-74) was brought on in the 11th over.
The dual moves worked as Australia lost quick wickets before reaching the 100-mark in the 19th over. Bumrah got his maiden international wicket as Smith was caught at midwicket in the 12th over, off a ball that jumped high on him.
At the other end, Dhawan got rid of George Bailey (6) in the 15th over as Australia were under considerable pressure at that stage. 78/3 became 117/4 in the 22nd over, as Shaun Marsh (7) was run-out, the ball deflecting off Gurkeerat Mann (0-17).
Australia: Aaron Finch lbw b Ishant 6, David Warner c Jadeja b Ishant 122, Steve Smith c Rohit b Bumrah 28, George Bailey c Ishant b Rishi 6, Shaun Marsh run out 7, Mitchell Marsh not out 102, Matthew Wade c Dhoni b Yadav 36, James Faulkner b Bumrah 1, John Hastings not out 2. Extras: (B-4, LB-7, W-8, NB-1) 20. Total: (7 wickets, 50 overs) 330. Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-64, 3-78, 4-117, 5-235, 6-320, 7-323. Bowling: Ishant Sharma 10-0-60-2, Umesh Yadav 8-0-82-1, Jasprit Bumrah 10-0-40-2, Rishi Dhawan 10-0-74-1, Ravindra Jadeja 10-0-46-0, Gurkeerat Singh 2-0-17-0.
India: Rohit Sharma c Wade b Hastings 99, Shikhar Dhawan c S Marsh b Hastings 78, Virat Kohli c Wade b Hastings 8, Manish Pandey not out 104, Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Warner b M Marsh 34, Gurkeerat Singh not out 0. Extras: (LB-3, W-5) 8. Total: (for 4 wickets in 49.4 overs) 331. Fall of wickets: 1-123, 2-134, 3-231, 4-325. Bowling: Hastings 10-1-61-3, Boland 10-0-58-0, Marsh 9.4-0-77-1, Faulkner 10-0-54-0, Lyon 8-0-58-0, Smith 2-0-20-0. � PTI