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Another Insane Steve Smith Catch Seals Victory For Australia

How does he keep doing it?

09/12/2016 4:03 PM AEDT | Updated 09/12/2016 9:59 PM AEDT
Channel Nine
He did not. Yes, he did.

Australia has beaten New Zealand in the third One Day match between Australia and New Zealand at the MCG. That means we win the Chappell Hadlee series 3-0 and it also means you can taunt your Kiwi mates the way they do when they win the rugby.

The winning moment? It was a Steve Smith catch of a calibre they'd be talking about for years, if he hadn't taken one just as good (and OK, probably a teensy bit better) in Sydney six days earlier. This one was with his right hand, the other with his left. Not a bad finish to a the day for a man who made a duck.

The Kiwi innings never really got going. It was always going to be all about Martin Guptill, and was for a short while. When the dangerous opener fell for 34 to the part-time spin of Travis Head, the innings was effectively over. No other batsman reached 30.

For Australia, Mitchell Starc led the way with three scalps, and the rest of the wickets were shared among the bowlers. Dave Warner was named man of the match and man of the series.

This will be a satisfying evening for Smith, whose Aussies have now won four straight matches of international cricket. The summer from hell is not the summer from heaven yet, but it's heading in the right direction.

Smith would be particularly pleased that this win was achieved without personally contributing with the bat. Not that he didn't play a big part. His captaincy was astute. Always, he seemed to have the right bowler at the crease, and then at the end, he took that catch just to remind us all that he's Steve smith and the rest of us are mortal.

EARLIER...

Dave Warner has rescued Australia's faltering innings with a really well-compiled century. Incredibly, it was his seventh ODI century in 2016.

Warner went big. He was run out on the final ball of the innings going for a single that was never there, but his 156 was the fourth highest score of his 88 match One Day career, and was the only reason Australia exceeded 200, let alone reached their final score of 8/264, which looks defendable.

There's so much to love about the new, mature Dave Warner, who at 30 is the oldest man in Australia's Test team and the second oldest (behind George Bailey) in the One Day outfit.

The old Dave Warner tried to belt the cover off each ball he faced in One Day cricket as though it was a Twenty20 match. Warner admitted this week that he struggled early in his international ODI career. But he seems a master of the genre now.

Earlier, Australian captain Steve Smith got out for a duck. Quack, quack, quack.

Nobody saw that coming. Since his scintillating 164 at the SCG last Sunday, Smith has seemed invincible. As evidence of this, people have been trotting out Smith stats galore about the man who is officially the world's number one Test batsman -- and in our opinion -- the world's most entertaining One Day batsman.

For example, Smith is the top scorer of centuries in the last three years across all three formats of international cricket. He's also the guy with the highest combined average (58), and the man who has scored 28 percent of all Australian centuries over that period.

But not this Friday. Australia also lost Aaron Finch early. Finch has failed in all three games against the Kiwis which is a heck of a shame. If you read our extended chat with him which ran last weekend, you'd see that he's a really lovely guy who has arrived at a terrific place in his life after a period of doldrums.

It'll be interesting to see if Finch retains his spot in the Aussie team for the next round of short-form games. Those matches are in the new year after the Test series against Pakistan, which starts next week.

Australia was 2/22 after nine overs. Richie Benaud would have loved it. Dave Warner started hurrying things along after that.

Then George Bailey got out meekly off a mishit for 23, and Mitchell Marsh followed for a first ball duck. Trouble. Australia was 4/73 after 19 overs.

A partnership between Warner and the in-form Travis Head saw the team through to 4/178 after 39 overs. Travis Head was then bowled off the spin of Mitch Santner for 37. Matthew Wade holed out in the deep for 14, and super-finisher James Faulkner was also caught in the deep in the final over for 13 off 13 balls.

The bounce on this MCG pitch is not quite as true as the strips used at Manuka and the SCG, so even though Australia has fallen short of 300 for the first time this series, a successful Kiwi chase will be no formality.

Live match scores are here.

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