Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey was brilliant with the bat for India in the 5th ODI against AustraliaReuters

The most pleasing aspect of Manish Pandey's brilliant maiden hundred in the 5th ODI against Australia was the calmness he exuded. With India crying out for a finisher, as MS Dhoni starts to fade, Pandey showed he just might be the man to take over that mantle with an innings that will make a lot of people sit up and take notice.

With India needing victory in this 5th ODI in Sydney to avoid a whitewash, the batsmen stepped up to the plate again, with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni and Pandey doing what was needed to take their team to the 331 target.

"I knew it was a good wicket, and I wanted to capitalise on these good wickets, where 300 runs are scored every time," Pandey, who was rightly adjudged the man of the match, said at the presentation ceremony. "The fans were great and I am just happy to see the team home."

The India chase might not have been possible if not for a measured 99 from Rohit, who was given the man of the series honours for his stellar performance with the bat through the five ODIs.

"We won the game, and that was more important than getting to my hundred," Rohit said. "It is always disappointing to get out on 99, but winning is what matters to me. I think young Manish Pandey did really well, playing in just his fourth one-day international, getting that brilliant hundred and getting us off the mark."

Dhoni was understandably happy with his team's performance, with the skipper of the belief that India, perhaps, deserved more than just the one win they managed in the five ODIs.

"I think we have been competitive in this series," he said. "We wanted to win the matches over here. For the first four games, I thought they were quite close, but we did not close it down well, and that is something that is very important in the ODI format, especially when it is a high-scoring game.

"Too many times we conceded 15-16 runs an over multiple times, and that is something that we just cannot afford to do."

Dhoni was happy with the way the India middle order stepped up to the party in this match, courtesy that Pandey hundred and the skipper's own 34.

"We have a very settled top three, but where we have been hurt a little bit is the lower order batting, but Manish did really well today."

Also read