A watchful Aaron Finch defends during his innings of 93 against India. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
A watchful Aaron Finch defends during his innings of 93 against India. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Back in the runs, Finch says it was only a matter of time

AARON Finch has ended his batting slump and the captain knows it is time to back it up.

Having gone 21 consecutive white-ball innings for his country without reaching 50, Finch has returned to form with a knock of 93 to help Australia to record a morale-boosting ODI win over India in Ranchi.

The opener, recently described as "mentally gone" by former selector Mark Waugh, ended debate about his place in the side and emphatically answered whether he'd be leading Australia's World Cup defence.

After having hit 13 well-timed boundaries in a 193-run opening stand with Usman Khawaja to set up a 32-run victory, Finch is keen to ensure both he and his team build on the performance.

"It was a matter of time before I got a few runs," Finch said.

"I was always confident in the process I was going with ... I always had faith.

"It's time to back it up and continue on that now."

An Australian victory in Sunday's match would level the five-match series at 2-2, pitching the visitors into a high-pressure series decider against Virat Kohli's star-studded team in what would serve as an ideal World Cup tune-up.

"It's about us winning those close games, the really right contests. That builds a belief in the group that you can win big tournaments and big series," Finch said after Australia's first ODI win overseas since 2017.

"It's important we just keep our momentum and keep improving.

"Our improvement (in recent months) has been massive."

Khawaja, who celebrated his maiden ODI ton in the victory, was full of praise for his opening partner.

"He sort of got his freedom back a little bit," Khawaja said.

"He's obviously had a lot of talk about him and he showed his class out there.

"That's really good for the team. When Aaron Finch is firing, Australian one-day cricket is usually going pretty well."

Khawaja, an ODI outcast for two years until his recall at the start of 2019, continues to produce the sort of form that suggests he is likely to be picked in Australia's 15-man World Cup squad.

"I've worked really hard over the past year to get back into the one-day side. With my fitness - day in, day out - I've put in the extra yards," Khawaja said.

"It was really satisfying just coming back into the one-day side ... it's even nicer now.

"The first one (century) is always the hardest. I found the same thing in Test cricket."

- AAP

News Corp Australia

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