About time! Finch finally shows glimpses of best
It wasn't Aaron Finch's most productive 59 minutes at the crease for Australia but there were some promising signs for the under-pressure captain during his one-day knock of 37 in Nagpur.
Finch, desperate to lead from the front on the current tour of India and this year's World Cup, has now played 21 consecutive white-ball innings for his country without reaching 50.
Those numbers remain stark but coach Justin Langer has made it clear he will be patient as Finch seeks to end a slump that is far from ideal for the World Cup starts in less than three months.
On this latest evidence, which came a day after Finch had some one-on-one time with Langer in the nets prior to the squad's training session, a breakthrough innings may not be far away.
"Not enough (runs). It would have been nice to kick on. It was OK to get a start but starts don't win you games," Finch said.
There were glimpses of Finch's best during his highest ODI score since November 9, when he was named man of the match in a low-scoring thriller against South Africa that Australia won to end their worst losing streak in the 50-over format.
Australia's loss ensures the skipper, described as "mentally gone" by former selector Mark Waugh last week, will remain under the microscope but Pat Cummins was full of praise.
"He's such a class player. His record is great in ODI cricket, so runs were always going to come," Pat Cummins said.
"He batted really well with Usman at the start.
"You see how effective he is. Once he gets going the field goes back, the bowers start plan B.
"I know bowling in domestic cricket against him, you do feel under pressure if he's firing."
Finch got on the front foot and smoked his seventh delivery through the covers and to the rope.
It sent a clear message of intent to Mohammed Shami - the same paceman who terrorised Finch throughout this summer's Test series, memorably forcing the opener to retire hurt when a brutal blow to the glove in Perth exposed the bone.
Finch was tentative at times during a 53-ball stay at the crease, admonishing himself every time he played and missed.
The Victorian helped himself to two boundaries off medium-pacer Vijay Shankar's first over and slog-swept spinner Kuldeep Yadav's first legal delivery into the crowd.
Yadav trapped Finch lbw in his second over, ending a 83-run stand that was Australia's best opening partnership in ODIs since Finch and Travis Head put on 101 last year in England.