AUSvPAK, 3rd ODI: Smith, Handscomb glide Australia to victory

Skipper Smith’s sublime century and debutant Handscomb’s 82 seal the deal for Australia as they go ahead in the series, winning the AUSvPAK, 3rd ODI at the WACA.

Chasing 264 to win, Australian’s stumble slightly when the lost David Warner and Khawaja in the space of six deliveries, but the right-handed due ( Smith & Handscomb) never really allowed Pakistan to have even a sniff thereafter as they put up 183-run stand as home side cruised to victory.

Smith finished on unbeaten 108 – his eight ODI hundred – proving true claim which he made at toss and Handscomb provided him with all the assistance he needed from the other end.

Handscomb enjoyed good fortune on several occasions today. First he was held safely in and reprieved later by a call of no-ball from umpire upon receiving evidence, and then he was dropped at point – but Junaid had overstepped again anyway. In both cases his wicket didn’t fall and it didn’t fall till Australia had posted 228, and it was all over by then for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s sluggish ground fielding was another major factor influencing the result as they gave away at least 20 extra runs.

Pakistan were restricted to 263 for 7 after being asked to the batting first by the Australia skipper Steven Smith, who at the toss spoke with confidence about his team’s chasing ability at the WACA.

“We’ve traditionally chased pretty well here at the WACA,” Steven Smith said at the toss.

Previously, Australia has the record of chasing a target of 310 at the same venue, which was fancied by twin centuries from Smith and George Bailey after Rohit Sharma had lit up the first half of the match with his remarkable 171.

Babar Azam’s steady knock of 84 was the foundation of Pakistan’s total of 263 at the WACA – although he only hit fours and one six in his 100 balls stay – he build a solid platform and also stormed his way into record books to join the elite company of all time.

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After being sent into bat, Pakistan’s Sharjeel Khan provided a rocketing start he took 20 from the fourth over of Stanlake as Pakistan looked to build on the momentum of their drought-breaking victory at the MCG last Sunday. But Hazlewood struck with the very next delivery he trapped Hafeez lbw for 4.

Sharjeel hit eight fours and a six in his 50 from 47 balls before he chopped Head onto his stumps to call it quits. The South Australia soon grabbed another wicket of Asad Shafiq ( 5 from 10 balls) to make it two in a quick succession.

Head finished with figure of 2 for 65 in his 10 overs quota, which should have been 3 for 65 had Mathew Wade gloved the stumping chance provided by Umar Akmal as he danced down the wicket and missed a heave.

Azam found useful assistance from the other end in form of Shoaib Malik when they put on 63 for the fourth wicket. But on 39, Malik became the first international wicket of Billy Stanlake when he edged one behind, leaving Umar Akmal to assist with his cousin.

After 40 overs, Pakistan moved to 4-213 and a score of 300 looked a distinct possibility. However Australia struck crucial blows late in the innings to restrict Pakistan to 263 – a total which proved to be well within the reach of the Australian top order in the end.

Josh Hazlewood finished with the figures of 3 for 32 from his 10 overs, including the wickets of Azam and Akmal within the final eight overs of play. Pakistan’s tail only managed 21 runs in the final five overs after sudden failure of lower middle order.

Pakistan will now have to gather pieces and gear up for the 4th ODI, which will be played at the SCG on January 22.

AUSvPAK, 3rd ODI Summary

Australia 3 for 265 (Smith 108*, Handscomb 82) beat Pakistan 7 for 263 (Azam 84, Sharjeel 50, Hazlewood 3-32) by 7 wickets

AUSvPAK, 3rd ODI Line Ups

Australia XI: Warner, Khawaja, Smith (c), Head, Handscomb, Maxwell, Wade (wk), Faulkner, Cummins, Hazlewood, Stanlake

Pakistan XI: Hafeez (c), Sharjeel, Babar, Shafiq, Malik, Akmal, Rizwan (wk), Wasim, Amir, Hasan, Junaid

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Featured photo credit: Den Bedford/Flickr