Pakistan earned their first victory of the AUSvPAK tour at the MCG and ended a record 12-year win drought in Australia with a classy win.
On a slow MCG surface, Australian batsmen fell into the trap set up by Pakistan’s spin trio one after another and failed to adjust to the varying pace of the strip – leaving Pakistani batsmen with a modest chase of 220.
Pakistan’s victory breathe life into this series once again as the two sides head to Perth for the 3rd ODI on Thursday.
And with this victory, Pakistan has earned enough points in the ICC ODI rankings to not drop below any further regardless of the outcome of rest of the matches in this series, which is a big boost to their automatic World Cup qualification.
The stand-in Skipper Mohammad Hafeez led the way with his well composed 72 (after being dropped on 0 by Smith) and found useful assistance from Shoaib Malik to guide his team to a record-shattering victory.
After Hafeez took 10 from the first over of Travis Head, Smith made his mind to totally rely on his fast bowling comrades for rest of the game. Glenn Maxwell, who is known for his all-rounder skills, is yet to bowl in this series.
Shoaib Malik played a brilliant hand; his chasing skills and wealth of experience guided his team past the finish line without any drama.
Umar Akmal produced finishing blows at the end to ensure visitors level the series at 1-all.
After Steven Smith won the toss and chose to bat first on a surface that looked exceptionally well for batting, Australian batsmen failed to put up a good show.
And unlike their first game in Brisbane this Friday, where Mathew Wade led a commanding salvage operation to salvage Australia’s fortune, there were no late heroics this time to rescue Australia.
Pakistan spin trio – Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik and replacement skipper, Mohammad Hafeez – fully exploited Australia’s familiar troubles against spin. While the pitch didn’t offer as much turn but its variable pace was expertly used by Pakistan spin bowlers to unsettle Australia
Captain Smith top scored with 60, but even he was allowed to play within himself.
Junaid Khan made a comeback after one and a half year and showed the form he was carrying behind him when he removed David Warner and Usman Khawaja early in the innings.
An outside edge announced Waner’s departure while a brilliantly held catch by Sharjeel Khan in the slips saw the back of Khawaja when tried to cut a delivery too close to him.
Australia’s batting order was forced to change after the omission of Chris Lynn due to an apparent neck damage, and neither Khawaja, Marsh nor Travis Head were able to prosper in their new positions.
Mitchell Marsh, who has been named in the Australia squad for India tour next month, succumbed to a golden duck playing his first ball, offering up a simple catch to cover point.
His fellow Test squad inclusions – Mathew Wade(35) and Glenn Maxwell(23) – failed to back up their performances in Brisbane, throwing their wickets away.
Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers throughout the innings; his figures read 2 for 37, including the crucial wicket of Steven Smith who was bowled off the inside edge and body when he tried to lift his team’s momentum.
Amir then cleaned up the tail to finish with the figures of 3-47.
Australians were bundled out for 220 – a target which proved to be within the reach of the Pakistani batsmen at the end.
Line Ups for the 2nd VB AUSvPAK ODI
Pakistan XI: Hafeez (c), Sharjeel, Babar, Shafiq, Malik, Akmal, Rizwan (wk), Wasim, Amir, Hasan, Junaid
Australia XI: Warner, Head, Smith (c), Khawaja, Maxwell, Marsh, Wade (wk), Faulkner, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood
Next AUSvPAK VB ODI match is scheduled at the WACA on coming Thursday.
Also Read: West Indies announce Pakistan tour schedule
Featured Photo Credit: