Australia is looking to finish the home summer on high as they look to extend their lead (3-1) over visitors on Thursday at Adelaide Oval. After having won the ODI series comprehensively, the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) thus becomes a low-key affair for Steven Smith’s men as the prepare take on already-in-shambles Pakistan team on country’s national day – Australia Day.
However, that is not the view within the Australian ranks as Glenn Maxwell, the only man to take part in his team’s optional training session today, dismissed any notion that there is any feeling of complacency within the team, and cited the importance of continuing the winning momentum and national celebration as motivation for home side.
“For a lot of people it might seem like a dead rubber, but there’s still a lot to play for, especially individually,” Maxwell said today.
“There’s still a lot of Champions Trophy (ICC tournament in the UK next June) places up for grabs which is in the distance, and there’s still a New Zealand series around the corner as well.
“I think it’s a really important game to not only make sure you’re winning as a team, you’re keeping that winning momentum because it’s sometimes an easy thing to lose.
“If you take the foot off the gas at any stage it can be a long bumpy road back, so we’ll be keeping the foot on the gas and all guns blazing forward.”
Maxwell also said that his team, who suffered a disastrous 0-5 whitewash at the hands of South Africa last year, had been incrementally improving their performances as the summer has progressed.
“We’ve shown glimpses with the bat, glimpses with the ball and glimpses in the field.
“But to put that perfect game together, which is what we’re always striving for in the one-day set is what we’ll be aiming for tomorrow.”
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Meanwhile, Pakistan also looking to finish off their dismal campaign in Australia with a win, and take losing margin to a respectable reading (3-2). But to do so they will need not only an improved effort from their batsmen but also a vastly different fielding display. Their catalog of errors in the field had cost them the game – and series also – at Sydney where they grassed four very gettable chances and missed two harder ones.
But Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali has called on his team to channel the same aggression which Wahab Riaz had bowled with to Shane Watson during his famous World Cup spell against Australia at the same venue when both teams meet on Thursday.
The last World Cup match between Pakistan and Australia is vastly remembered for a single spell of some serious fast bowling above anything else. A spell where Riaz had drawn Watson into a fierce individual battle and constantly tormented Australian batters with his short pitch bowling on a flat Adelaide pitch.
“That spell was brilliant that day, so hopefully whoever gets the opportunity can try and do the same,” Azhar said of that fast, hostile burst that earned Wahab the wickets of David Warner and Clarke in quick succession and saw Watson thoroughly worked over.
“It’s really important tomorrow that everybody turns up with that intensity and trying to win the game for Pakistan.
“You have to come every game and every individual find the best out of himself and get his match-winning performance.
“The series is definitely decided but every game is important, and for us to finish the tour well is very important.”
But Ali also conceded that their last performance at Sydney was no way near where it should be and suggested more work is needed when the team finally returns home next week.
“We have been doing a lot of practice, so we can’t fault that,” Azhar said today.
“Obviously the performance we did in the field (in Sydney) was nowhere near good enough. You can say it’s one of the days you want to forget and start fresh again and try and get every opportunity you can.
“Doing more and more practice … in an off series when you’re not touring you can work more and more, but I think with the amount of work we’ve done during this series with the fielding, it’s been exceptional.
“On that day we were just very poor. So we just want to get our concentration right, our focus right and try and get it better.”
AUSvPAK, 5th ODI Line Ups (Probable)
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Peter Handscomb, 5 Travis Head, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Azhar Ali (capt), 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8 Imad Wasim/Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Junaid Khan/Wahab Riaz/Rahat Ali.
Featured Photo Credit: Timbo/Flickr