Babar stars as Pakistan clinch ODI series against Australia
Pakistan outshined Australia in all departments of the game to clinch the ODI series, which was their first home series win against the visitors since 1988.
Chasing just 210 on a batting-friendly track at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the Australian bowling attack did not have any answer against the pair of Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq, who steered Pakistan over the line in just 37.5 overs with nine wickets in hand.
The duo were flawless in their unbeaten 190-run stand for the second wicket. Babar remained unbeaten on 105, while Imam scored 89 not out.
This was also the first ODI series victory against the Aussies for the Men-in-Green since June 2002.
Nathan Ellis picked the only wicket of Fakhar Zaman (17) for the visitors.
With this victory, Pakistan clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1. Both sides will play a T20I at the same venue on April 5, which will conclude the Australia tour of Pakistan.
Earlier, Pakistan pacers were too hard to handle for Australia as they were bowled out for just 210 in 41.5 overs.
Mohammad Wasim Jr and Haris Rauf led the chart by claiming three wickets each, while Shaheen Shah Afridi picked two wickets for the home side.
After Babar Azam opted to bowl in Lahore, Shaheen Shah Afridi lit up the stadium after removing in-form opener Travis Head for a golden duck on the first delivery of the game.
Head, who scored 101 and 89 in the last two outings, was undone by a swinging low full-toss.
Shaheen’s new-ball partner Haris Rauf also got success in his first over in the shape of Aaron Finch’s wicket. The Australian captain had no answer to a full-length delivery as he walked back to the pavilion without troubling the scorers on a batting-friendly pitch.
Finch had also failed to get off the mark in the second ODI.
Marnus Labuschagne, who scored a brilliant half-century in the second ODI, was caught in the slips as Australia were reduced to 6/3 in 5.1 overs.
Ben McDermott and Marcus Stoinis made a good 53-run stand for the fourth wicket to bring Australia back into the game. However, leg-spinner Mohammad Zahid had other plans as he removed Stoinis (19) to break the Aussies' momentum.
Alex Carey and McDermott’s partnership lasted for only eight runs courtesy of Mohammad Wasim Jr. McDermott scored 36.
At that stage, Carey and Cameron Green played sensibly and made an 81-run stand for the sixth wicket. Wasim Jr once again provided Pakistan a crucial breakthrough in the shape of Green’s wicket. He was bowled after scoring 34.
Carey went on to complete a half-century. Iftikhar Ahmed ended the wicketkeeper’s fighting knock as he was caught in the deep by Fakhar Zaman after scoring 56.
Sean Abbott played a brilliant cameo of 49 off 40 balls.
Pakistan opt to bowl against Australia ?— Samaa Sports (@samaasport) April 2, 2022
Both sides made one change each in their XIs for the series decider !
Asif Ali ? Saud Shakeel
Jason Behrendorff ? Mitchell Swepson#PAKvAUS #CricketTwitter pic.twitter.com/9od9zmFDxd