Tourists chase down 216 with five wickets and 40 balls remaining to take unassailable 2-0 lead
A half-century for Glenn Maxwell and another three wickets from Mitchell Johnson helped Australia to a five-wicket victory – and a series win – against Pakistan in the second one-day international in Dubai.
Australia chased down Pakistan’s 215 with 40 balls to spare to take a 2-0 lead in the three-match series, and attention will now turn to completing a sweep in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. A 3-0 result and one more win for the West Indies from their remaining four games against India would see Australia reclaim the world No.1 ODI ranking.
James Faulkner (26*) and Brad Haddin (17) brought Australia home with a 39-run partnership.
After the match it was announced the Tasmanian allrounder would stay on with the Test squad for at least next week’s warm-up match against Pakistan A as cover for Mitchell Marsh, who continues to convalesce from a left hamstring injury.
Maxwell’s 76 came from 81 balls. He worked the ball around with a full array of shots on display but seemed to bat within himself, striking nine fours and a solitary six – an opportunity too good to miss when Shahid Afridi dropped short.
Maxwell made the most of a life when on two as Umar Akmal put down a sharp chance at slip off debutant Raza Hasan (1-68). He responded by taking 12 off the over.
The allrounder fell looking to finish the game quickly, top-edging Zulfiqar Babar (2-52) and was well caught by Asad Shafiq run towards the leg side from slip.
Pakistan’s spinners extracted noticeably more turn than Australia could and the batsmen for the most part played with sensible caution.
Maxwell and George Bailey put together an 85-run partnership before the skipper was run out. His 28 from 67 balls may look a poor strike rate, but Bailey provided an important anchor for the partnership.
Bailey had earlier been given out on 20 after a loud appeal for caught behind, but immediately referred the decision which was overturned by third umpire Richard Kettleborough.
It was the third incorrect decision made by standing umpire Shozab Raza from Pakistan. The Bailey decision followed an earlier not-out to an edge off Aaron Finch that was overturned and, when Australia bowled, an lbw verdict in favour of Nathan Lyon that a review showed to be hitting outside the line and missing a fourth stump, at best.
Finch had survived an appeal for a catch a first slip in the first over and Umar Akmal may possibly find himself in hot water with the International Cricket Council after claiming the catch when television replays showed it bounced in front of him.
Finch (14) stood his ground again when Pakistan went up for an edge behind off Mohammed Irfan (1-42) and was given not out. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq sent the decision to the third umpire and, without the use of Hot Spot or Snicko, neither of which are in use in this series, and Kettleborough found enough evidence to reverse the decision by Shozab.
Steven Smith (12) couldn’t back up his century heroics from Sharjah, an attempted cut shot off Zulfiqar edged straight into Sarfraz Ahmed’s gloves.
Zulfiqar’s next over brought 20 runs, six of them wides and three swept boundaries to David Warner.
Warner had moved to 29 from 26 balls and would have added six more if it wasn’t for the 216cm (7ft 1in) Irfan on the fence at long-on. He stretched up to snaffle the catch, and pumped his fist a super-charged celebration. In his excitement, he held his hands up for his teammates to slap in celebration, but at his height, none of them could reach, opting instead for an embrace.
Mitchell Johnson (3-40) was again the chief destroyer for Australia, helping claw back a fast-starting Pakistan to restrict them to 215 all out in 49.3 overs.
Pakistan’s first 25 overs yielded them 126 runs in their third-highest opening stand against Australia in one-day cricket.
Ahmed Shehzad (61) and Sarfraz Ahmed (65) started cautiously but soon took the attack to Australia, with recalled spinner Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell taking particular punishment.
The next 24.3 overs saw them lose 10-89. Three of those wickets were run-outs and it could have been so much worse with the Australians uncharacteristically inaccurate in the field early.
Bailey dropped a catch as Shehzad chipped to mid-off at waist height from Kane Richardson’s bowling, but Smith took a screamer at first slip; a juggling, diving effort on the rebound to dismiss Afridi and give Johnson his third wicket.
For a team reportedly lacking in confidence after a six-wicket T20 loss and 93-run defeat in Wednesday’s opening ODI, openers Shehzad and Sarfraz played like world-beaters.
Doherty (1-44) got the breakthrough with Shehzad caught at mid-wicket by Smith. An over later, Maxwell caught Sarfraz at point for Johnson’s first.
A touch of Maxwell magic brought the third wicket as Misbah hesitated mid-pitch after an athletic stop. It was all the invitation Maxwell needed with a rifled throw allowing Haddin to catch Misbah (15) just short.
Asad Shafiq (29) struck Richardson for a huge six over long-on and then danced down the track to loft Lyon (1-40) straight for a boundary, but a repeat attempt gave Lyon his wicket with a simple catch chipped to mid-off.
Richardson (1-43) was solid while Faulkner capitalised on Pakistan’s frailties to pick up 1-27 from seven overs.
Australia had been expecting the Dubai wicket to offer extreme turn with the same pitch that hosted Monday’s morning’s Twenty20 international in use.
Both teams made one change for the match, both replacing a quick bowler for a spinner.
As expected, the Tasmanian left-arm orthodox spinner Doherty came into the Australian XI at the expense of allrounder Sean Abbott.
The 22-year-old New South Welshman may have considered himself unlucky having impressed in his debut ODI on Wednesday in Sharjah, especially when Doherty bowled three full tosses in his first over.