Pakistan secured their first ODI series win over Australia in 20 years as bogeymen Imam ul-Haq and Babar Azam maintained their grip on visitors Lahore in the penultimate game of their historical tour.
The Australians never recovered from losing the first two games before scoring a point and collapsing to 3-6 in the sixth of the game. They posted just 210, the lowest total in a streak of over 50 characterized by extremely batting-friendly Gaddafi Stadium surfaces.
Borderline invincible against Australia’s understaffed bowling attack in recent days, Babar (105no from 115 balls) and Imam (89no from 100) put in 190 for the second wicket to see Pakistan claim victory in the 38th.
The Pakistani pair’s temperamental friendship, which dates back to their under-16 playing days, was evident in Babar’s multiple outbursts towards the young Imam over the course of the series, but their bond has been rock solid. in the batters’ crease.
The pair shared a long embrace after Imam picked up the winning run to seal the nine-wicket victory, with the left-hander calling his skipper his “best friend” following the nine-wicket win.
Imam’s 298 points for the series (which includes scores of 103 and 106 in the opening two games) were the most against Australia in a three-game ODI campaign, eclipsing Graham’s mark of 289 Gooch in 1985.
Babar (with scores of 57 and 114 in the first two games) finished with 276 points, putting him third on this list, the batting maestro sporting a smile from ear to ear after reaching his 16th century ODI under the lights in front of cheering fans.
The ODI Series victory was Pakistan’s first against Australia since 2002 in this format, having lost six consecutive 50-plus campaigns since a side led by Waqar Younis won a winter series in Melbourne (where two games were played at Docklands Stadium) and Brisbane. .
He has also enjoyed a three game winning streak in the ODI series for Australia since September 2020.
Only the late hands of wicketkeeper Alex Carey (56 from 61) and the impressive Sean Abbott (49 from 40) took Australia past 200, eliminated with 49 balls to spare following a devastating onslaught of new ball from Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-40) and Haris Rauf (3-39).
Young pacemaker Mohammad Wasim (3-40) then ripped the heart out of the lower order, earning a reverse swing late in the innings and capturing key scalps from Ben McDermott (36 of 50) and Cameron Green (34 of 47).
The Australians hadn’t defended a score as low as 210 in a decade and any hope of doing so essentially evaporated when Travis Head dropped Babar on 3 to square leg Jason Behrendorff recalled.
Along with a poorly timed shot two balls earlier that landed just short of Head at halfway, the Pakistani skipper made no mistake as he headed for his third over fifty score of the series.
With seven centuries between them against Australia now on this tour (which culminates in a single T20I on Wednesday morning AEDT), Babar and Imam were inscrutable as skipper Aaron Finch unsuccessfully tried seven different bowlers in a bid to find a breakthrough .
In a batting-dominated month of cricket, Pakistan’s dream start with the ball was as surprising as it defined the series.
With his team inserted by Babar for a third game in a row, Head’s solid hitting form on his return to the 50-plus team ended abruptly and oddly on the first pitch of the game when he was cleanly beaten by a full throw from Shaheen.
Finch also failed to bother the scorers (for a second game in a row) as Rauf left the Australians reeling at 2-0 and then 3-6 when Marnus Labuschagne slipped slightly.
McDermott and Marcus Stoinis (19) were both taken for cover on the leading edges before an 81-point stand between Green and Carey, who played a succession of eye-catching shots through offside, did not be embittered by this pair leaving in consecutive overs. .
Shaheen bristled at Abbott taking him for 21 on one over, as the quick rivals exchanged words amid the NSW all-rounder’s enthralling late cameo in a last 44-wicket stand with Adam Zampa, who contributed nothing .
Qantas Tour of Pakistan 2022
First test: Draw
March 12-16: Draw
March 21-25: Australia win by 115 runs
Pakistani team ODI and T20: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique*, Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq*, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Saud Shakeel*, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir (*ODI only)
Australia ODI and T20 team: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Adam Zampa
March 29: Australia win by 88 runs
March, 31st: Pakistan win by six wickets
April 2: Pakistan win by nine wickets
April 5: Only T20I, Lahore
All matches will be shown in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports