Smith, Handscomb revive Australian chase to secure seven-wicket win
Australia 265-3 (Smith 108) beat
Pakistan 263-7 (Azam 84) by seven wickets
Third One-Day International in Perth
Steven Smith scored an unbeaten century while Peter Handscomb on his debut piled on 82 runs as Australia completed a chase of 264 against Pakistan with seven wickets in hand in the third One-Day International in Perth.
Australia won the the toss and opted to field first with Handscomb replacing Mitchell Marsh and Billy Stanlake taking the place of Mitchell Starc, who was rested. Pakistan went with an unchanged line-up.
It was not an auspicious start for Stankale (1-55) as Sharjeel Khan (50) plundered him for a six followed by three consecutive boundaries in the fourth over.
However, Josh Hazlewood (3-32) provided some respite for Australia when he trapped Mohammad Hafeez (4) LBW in the next over. Pakistan completed the first powerplay at 50 for one.
Sharjeel reached his boundary with hat-trick of boundaries which also completed his fifty off 46 deliveries but was dismissed in the same over bowled by Travis Head (2-65).
Asad Shafiq (5) could not quite replicate his form from the Test series and was caught at short third man to give Head his second wicket. Pakistan reached 127 for three at the halfway mark.
In the 30th over, Babar Azam (84) brought 1000 runs in ODIs and the fastest to do so, levelling Kevin Pietersen, Viv Richards, Jonathan Trott and Quinton de Kock.
After a mixed start to his career, Stanlake returned back in the 31st over to have Shoaib Malik (39) caught behind, also ending his 63-run stand with Azam.
Umar Akmal (39) survived a missed stumping in the 32nd over but Azam completed his fifty at the other end, needing 71 balls for it. By the 40th over, Pakistan reached 213 for four.
The last 10 overs saw the home team making a strong comeback, conceding just 50 runs in it and also picked three wickets in it. Pakistan posted 263 for seven in the 50 overs with Hazlewood being the pick of the bowlers with his three-wicket haul while Head snaring two wickets.
David Warner (35) and Usman Khawaja (9) provided a solid start of 38 for naught in the first seven overs but Junaid Khan (1-58) and Mohammad Amir (1-36) struck in successive overs to remove both the openers. Australia ended the powerplay at 45 for two.
However, Smith (108) along with Handscomb (82) turned the tide and brought their fifty off 68 deliveries. The Australian captain reached his fifty off 57 balls and soon completed the 100-run stand with Handscomb, who brought his maiden fifty off 64 deliveries.
From there on there was no looking back as the duo shared 183-run stand between them to put Australia on course of victory.
Even though, Pakistan managed to remove Handscomb, Smith along with Head (23 not out) ensured Australia reached the target in 45 overs with seven wickets in hand. The win has given Australia 2-1 lead in the series with Smith bagging the player of the match.
© Cricket World 2017