Australia made a great start in the one-day series against Pakistan, beating the host nation by 93 runs at Sharjah.
It was as always a typical Sharjah pitch where many would have thought that spinners would play a vital role. Pakistani spinners have used the condition perfectly and troubled most of the Australian batsmen except Steven Smith. Getting a chance at number three, the right-handed batsman made a magnificent century. His 118-ball century gave the team a solid platform to score over 250 at the end of the innings that proved to be more than enough.
Batting first, Australia lost Finch at the very first ball. Smith and Warner then worked on building the innings and made a stand of 86 runs. The pair were cautious and handled the spinners well enough. Later Shahid Afridi dismissed both batsmen and was the pick of the bowlers, taking three for 46 runs in his 10 overs. David Warner made an uncharacteristic 63-ball 43 where Smith got out at 101, leaving the side at 216 for 6 in 44 overs. Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson scored some late blow to take Australia 255 for 8 at the end of 50 overs.
Chasing down 255 was never easy at Sharjah and Australian bowlers made it even harder by bowling in good channel. Mitchell Johnson fired it up by taking Ahmed Shehzad early. Nathan Lyon came in handy by picking up two back-to-back wickets in his very first over. Debutant Sean Abbott will cherish his first wicket for a long time as he made Afridi caught at midwicket by Faulkner. Umar Akmal’s 46-run innings made some sort of impact but the Aussies were never in doubt of winning the match. Johnson took three wickets for 24 runs in seven overs. Lyon and Maxwell grabbed two wickets each.
The second ODI will happen in Abu Dhabi on October 10, 2014.
Australia – 255 for 8 in 50 overs (Smith 101, Warner 43, Afridi 46-3)
Pakistan – 162 for 10 in 36.3 overs (Akmal 46, Johnson 24-3, Lyon 33-2, Maxwell 29-2)
Man Of The Match: Steven Smith – Md Zahin
Top photo from Naparazzi’s photostream