Pakistan v Australia 3rd ODI

Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au
Saeed Ajmal has been the chief Aussie tormenter in their one-day series. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au

It’s been ten long years since Pakistan triumphed in a one-day international series featuring Australia , but they head in to tonight’s third and final match with confidence on the back of a series-levelling seven-wicket win in game two in Abu Dhabi.  The series returns to Sharjah for the decider, where Australia chased down Pakistan’s below-par total of 198 to win by four wickets with ten balls to spare in the first encounter. 

To take the chocolates, Australia will have to find a way to counter Pakistan’s spin twins Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez.  Ajmal has taken seven wickets in the series at 8.85, while Hafeez is showing why he has the best economy rate of any bowler in ODIs over the past two years, returning figures of 2/29 and 1/28 off his full allotment in the two matches so far.  Ajmal might be disappointed game three isn’t in Abu Dhabi; his top three ODI bowling figures have come in the UAE capital.

In contrast, Australia’s chief spinner Glenn Maxwell is still in search of his first ODI scalp, and has been going at a hefty clip of 7.4 runs per over.  His hard-hitting has been a welcome addition to the lower order, though, and he leads the series with three sixes.  If he starts teeing off and clearing the fence Australia’s total could build rapidly.

One area they could do with a kick-start is at the top of the order.  David Warner and Matthew Wade have been unusually sluggish with just 46 runs between them in the series.  Australia hasn’t passed 60 in the opening 15 overs  in either match, whereas Pakistan motored along to 1/86 in game two thanks to Nasir Jamshed’s run-a-ball innings.

Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey have looked the most comfortable of all the Australian batsmen and the men most likely to nullify the spin of Ajmal.  Clarke has a superb record against Pakistan averaging a touch under 60, compared to 45.6 across his ODI career.

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