It’s an unbeaten ton for Smith with solid support from his batting group. In the end, it was pretty comprehensive. Summary to follow, stay tuned.
45th over: Australia 265-3 (Smith 108, Head 23)
Most thought this would be the last over, and it proves so. An early single to Smith sees Head negotiate a few dots before he punches Junaid down the ground for the final scoring shot of the match. Australia are victors, and it was fairly comfortable in the end.
44th over: Australia 260-3 (Smith 107, Head 19)
Australia closing in on a supremely comfortable win now. It’s Hasan, who’s feeling the full wrath of Smith’s extended pull shot for four. This is the one where his arms and body almost follow the ball after it’s been struck. It’s bookended by singles and two’s throughout.
43rd over: Australia 251-3 (Smith 101, Head 16)
Amir finishes his spell. It’s 1/36 off ten. He was cautiously handled in his ultimate over with five dots from it, though Head managed to jump-tuck one off his hip for four through fine leg. Another excellent exhibition of quick bowling from Amir, with little support from those around him it has to be said.
42nd over: Australia 247-3 (Smith 101, Head 12)
A four to commence and more singles as the procession continues. The quicks still look more threatening than their spinning counterparts but they were reintroduced too late. Head, after three overs at the crease, looks fairly settled. Red ink beckons, you’d say.
The headband-clad Australian skipper brings up his ton via a pull through mid wicket – a profitable shot for him this innings. He rode the Pakistan onslaught early and prospered thereafter. In the end it came at better than a run-a-ball and once beyond those early exchanges it all looked reasonably effortless.
41st over: Australia 239-3 (Smith 96, Head 10)
Head’s commenced very well here – he caps off Amir’s over with a solid punch through mid on for a boundary. Amir has lost some steam here, fairly understandable at this stage,
40th over: Australia 233-3 (Smith 95, Head 5)
Travis Head’s the new batsmen for the men in gold and Hasan is right at him. He survives a play and miss before steering one square through the offside for a boundary. Another single keeps the score ticking over, but this was comfortably the best over for Pakistan in a long while.
Pace finally undoes Handscomb. A quicker bouncer is aimed outside off stump – the Victorian tries to do what he did before and find that boundary at fine leg. This time the ball wraps his gloves and leave Rizwan with a comfortable take moving to his left. An excellent innings from Handscomb after a shaky start.
39th over: Australia 228-2 (Smith 95, Handscomb 82)
Amir’s back, but it’s too late. He offers a loosener that Smith doesn’t waste – belting a pull shot for four through mid wicket. We’re now looking forward to the breaking of more records. There’s a partnership record up for grabs and Handscomb nears a hundred on debut. Balls are run fine to third man and the strike is ticked over. Amir reminds Smith at the over’s death that he does retain wheels, forcing an ungainly evasion from one aimed at the helmet.
38th over: Australia 220-2 (Smith 89, Handscomb 80)
Imad’s off and Hasan’s back, hooray! It is reasonably difficult to understand the rationale behind maintaining Imad for eight overs of ease, but if there’s a master plan about to unfold then consider me mistaken. Hasan creates trouble almost immediately – he has Handscomb in two minds and french cutting for a fortunate boundary, then it happens again! To compound the frustration, Handscomb then finely steers Hasan past second slip for four from the back foot – this one was far more deliberate.
37th over: Australia 207-2 (Smith 88, Handscomb 68)
There’s another boundary through the backstop/fine-leg region in an almost carbon copy of Handscomb’s shot two overs ago – though this time it’s Smith. It’s evident that the Australian’s are scoring runs at will. Whereas Handscomb was fairly rooted to his crease early, here he is walking around his crease in an effort to manipulate the ball wherever he pleases. He succeeds. A smart flick wide of mid on sees the over finish with another three, taking the tally to ten this time.
36th over: Australia 197-2 (Smith 80, Handscomb 66)
Imad continues, Australia reap runs. Nine this time. Why not Hafeez, Hasan, or Amir? Three guys who can genuinely be happy with their figures so far. Handscomb fancies square leg this time, taking his runs through there, usually after coming down the wicket.
35th over: Australia 188-2 (Smith 78, Handscomb 59)
So it’s the left-handed Junaid who’s brought back by Hafeez, but are the Australian’s too far gone? Smith’s likes the third ball of each over for a boundary, and he’s the same here. He leans on Junaid’s only-slightly overpitched ball and pierces the gap between mid-off and cover. Handscomb then gets some luck, top edging an attempted pull that lands somewhere between backstop and fine leg for four. Eleven off the over. The horse has bolted here.
34th over: Australia 177-2 (Smith 73, Handscomb 53)
The players return from drinks and the scenario is pretty favourable for the home side. it’s still Imad, who’s going at nearly seven an over and whose retention is mildly perplexing. He goes for another seven; the boundary coming again through a Smith sweep.
33rd over: Australia 169-2 (Smith 67, Handscomb 51)
More of the same from Malik here. The over’s exclamation mark comes through a half sweep, half hoick over the square leg umpire’s head. Hafeez surely has to roll the dice with Amir, Junaid and Hasan now. Seam worked for them early, and spin has hurt them here.
Leading from the front! That’s 3,000 ODI runs for Steve Smith, completed in 79 innings – the same amount as Brian Lara #AusvPak pic.twitter.com/2fyRPUp8IZ
32nd over: Australia 162-2 (Smith 61, Handscomb 50)
More feet, more dancing, more singles, and Handscomb has a fifty on ODI debut. It hasn’t taken long for the St Kilda clubman to ingratiate himself into the Australian batting group, has it? He rode his luck here, finding his fifty after a no-ball dismissal and being dropped along the way. Once again, there’s runs from the final ball of the over – Smith cuts hard behind point for three.
31st over: Australia 155-2 (Smith 57, Handscomb 47)
New bowler for Pakistan as Shoaib Malik enters the fray. I heard earlier today that he made his ODI debut at the WACA as an 18-year-old in 2000, which is fairly extraordinary. His introduction is probably a big moment in the match, and if the innings has been any indication, Australia will look to take runs from the spinner. He is, after all, the sixth bowler. Handscomb back-cuts him for three early on, and shows his wares by making room for himself later on to go over cover. Malik follows him though, forcing the Victorian to hit through leg. He continues in that vein though, and sweeps Malik four four behind square from his final ball. Eleven from the over.
30th over: Australia 145-2 (Smith 55, Handscomb 39)
Another over with six from it. The prevailing thought is that wickets in hand will allow Australia the freedom to accelerate late. Hafeez must see things slightly differently, as he continues his policy of defence through Imad’s spell. Australia are picking up singles readily, though the required run rate still hovers at a run-a-ball. The wicket indicates that it may not be so easy, though perhaps I’m thinking too wishfully.
29th over: Australia 139-2 (Smith 52, Handscomb 37)
Handscomb glides one down to third man and picks up more runs through a couple of scoring shots late in the over: first a pull from one that kept a little low for two, second a hook that garners him three – it would have been four if not for some solid fielding from Malik in the deep.
Great tactics from Pakistan to refuse to dismiss the obviously nervous and slow-scoring Handscomb. Outwitting the Australians. #AUSvPAK
28th over: Australia 132-2 (Smith 51, Handscomb 31)
Imad appears to be a fairly favourable proposition for these two, as he leaks more singles down to longs off and on. Along the way Smith brings up his fifty. He survived a fairly tough examination early, though never relented on his scoring pace (58 balls). It’s unwise to say this, but he looks fairly impregnable here.
27th over: Australia 127-2 (Smith 49, Handscomb 28)
Aside from Amir, Hasan has stemmed the flow of runs better than the rest – it’s probably this logic that sees him back on. He continues where he left off, and even emits the first false stroke for a while – Handscomb playing and missing at one that leaves him off the wicket. More respect shown to the medium-fast operator, there’s only two from this over.
26th over: Australia 125-2 (Smith 48, Handscomb 27)
More ease for Australia, though the over is punctuated somewhat by an LBW appeal to an advancing Handscomb. It was reminiscent of Smith’s dismissal here against South Africa earlier in the summer. It’s a different result this time. So often these successful chases are defined by boundaries well-timed in both senses. Here Handscomb advances again and lifts Imad over forward square for a soul-destroying boundary of the last ball of the over.
25th over: Australia 118-2 (Smith 47, Handscomb 22)
Singles every ball with a boundary in the middle to Smith, caressed through cover. At the halfway mark, it’s now fair to say Australia has the ascendancy. Have Pakistan retreated to defence too quickly? For all the mayhem and swagger and danger produced in the early exchanges, it’s all a little tame now. Without doubt, Smith and Handscomb have weathered the storm. The onus is on Pakistan to create something now.
24th over: Australia 110-2 (Smith 41, Handscomb 20)
So the partnership builds a little here and it’s spin from both ends now for Pakistan. It’s another festival of singles as both sides enter conservative, arm-wrestle mode. Smith finally grabs two via a cut to the point boundary.
23rd over: Australia 105-2 (Smith 37, Handscomb 19)
While Smith accelerates into his innings, Handscomb’s feels a little more laboured. He drives Hafeez down to long on, but not before the ball spends an alarming amount of time in the air. Hafeez may have got a fingertip to a potential return-catch, but the ball evades him. We’re on the long-off, long-on carousel of singles here – though an interesting little moment when Hafeez pauses just before delivering, and looks directly at the non-striker Handscomb, as though to tell him he’s way too far beyond his crease. He combines it with a retiring apology. I call that good diplomacy. Handscomb can consider himself warned.
22nd over: Australia 102-2 (Smith 39, Handscomb 18)
Hasan has been economical – he runs in very straight and close to the stumps, he makes a duck-face upon delivery, he bowls in-swingers that do enough, and he’s clearly earned the respect of his opposition. A few singles are followed by a swivel-pull shot from Smith that almost beats deep square leg but a diving hand prevents a boundary; he gets two.
21st over: Australia 95-2 (Smith 32, Handscomb 16)
Handscomb misses out on a Hafeez full toss that probably surprised him, though it’s fortuitous as the ensuing single precedes a six over mid-off from Smith’s bat. He shows the full face and arc of the bat all the way through – does anyone extend their arms and contort their body in such an exaggerated motion as does Smith? Singles round out another good over from Australia, who have fought their way back to something approaching parity here. A pretty good contest, all-told.
20th over: Australia 86-2 (Smith 24, Handscomb 14)
A glorious cover drive from Smith greets Hasan’s second delivery – four from the moment it left the bat, no need to run. The captain finds two more via a whip from outside off (where else?) where they make the most of a a pick up that is anything but clean. Handscomb ensures he makes his ground with an extravagant dive, and the over ends with seven from it.
19th over: Australia 79-2 (Smith 18, Handscomb 14)
A bit of rotation from Hafeez, who reintroduces himself into the attack. The breeze seems to be picking up, which lends a flightiness to his off-spinners and a daring invitation to the Australian batsmen. It’s an invitation knocked back – probably wise, if Smith’s leading edge to complete the over is anything to go by. A maiden!
Handscomb said this during the Sydney Test. And now millimetres save him on yet another debut, caught for a duck – off a no-ball #AUSvPAK pic.twitter.com/XPfmZeI5gm
18th over: Australia 79-2 (Smith 18, Handscomb 14)
It’s a see-sawing innings so far, with Pakistan fractionally on top. Hasan’s into his second over and conceded a couple of singles to third man before he garners is misstroke from Smith that rolls through to Rizwan behind the stumps. The Australian captain then finds three runs through the offside, standing tall and punching between cover and point. Five off the over, honours even. Smith warming up now.
17th over: Australia 73-2 (Smith 13, Handscomb 13)
Change of bowler for Pakistan, that will likely be well received by their opposition. It’s Imad’s left arm orthodox and he’s coming around the wicket to the Australian right handers. Whereas Handscomb favours his back foot to pace, he’s almost compulsively dancing to spinners. He gets one which brings his captain on strike, who breaks the shackles with consecutive boundaries – one cut behind point, the other worked through mid wicket after skipping down the wicket. Australia needed that. It forces a fielding change, one that allows Smith to milk one to long on. Imad follows up with a wide to Handscomb, and there’s a single to finish. A much-needed big over for Australia, twelve off it.
16th over: Australia 61-2 (Smith 4, Handscomb 11)
It’s been a wild ride so far – appeals, no balls, and dropped catches all threatening to shape this game. Meanwhile Australia has dropped below four an over in this period of extended consolidation. You have to hand it to the Pakistan bowlers, who – for the last three or four overs – have been exceptional. Conversation builds in the nine comm box about the growing number of no-balls that are being missed. Rather than that signalling a little luck from an Australian point of view, Moody in particular is lamenting the number of free hits they’re missing. Only two from the over, full of leaves and back foot defence.
15th over: Australia 59-2 (Smith 3, Handscomb 10)
A bit of authority from Handscomb here as he punches Junaid sturdily off the back foot through extra cover for two – always a sign of decent timing when you can put it through there off the back foot. He then edges one that falls just short of slip, though the hands felt soft and there was a modicum of control. The Victorian then absolutely middles a cut shot that’s dropped at backward point by Nawaz! Handscomb riding his luck majorly.
14th over: Australia 57-2 (Smith 3, Handscomb 8)
Back to two slips for Amir now as the spice diminishes fractionally from the mayhem of the last few overs. Smith and Handscomb consolidate here with a couple of runs behind square; both are content to let the ball come to them and to leave if offered. Amir has 1/18 from seven overs here, which shows how dominant he’s been.
13th over: Australia 54-2 (Smith 3, Handscomb 5)
Handscomb’s back and across movement is only slightly less pronounced than Smith’s, but clearly there’s a line of thinking about it that we’re not full privy too yet. It would be great to try and understand, as conventional thinking would have it that balls aimed at the stumps would necessitate an across-the-line stroke. It doesn’t seem to hamper either batsmen, though it does seem to confound Tom Moody and Michael Slater in the commentary box. There’s a loud appeal from Rizwan for caught behind towards the end of the over, that again no one else seems to hear. Nothing comes of it.
BLOCKER! Gee he was moving quick to get down there and save the day for Handscomb! #AUSvPAK pic.twitter.com/MOOEkuZ8Mu
12th over: Australia 52-2 (Smith 2, Handscomb 4)
You can hear the rambunctious Pakistan crowd feeding energy into this game as their men in dark green pursue more wickets. Handscomb’s debut nerves are palpable as his feet don’t seem to dance as swiftly as his reputation (on and off the field) dictates. Only one from the over.
11th over: Australia 51-2 (Smith 1, Handscomb 4)
It’s really difficult to ignore Smith’s back and across trigger movement. He’s in Katich territory now, surely? At the moment of contact for his first single, you can genuinely see all three stumps. I’m not judging it negatively though – a bit of difference is more interesting than not. Handscomb then tries to lash Junaid through the offside and is caught! Pakistan are cock-a-hoop until we see that it’s a huge no ball! A huge let-off for Australia, who would have been in major trouble had that been legitimate. Handscomb whacks the ensuing ball (a free hit) over mid wicket for what looks like a six before the ball plugs dramatically, one metre short of the boundary. It’s four all-run. Only four balls gone, what a frantic over! Pakistan has three slips in now and are ‘up and about’, as the AFL types would say.
10th over: Australia 45-2 (Smith 0, Handscomb 0)
After some innocuous stuff Khawaja plays and misses to another Amir gem and Amir goes up vociferously! No one else seems to, however, and captain Hafeez decides against a review. He’s called for a wide again before taking Khawaja’s wicket, described below. Enter Pete Handscomb, notionally on debut though it doesn’t feel quite as dramatic as those scenes in Adelaide. There is some familiarity in that back-foot commitment though, which we see displayed immediately. He gets some lip from Amir too!
Another one! Amir deserved this. Khawaja tries to blaze him through cover but the ball just nips in off the seam, taking the under edge of Khawaja’s blade and is taken comfortably by Rizwan. Khawaja hangs around for Smith’s view, which is strange given you’d imagine he would have felt the edge himself. He’s sent on his way and Pakistan are on top.
Junaid has the last laugh! Warner, attempting to hit Junaid yet again through the offside, only succeeds in edging him. It was wide enough but probably too full for that flurry – and the ball didn’t seem to swing too much.
9th over: Australia 44-1 (Smith 0, Khawaja 9)
And so Warner retains strike, again, this over. Junaid is his target, and he bottom edges a lusty pull shot for four to start things off. Hard not to consider how advantageous bats are these days (sorry for the cliche), but he barely got any piece of that ball. Perhaps attempting to cash in on that momentum, he plays what appears to be a back-footed tennis forehand that initially appears to go straight in the air. it in fact sailed a fair distance over mid-off before plugging – Warner picked up two for that. A 50 metre top-edge, that. Crazy stuff. Warner then tries to hammer him through the off-side again but edges behind and he’s gone!
8th over: Australia 38-0 (Warner 29, Khawaja 9)
Warner is treating Amir with respect here. He’s extremely watchful of anything aimed at his pads, such is the Pakistan opener’s ability to swing the ball. He hares off strike again with soft hands on the off side but is quickly back on. Amir beats him with a ripper, this time on the inside of his bat – an in-swinger. This is proving a pretty decent spell from Amir. Warner runs one down to third man for one to finish the over.
7th over: Australia 35-0 (Warner 27, Khawaja 8)
Perhaps buoyed by his left armed pace brethren, Junaid commences with a far tighter line this over. He can’t elicit the same swing as Amir, though there’s little shame in that. He works his way into his spell and produces another half-shout for lbw in vain. That pressure creates a run out chance the following back. Warner, at the non strikers end, thinks there’s one before being sent back by his partner. Shoiab Malik fires in from mid-on and replays show a direct hit would have sent Warner packing. There wasn’t one in it. As is often the way, Khawaja then gracefully drives Junaid past mid-off for four to finish the over.
6th over: Australia 30-0 (Warner 26, Khawaja 4)
Ah, the symmetry, the parabola’s, of Mohammad Amir. He positively winds two balls past Warner’s immense blade – twice enticing him into a defensive prod before curling away at the last moment. Warner finally gets bat on one and hares off strike; a wise ploy. It’s some effort to force Warner into that level of submission when he’s in this mood – whatever of Australia’s ascendancy right now, it’s further proof of Amir’s incredible ability. Khawaja is treated something a little less threatening and leaves his way to the end of the over: a good one for Pakistan.
5th over: Australia 29-0 (Warner 25, Khawaja 4)
Junaid’s now introduced into the attack, coming left-arm over to Warner who continues to retain the strike. The man from Matraville tries to pull a fullish ball immediately and misses – the bounce renders Pakistan’s muted appeal moot. Warner tries precisely the same thing next ball and gets the result he’s after. This one was a little shorter; Warner picked it up nonchalantly. The next one’s wide and Warner deals with it too – another boundary. He’s doing it easy here Warner, playing square from the crease on both sides. He toes another pull shot and gets three. Khawaja finally gets some strike and tries to imitate Warner, unsuccessfully. Eleven from the over
4th over: Australia 18-0 (Warner 18, Khawaja 4)
Amir errs with one short and wide and is duly punished by Warner, who almost gives himself some room as he slashes him through point for a boundary from the first ball. That sets up the over well for Australia; Warner then finds two behind square that for most would have been one. Continuing with that opportunism, he tries to stand and deliver from a good length Amir delivery, succeeding only in inside edging it behind square leg. He steals one from that too. Australia are away.
3rd over: Australia 11-0 (Warner 7, Khawaja 4)
A circumspect Khawaja takes a look at Hafeez’s first couple of balls – surviving one half shout for a ball that pops off his pad to short-leg – before he dances down the deck and employs his elegant wrists in flicking one over mid-wicket for four. Hafeez nearly sneaks one through Khawaja on the back foot later on but his bat just jams down quickly enough. Four off the over.
2nd over: Australia 7-0 (Warner 7, Khawaja 0)
It’s Amir from the other end and he achieves that beautiful shape away from the off. His two catchers are at first and second slip, and with his full length they appear well positioned. Warner works one off his hip for two, but remains scoreless from the over otherwise. Khawaja’s yet to face a ball, but he’s on strike next over. You feel that if Amir’s full he’ll be a chance.
1st over: Australia 5-0 (Warner 5, Khawaja 0)
Pakistan start with spin and it’s Hafeez coming around the wicket to David Warner. The Australian is immediately cutting hard, and finds the boundary after running one fine to the left of 1st slip. Hafeez has a man under the lid too – something you don’t normally see to Warner in an ODI. He runs one down to long on to make it five from the over.
Morning, afternoon and evening all.
From the top a huge thanks to Geoff for his first innings efforts. It’s always an entertaining wander into high end verbiage, metaphor and reference – he didn’t disappoint today. I’d also like to echo his sign off and hat tip to Rachael Heyhoe Flint, a legend of the game.
So an excellent comeback from Australia’s bowlers has kept this to an obtainable chase, after Pakistan’s middle order got away through the middle overs. Sharjeel got the early momentum to make up for the loss of Hafeez, clobbering a fun and fast fifty to diffuse the effect of some very tight bowling. Babar and Malik took control once he departed in the 16th over, then Akmal picked up where Malik took off. But Pakistan needed one of those players to stick around for long enough to lift the rate more dramatically, and none of them could. Nor was the lower middle order able to come in and provide the finishng touch. In the end Pakistan only added 50 runs in the last 10 overs, and lost three wickets in the process.
Sharjeel got 50, Babar’s 84 helped him equal a particular record, Malik and Akmal got 39 apiece. For the bowlers, Hazlewood’s 3 for 32 was the centrepiece, Cummins got 1 for 42, Stanlake his first career wicket with 1 for 55, and Head 2 for 65, with Faulkner conceding 62 for no wicket. All of them bowled their full 10 overs.
50th over: Pakistan 263-7 (Rizwan 14, Amir 4)
Faulkner to bowl the last over. Dishes up the classic wrist-spinning slower ball to Rizwan first up, and he can only squeeze it back to the bowler. Dot balls in the last, that’s an achievement. Rizwan glances a single, Amir clouts one run off the inside edge. They’re not really playing big shots, and they’re not really sprinting the runs with full desperation. Surely at this point you just got for everything? They get two runs into the vacant leg side, but then Rizwan refuses a second from the next ball when they surely should have been risking it to go for everything. There’s only one ball to come, for Pete’s sake. Amir faces it, slaps it over point, but the sweeper comes in and Pakistan takes six from the final over.
49th over: Pakistan 257-7 (Rizwan 10, Amir 2)
Rizwan. Comedy batting. Swings and misses. Plays the look-away ramp shot to Cummins, and somehow hits an accidental four. Swings and misses again. The batsmen close out the over with three singles. This is a deeply frustrating close for Pakistan after such a good start. Sarfraz Ahmed would have been handy in this situation, wouldn’t he?
48th over: Pakistan 250-7 (Rizwan 4, Amir 1)
Seriously, Josh Hazlewood is ridiculous. Amir wants to ramp him, but Hazlewood gets too much left from a pitch like this. Then he concedes a single slashed away behind point. Rizwan can’t time the next, and then it’s his turn to be beaten on the ramp shot. Finally gets a single, should get two but he eats grass on the attempted turn, and they have to bail out. Amir finishes off by backing away and having the sort of air swing that could eventually cause a hurricane in Japan. Two from the over, Hazlewood 3-32 from his 10. In a different league.
47th over: Pakistan 248-7 (Rizwan 3, Amir 0)
Rizwan, the wicketkeeper. Amir, the left-arm seamer. Up to them to find enough runs to make this score competitive. It’s decent, but probably needs 20 more. And they won’t come from Cummins. What an over. Zips past the bat, jammed straight to the field. His pace makes it very difficult when you don’t have your eye in yet. Rizwan can only get two runs from a third-man shot after the wicket fell first ball.
The kind of wicket that falls at this time of day. The left-hander backs away and tries to slap over cover, doesn’t get much of the ball, and it hangs in the air long enough for Head to get back from mid-off and take the catch.
46th over: Pakistan 246-6 (Imad 9, Rizwan 1)
A couple of singles from Hazlewood before the wicket, a couple after, and he’s six balls away from concluding a truly remarkable day of bowling.
What a piece of bowling from Hazlewood. Akmal gone just when he was needed most – he advanced at Hazlewood, it’s debatable whether the bowler had time to adjust but it looked like he dug that ball in shorter than expected. Perhaps he was just going to try to evade the Pakistani’s shot, but Australia’s strike bowler got the ball to leap at Akmal’s throat, the line was right up at his face as well, and Akmal advancing gave himself no time to adjust. In the end he could only bring the bat handle up to protect himself, and the gloved ball flew through to Wade for a simple take. Hazlewood has 3 for 28 in his ninth.
45th over: Pakistan 242-5 (Akmal 38, Imad 7)
Akmal to third man again for a single, been loving that. Imad is left-handed, and he steps away a bit to leg to make sure he gets an even finer edge. Using Cummins’ pace, that flies down to third man for four, the fieldsman there is squarer. Imad Wasim is a decent bat – five not-outs in a dozen innings before today mean that he averages in the 40s in ODIs. But it’s not just fluke, he’s now passed 300 runs in those innings, including a coupel of 50s in England.
44th over: Pakistan 235-5 (Akmal 36, Imad 2)
Creamed, get on top. Is Umar Akmal going to do that? After a sensible flick for two runs with some hard running, he gets a decent length ball from Faulkner but decides it has to go. One foot down the wicket, drive on the up, over long-on, and that went as far back as Shoaib Malik’s hit earlier, but was more beautiful in its timing. Akmal stayed in the pose for about 15 seconds after the shot, really enjoying that one. Inhale, exhale… for him that looked almost post-coital. A single to midwicket follows, then a good comeback from Faulkner as he keeps Imad scoreless from the last three balls.
43rd over: Pakistan 226-5 (Akmal 27, Imad 2)
It’s all down to Akmal now, really. Imad Wasim comes in and gets away quickly, flicking to leg. Akmal glides Hazlewood again, Imad drives him through cover, Akmal glances. Four singles and the wicket, and J-Haze has two overs to go.
There won’t be a fourth ODI hundred for Babar, as he ends his 21st innings with 1037 runs to his name. It was Hazlewood’s short ball, Babar didn’t get all of the pull shot, and sprinting in from midwicket Handscomb was able to dive forward and just get his fingers under the ball. The catch looks a bit ropey from one camera angle in particular, but the third umpire is satisfied that enough hand is beneath the ball there and rules the catch clean.
42nd over: Pakistan 222-4 (Babar 84, Akmal 25)
Faulkner continuing, six singles from the over as the build continues. A couple of overs away from the attempted launch. Akmal could have been gone from the first ball after he drove to Cummins at point and took off. Cummins threw at the non-striker’s end but missed narrowly. Double Nelson.
41st over: Pakistan 216-4 (Babar 81, Akmal 22)
It looks easy until Josh Hazlewood is back at his best. His line is so suffocating, his lengths so consistent, that all the batsmen can do is run three singles to third man. Not bad as a bowler when you’re in the last 10 overs of an ODI.
40th over: Pakistan 213-4 (Babar 80, Akmal 20)
Akmal keeps auditioning for a role as Sensible Man, driving Faulkner down the ground for a single. Babar gets the full-paced length ball on the pads, and that’s just where he wants it. Lofts the on-drive for four, deliberately lifted, perfect timing, and it skips over the rope. Drives a single, Akmal does the same, Babar again, Akmal again. Sometimes it looks easy.
39th over: Pakistan 204-4 (Babar 74, Akmal 17)
Everything is short for Cummins. Almost everything. That lets Babar cut a single, Akmal pull another. Gets fuller, and Babar has been good through square leg, flicks a couple of runs with ease. Cummins doesn’t like it and lets loose with two genuine bouncers, the second of which swerves violently through the air after Babar evades it, and Wade does very well to stop it soaring away for four byes. The last ball? Short, you’ll be surprised to know. Babar pulls, flat-bats back at the bowler, and Cummins drops the searing chance in his follow-through.
38th over: Pakistan 200-4 (Babar 71, Akmal 16)
A couple of singles through cover, a Babar leg glance for two, then another cover run. Faulkner goes for five, and has bowled six overs for 32. The 200 is up, and Babar might even be vaguely thinking about a century of his own.
37th over: Pakistan 195-4 (Babar 67, Akmal 15)
Nice work from Cummins, as he comes back to replace Stanlake. Exactly what they want from him: fast, short, fierce, difficult. Each batsmen gets one single from the over, both of them mis-hit due to the pace. In between times, the over is mostly notable for Umar Akmal hopping about like an animated rabbit trying to defend the attacking lengths. He’s settling into an innings now, Akmal. There is still time to bide before any closing attack with the bat.
36th over: Pakistan 193-4 (Babar 66, Akmal 14)
Head finishes up his spell as well: three singles, two dot balls, it’s all going well until he flights the final delivery and Babar drops underneath it, winds up, and sends it soaring long over deep midwicket for six.
35th over: Pakistan 184-4 (Babar 59, Akmal 12)
That’s what the good Umar Akmal can do. Full ball from Stanlake, simple flick off the pads, but with sufficient strength that it soars out to deep midwicket for a one-bounce four. There’s a wide, then he’s bogged down until the last ball of the over where he pushes a single into the off side. Stanlkae finishes his day of bowling with 1 for 55, remembering that 20 of those came from one early over. The run rate for Pakistan is 5.25, still a good base to launch from if they can keep wickets in hand for another seven or eight overs.
34th over: Pakistan 178-4 (Babar 59, Akmal 7)
Head bowling his ninth, and Maxwell hasn’t been used at all today. Does this mean he’s now in the side as a specialist batsman? And does this mean he should be the one batting up at No4 today instead of Head? Mixed messages. Meanwhile, Akmal and Babar have changed roles too. Akmal works the sensible single off his pads, Babar goes back and slogs two balls on the pull shot over midwicket, nearly getting caught, and scores a couple of runs from each. Babar bat speed, can you play the pull? Yasir, Yasir, three bags would have been nice but he couldn’t buy a wicket this summer.
33rd over: Pakistan 173-4 (Babar 55, Akmal 6)
Here comes Akmal, batting like Sharjeel Khan without the reliability. Beaten outside off, flays Stanlake and it floats just over cover. Two runs. Gets a couple more on the glance, then flicks a single and keeps the strike. Can’t watch.
Look, you’ve got to expect a keeper trying to grasp a sharp-turning Head snorter at the WACA to struggle. #AUSvPAK
32nd over: Pakistan 167-4 (Babar 54, Akmal 1)
That is… just awful cricket. Is Umar Akmal the worst apparently good cricketer in the world today? I mean, there are battlers who just aren’t that good, and they try hard and do their best. Then there’s him, someone who is actually very talented, who just doesn’t seem to care. Goes out and does ludicrous things, doesn’t consider the team position, doesn’t actually seem to try. None of it sits right. And this over? He gets a wide ball from Head, charges, has an almighty slog and misses completely.
Ladies and gentlemen that right there is our keeper on the India tour. #AUSvPAK
31st over: Pakistan 162-4 (Babar 50, Akmal 0)
The ball before Malik’s dismissal, Babar brought up his fifty with a single to third man. But haven’t we praised him enough? Umar Akmal doesn’t often make good decisions, but he actually leaves a ball and defends a ball in this over, before slamming one into the ground that nearly bounces over his head and onto his stumps.
It’s been a fine little knock from Malik, but it’s done, and Stanlake gets his first wicket in international cricket. Good on him. Nice ball, back of a length, angled in, seams away a touch, and Malik is again just looking to push at it and hope for some contact towards third man, I fancy. Doesn’t get much, just the nick through to Wade, and the beanpole bowler is surrounded by a mosh of happy little tiny people trying to pat his stomach.
30th over: Pakistan 160-3 (Babar 49, Malik 39)
A simple single to mid-off to start the over, and Babar equals the record. That means he joins Richards, Trott, Pietersen and de Kock in reaching 1000 in 21 innings. Some feat for a young player. Malik nudges a couple of runs short of long-off, then they trade four singles from Faulkner. Runs still coming, seven from the over.
29th over: Pakistan 153-3 (Babar 46, Malik 35)
Stanlake is back as well, for his seventh over and his first go at Malik. The latter gentleman is not too bothered, forcing a run through cover, leaving Babar to knock a couple of runs to leg and then a single to the off side. Malik stretches for the last ball outside off, and edges it fine for four. Deliberate, accidental, the runs just keep coming. The 150 goes by. May be worth mentioning that Australia’s leading ODI wicket-taker for 2016, Adam Zampa, is still on the bench and hasn’t played this series? No wonder he looks so sad. And in that uniform, about nine years old.
This kid hasn’t had a Fruit Roll-Up in his play-lunch all week. #AusvPak pic.twitter.com/zJYHOcFR0e
28th over: Pakistan 145-3 (Babar 43, Malik 30)
Faulkner, left-arm over to a right-hander. That’s why he spears the ball into Babar’s pads, would have been hitting halfway up middle, and gets denied because it pitched outside leg stump. That frustration is compounded by the two leg byes proceeding from the contact, and Faulkner vents it with a wide bouncer. Babar glances a single, Malik glides one. Easy does it right now as this partnership builds.
27th over: Pakistan 140-3 (Babar 42, Malik 29)
It’s not all out attack from Malik, he’s happy to see off Hazlewood. Soaks up four balls, blocking and leaving, before taking a single. Babar squeezes out one more next ball, and that’s it for the over.
26th over: Pakistan 138-3 (Babar 41, Malik 28)
Alright, he can still play. If there’s one thing we know about Babar, it’s that an elephant never forgets. And Babar proves it here by skipping out and lifting Head over long-off for four! Just his third boundary. They push mid-off back in reponse to that shot, so babar drives to him immediately, along the gound, for a single. Then Malik gets down low and slaps four himself over mid-on. This is thrilling stuff, it beats the dive in the deep. Risky, but they’re taking the power back. A last single and there have been 11 from the over.
25th over: Pakistan 127-3 (Babar 36, Malik 22)
Hazlewood. The Aussies must be feeling that this little patch of play has gone too far. Malik looks too good. So the main man is on, in the absence of Mitch Starc as an offensive weapon. Malik is ungainly but effective, both feet off the ground as he leaps and cuts a Hoff short ball, but doesn’t nail it and it skews down to third man for one. Babar drives more conventionally for a single, Malik goes behind point once more for another. Don’t forget to send me in an email, if you’re reading out there, on any topic cricket or otherwise.
24th over: Pakistan 124-3 (Babar 35, Malik 20)
Ok, ok, that’s a better six. After Babar ticks over the strike, Malik comes down the wicket at Head, moves well outside leg, and opens up a big arc to swing through. Deposits that deep into the back of the grandstand as well, that was a huge hit. Pulls the single next, Babar flicks another, Malik is using his feet beautifully now and skips back to give himself the shorter length to cut another run off his stumps. This is some batting.
That’s a superb shot from Malik! #AUSvPAK pic.twitter.com/iY7fDjlcAx
23rd over: Pakistan 114-3 (Babar 33, Malik 12)
Six runs! And the least spectacular that you’ll ever see. Four three balls, Faulkner is beating Malik outside the off stump. Then the batsman opens the face and pushes behind point for two. Babar is slow coming back for the second, so Wade has a ping at the far end. Mid-off was moving across to cover it, but Faulkner had has back to that fieldsman and so stuck his hand out to try saving the ball. Instead he parries it wide of mid-off and it reaches the rope. Those are the kind of sixes the crowds come to see.
22nd over: Pakistan 108-3 (Babar 33, Malik 6)
Four singles from Head’s next over, one of those stalemate overs where both sides will be happy. Third man, long-on, standard spinner fare.
There is never a final goodbye in Pak cricket.. https://t.co/BuIcUzmH3G
21st over: Pakistan 104-3 (Babar 31, Malik 4)
A double-play of nearly-there. If that makes any sense. Babar drives at Faulkner’s first ball and it’s too short to do so. Strikes high on the bat and lobs back to the bowler. He dives forward but it just dips too far and he can’t snare it in the ends of his fingers. But the ball then bursts through and spins back onto the non-striker’s stumps. Shoaib Malik has his bat in the air, exciting the Australians, but his foot is down within the bounds of the crease. Not out. Babar gets off strike to third man, then Malik defends and leaves before inside-edging Faulkner away for four more runs. Profitable shot for Pakistan today. They’re in triple figures.
20th over: Pakistan 99-3 (Babar 30)
Oh, that’s soft. No good at all. Travis Head shouldn’t be a threat to top-line batsmen, and Asad Shafiq certainly is one. Charges, tries a big drive, the ball is angling away from him, takes the top edge of the diagonal and lobs gently to short third man, Khawaja just inside the circle. Again Head strikes from the last ball of the over. And that one only went for two runs first.
19th over: Pakistan 97-2 (Babar 29, Shafiq 4)
That’s better. That’s perfect, in fact. James Faulkner comes on to bowl, left-arm allsorts, seamers and slow balls, and the batsmen get a single from every ball. Six an over. The pull, the cut, the glide. Bit short all over.
18th over: Pakistan 91-2 (Babar 26, Shafiq 1)
Lovely when you’re a part-timer and you get a wicket and it lets you bowl a tidy next over. Two singles from Head, after being collared by Sharjeel. Babar is 26 off 45 now. Certainly not an emergency – I am one of those spectators liable to get impatient too early – but he’ll need to bat long and make up some of that ground later.
17th over: Pakistan 89-2 (Babar 25, Shafiq 0)
Asad Shafiq the new batsman, but Babar on strike, and again Cummins pins him back on his stumps and has him unable to score. One ball, two balls, three balls, four. Finally Babar gets his groove, twice driving Cummins past mid-off for twos. He’s lovely on the straight shots, this kid. Upright and correct and all that stuff cited by people who love talking about coaching manuals.
16th over: Pakistan 85-2 (Babar 21)
It’s an expensive over, but it buys a wicket. Head starts it to Azam, who looks comfortable against spin and drives to long-on for a run. Then Sharjeel preys on Head’s shorter length, not once, not twice… a cut shot for four, a pull shot for four, then a big drive that takes the thick edge for four. Three boundaries in a row raises a half century for the Pakistan dasher, but the last ball just isn’t quite short enough, and as he looks to repeat the cut shot, it straightens on him and takes a bottom edge into his leg stump. Head tells a duck off, or something along those lines.
15th over: Pakistan 72-1 (Sharjeel 38, Babar 20)
Babar’s struggles continue, with an inside edge from Cummins that this time goes all the way to fine leg for four. The couple of singles he scores that over are better, worked either side of the wicket. Sharjeel squeezes out a run against the shorter ball as well. There have been a lot of ads for The Book of Mormon, as in the parody musical, and now there are also ads for The Book of Mormon, as in the actual Book of Mormon. It’s getting hard to tell them apart.
14th over: Pakistan 65-1 (Sharjeel 37, Babar 14)
Travis Head on. Sharjeel breathes a sigh of relief. Goes back to a short ball, cuts the crap out of it through point. Boundary. But he gets a bit spooked when Head nails him on the pad as Sharjeel tried to sweep. That might ahve been a better DRS review if they had one. Probably sliding down leg? Right-arm offie around the wicket to the left-hander.
13th over: Pakistan 61-1 (Sharjeel 33, Babar 14)
Alright. I want to be optimistic about Babar Azam, but he’s officially bogged. They tyres are in the mud. Not that he needs to be carving the ball around at 100 strike rate, but he does need to find singles a bit more readily. Faces four balls of the Cummins over, gets one run, and that nearly saw Sharjeel run out by Warner. Sharjeel gets the other run from the over. Cummins has only gone for nine from his three.
12th over: Pakistan 59-1 (Sharjeel 32, Babar 13)
Six on the trot from Stanlake, the comeback continues. I like this from Smith, while he’s bowling well why not keep the new guy on, keep his confidence up, let him get through those overs now. Only two singles from the over, Sharjeel pulling one fine, Babar edging past his stumps. The last three balls all have Sharjeel shots flunge at them of varying styles and force, and all end up as dots.
11th over: Pakistan 57-1 (Sharjeel 31, Babar 12)
Sharjeel the strike rotator. The Man of a Thousand Faces continues to confound. Yet again, just pops a little single into the off side and gets off strike. Babar against Cummins gets on his toes and plays the back-foot punch, but straight to point. Corrects this next ball, directing it past the field for three. Hard to time, that’s a good stroke. Sharjeel watches a couple of wide bouncers pass by, then plays his own version of the forcing shot, left-handed though, for one more run to keep the strike.
@GeoffLemonSport Pietersen, Trott and de Kock also took 21 ODI innings to get to 1000. Reasonable club.
@GeoffLemonSport the records for fastest to 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and 6000 all belong to Amla. Hit his straps, you could say.
10th over: Pakistan 50-1 (Sharjeel 29, Babar 9)
Stanlake bowling his fifth in a row, and he’s come back incredibly well. 20 from one over, 11 from the over four. Sharjeel immediately off strike again, Babar runs one down to third man, then it’s back to the dot balls, including a big inside edge that dips just in front of Wade from Sharjeel’s drive. Nicks not carrying at the WACA, hey? Sharjeel bunts one more run towards square, and that’s it for the over. The 50 arrives.
9th over: Pakistan 47-1 (Sharjeel 27, Babar 8)
Patrick Cummins into the attack, and while it’s a cool day at the WACA he’s already bowling heat. Not far off the 150 km/h mark already, and a couple rip through to the keeper before Babar is ready for them. A couple are played well again but to the field. Babar getting a little stuck, he’ll need to keep his composure. Again, the over just yields a single from the first ball, this time off Sharjeel’s leg.
8th over: Pakistan 46-1 (Sharjeel 26, Babar 8)
Good over from Stanlake, just a single first up to Sharjeel. Babar isn’t just blocking, but a couple of decent shots go straight to the field. From the last ball he misses one, and there’s a weird review from the Australians, burning their one DRS challenge. This has hit him in front and low on the pad, but it has taken the inside edge before pad. I think Smith reviewed that based on height, he was the keenest for it from second slip. But he did ask his bowler before he made the final call, and I don’t know what Stanlake said, but he would be unlikely to have a clear view of a split-second inside edge onto pad to work out what came first. That was a classic gamble review, not what the system is designed for, and again we’re back to a situation where an obvious mistake cannot now be corrected. One of the ongoing problems with the current implementation, leaving it in the hands of players who use it tactically.
7th over: Pakistan 45-1 (Sharjeel 26, Babar 8)
People want him to rest, but Hazlewood is having a grand old time. Bowling to a watchful Babar, Hazlewood beats the outside edge, beats the inside edge, concedes a couple of runs to a skewed drive in the air, and rips in a good bouncer for good measure. Just a couple from the over, and Pakistan are still above a run a ball by pure virtue of that one big Sharjeel over.
6th over: Pakistan 43-1 (Sharjeel 26, Babar 6)
How quickly things change! Stanlake goes for 20 one over, bowls a maiden to Sharjeel the next. And not because the batsman had a change of approach. He smashed one ball straight to point, one into his helmet, one to mid-off, missed a couple, and had a short ball go down leg that should have been a wide but wasn’t. The umpire has squared up the Aussies on the wide count already.
5th over: Pakistan 43-1 (Sharjeel 26, Babar 6)
Enter Babar Azam, needing 47 runs today to join Sir Viv as the fastest to 1000 ODI runs, in terms of innings played. He defends one, watches a wide bouncer go down leg, then plays a sumptuous square drive that calls for an excellent diving save from Faulkner and ends up scoring two, then an equally good on-drive from Hazlewood’s straighter ball that does make it to the fence. Classy start.
He’s dangerous. Right-arm over to the right-hander, Hazlewood spears the ball at the stumps, maybe moved in a touch off the seam, Hafeez was falling over and trying to play across the line towards midwicket and missed. Hit low on the pad, on around off stump, and was stone motherless gone. You know it’s plumb when the batsman doesn’t even ask his partner about DRS.
4th over: Pakistan 36-0 (Hafeez 4, Sharjeel 26)
Sharjeel has some words that he’d like me to eat. A couple of runs through midwicket to get going for the over, then a pull for six over square! Stanlake gives you the length, for sure. That wasn’t controlled, Sharjeel picked it up from outside off, but got enough timing on the drag to avoid it going straight up. Then flashes outside off for four. Four more to follow, finally a controlled shot, the square drive hard into the ground and over point. Lovely. Then follows up shovelling yet another four through mid-on and off to the rope! The field is up, and Sharjeel has taken 20 from the over. Wow.
3rd over: Pakistan 16-0 (Hafeez 4, Sharjeel 6)
Just got our first “No doubt about it” from Michael Clarke. Took until the third over, crazy stuff, but cross that off your bingo card. Doesn’t look like a bad over in terms of runs from the bat, but Hazlewood is flattered given he bowls way down leg and this time Hafeez gets enough pad on it to send it away for four leg byes. I’ve always thought it’s a very safe way to score runs for your team if you could manage it deliberately. There’s another wide outside off as Josh tries to tempt Hafeez into something rash, not always the hardest task, but the opener sticks to his own. Then drives the last ball square for two. Profitable over really. Ooh, and a second NDAI. “Steve Smith will have a plan, there’s no doubt about it.” Making up for lost time.
2nd over: Pakistan 9-0 (Hafeez 2, Sharjeel 6)
Newsflash: Sharjeel does not agree. Hafeez turns over the strike first ball, tapped into the covers again. Stanlake, 6-foot-plenty, gets mega bounce from the next couple of balls, one so wide that even Sharjeel ignores it, one that steeples over the edge of the diagonally flashed blade. When Stanlake goes full, Sharjeel wallops it down the ground for four, but it was a bit of a slog, unconvincing. And continues to be so as he almost pulls to Handscomb at square leg but drops short. Just in case that wasn’t enough for the over, the left-handed Sharjeel finishes it off with a slog at the angled ball that hangs in the air but clears cover for a couple. Crystal ball, I see dismissals in his future.
1st over: Pakistan 2-0 (Hafeez 1, Sharjeel 0)
Cautious start for Pakistan. Hazlewood is unlucky as his first ball clips Hafeez’s pad going down leg side, but is called a wide anyway. After that he gets his line right, good bounce and carry outside Hafeez’s off stump. They bring in a third slip as soon as the first legitimate ball gets a bit of shape away. Lovely stuff, and all that Hafeez can do is block the second-last ball into the covers for a single. They’ll need to take some time on this pitch, the openers. Not that Sharjeel is likely to agree.
Now, the important conversational topic that everyone loves. The weather. We’ve got a very reasonable day in Perth, it’s still morning local time, 11:20 is the scheduled start so that this game matches the 14:20 east-coast start time preferred by broadcasters and schedulers. So it’s only 22 degrees, and isn’t tipped to get much above 24 this afternoon. Lovely, after some of the oven days that you can get for cricket in Perth, sitting in the WACA sun all afternoon. Seriously guys, just chuck up some shade cloth hey?
Mohammad Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan will open for Pakistan, the former as stand-in captain after Azhar Ali’s hamstring injury, the latter as Pakistan’s T20 dasher trying to make it work in the longer format. Hafeez had the golden touch in Melbourne, leading that win and top-scored with 72 in the run chase.
Babar Azam at 3, who today can equal Viv Richards’ mark for the fewest innings to make 1000 ODI runs. Asad Shafiq, who played so well in the Gabba Test. Shoaib Malik, whose experience was so vital in the Melbourne ODI. Umar Akmal, the ultimate hit-and-miss merchant. Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps, Imad Wasim the left-arm spinner who can bat, then the pacers in Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, and Junaid Khan.
Hello! Here I am indeed. And the main news is the Australians are taking the interesting tack of bowling first at the WACA. The means, predictably enough, that they’ve left out the leg-spinner Adam Zampa again, which is a bit bizarre given how well he’s bowled in the BBL and in his entire ODI career to date. Four specialist fast bowlers if you count James Faulkner, with the off-spin of Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head in the top order the only variation.
Geoff will be here shortly. But one man who won’t is Chris Lynn – the big-hitting batsman is out of the remainder of this series – and the next one against New Zealand. Full story here:
Related: Australia batsman Chris Lynn ruled out of ODI series with neck injury