Cricket

Steve Smith ton powers Australia to victory against poor Pakistan

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Australia took the lead in the three-match one day international series against Pakistan with a 93-run victory in Sharjah yesterday. 

Steve Smith - the man who has become an ever-present in the Australian test side - shone with the bat, converting his first ODI 50 into his first ODI century. Before today, Smith's highest score was 46, with an average of just 20.73. 

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Good start

The game started in the best possible way for Pakistan, with Mohammad Irfan removing Aaron Finch with the very first ball of the match, bringing centurion Smith to the crease. 

Pakistan - without the injured Mohammad Hafeez and banned Saeed Ajmal - struggled to take wickets after that, with Smith and David Warner adding 86 before the latter was dismissed by Shahid Afridi. 

After that, no other Australian made it past 24 runs with Glenn Maxwell missing out after being dropped twice off Afridi's bowling, before eventually finding the fielder off Zulfiqar Babar's bowling, the man who made history by becoming the second oldest debutant for Pakistan at the age of 35. 

Smith played his innings beautifully, hitting 101 off 118 balls, with six fours and two sixes in his time at the crease. His wicket in the 45th over from Afridi slowed the innings down till the end, handing Pakistan a gettable target. 

Attainable target

Afridi bowled well, taking 3-46 and, in the process, reached 381 wickets in ODI cricket, putting him joint sixth on the list of most wickets in ODI history with the legendary Glenn McGrath. 

Despite losing Ahmad Shehzad in the third over, Pakistan's chase began well at a good pace. Sarfraz Ahmed carried on his form from the Sri Lanka tour, hitting 34 off 41 balls before being caught by Brad Haddin, eventually, off the dangerous Nathan Lyon's bowling. 

After the Sarfraz dismissal, there was no real fight shown from the Pakistan batsmen and with Lyon (2-33), Mitchell Johnson (3-24) and Glenn Maxwell (2-29) regularly chipping in with wickets, it was always going to be an Australian win. 

Lack of quality

Umar Akmal was the only batsmen who showed some batting quality after Sarfraz, smashing 46 off 57 balls before being clean bowled by Kane Richardson. 

Captain Misbah was out for a golden duck, Fawad Alam was painfully slow and Shahid Afridi gifting debutant Sean Abbott his first ODI wicket pretty much told the story about Pakistan's batting. 

Much improvement will be needed for Pakistan against Australia who know that a win on Friday in the second ODI means they win the series. 

Follow me on twitter for cricket chat - @YusufSmileyKhan

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Topics:
Australia cricket
Pakistan cricket
Cricket

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