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Australia beats Pakistan by 4 wickets in 1st ODI

India TV News Desk 29 Aug 2012, 14:08:36 IST
India TV News Desk
Sharjah, UAE, Aug 29 : Captain Michael Clarke and George Bailey hit aggressive half centuries after fast bowler Mitchell Starc took five wickets to lead Australia to a four-wicket win over Pakistan in the first of three one-day internationals.

Starc returned figures of 5-42 from 10 overs and fellow paceman James Pattinson had 3-19 as Australia dismissed Pakistan for 198 in the 46th over at Sharjah Stadium.

Pakistan made a bright start in the field as offspinner Mohammad Hafeez (2-29) bowled opener David Warner for 5, before Shahid Afridi (1-37) dismissed Matthew Wade for 10 and Saeed Ajmal (3-30) removed the Mike Hussey (5) and brother David (3) to leave Australia struggling on 67-4.

Clarke struck 66 off 96 balls in a 54-run stand with Bailey, who made 57 not out.

After Clarke was trapped lbw by Hafeez, Bailey and newcomer Glenn Maxwell shared a 58-run partnership to take Australia within sight of victory.

Bailey smashed then smacked the winning run, pulling a short ball to deep square leg off Aizaz Cheema to give Australia its first ODI victory over Pakistan in Sharjah.

Starc said despite the win, Australia would remain very wary of Pakistan's spin attack of Hafeez, Afridi and Ajmal.

“They are three world class spinners so we will have to look a bit more at them and combat them for the next two games as well,” he said.

The match, played in humid United Arab Emirates conditions, didn't start until the evening and ended just after 2 a.m. local time.

“With the ball, we knew it would be best to combat some of their dangerous players. As a group, we bowled very well,” said Starc, who was named man of the match for second time on this tour after collected four wickets in Australia's win against Afghanistan on Saturday.

“When we came up to bat, we didn't get the start we wanted, but Michael obviously started the surge of runs,” he added. “We knew if we took it right to the end, we would be in with a good chance and that is what happened.”

After Pakistan won the toss elected to bat, the offensive woes that plagued its series losses to England and Sri Lanka earlier this year were on display again.

Pakistan slumped to 40-3 by the 10th over and two half-century partnerships followed before Pakistan lost its last six wickets for 38 runs.

Asad Shafiq scored 56 while Umar Akmal hit 52. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq (26) and Nasir Jamshed (23) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.

Misbah blamed his team's batting for the loss, saying it needs to score runs to back up its potent bowling attack. He smiled when reminded that the total was eight runs short of what Afghanistan managed to put up against Australia in its 66- run loss.

“I think we have to learn just how to play in the situations like that. It is something that comes with experience,” Misbah said. “Now, we have played enough cricket and even the youngsters have played a lot of games. The most important thing is to play 50 overs. You know, the bowling lineup is so good that even you can score 230 or 240 and it is defendable.”

The win is likely to give Australia plenty of confidence ahead of the second match Friday in Abu Dhabi as it looks to return to the top of the ODI rankings.

The former No. 1 Australians are now fourth in the ICC rankings—its lowest ever position. Pakistan has struggled lately as, dropping to sixth in the world after a 3-1 series loss to Sri Lanka and a 4-0 whitewash to England earlier this year.