Smith, Handscomb lead Australia to a thumping win

Smith, Handscomb lead Australia to a thumping win
Steve Smith
Shukriya Pakistan

Australia’s skipper, Steve Smith and the debutante Peter Handscomb took their team to a comfortable win by seven wickets against Pakistan chasing 264 runs in the third ODI of the series at the WACA, Perth.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja started off the Australian inning with a flair. Warner scored quick boundaries and pushed the visitors on the backfoot.

Mohammad Hafeez opened the bowling for Pakistan and leaked five runs in the first over. the aggressive Australian openers also kept Mohammad Amir out and scored runs off him as well.

Junaid Khan replaced Mohammad Hafeez in the fifth over. He proved to be expensive at start, but, struck in his third over. He managed an outside edge of David Warner at a score of 35 off 38 deliveries.

In the next over, Mohammad Amir got rid of Usman Khawaja, he managed just 9 runs on 20 balls.

Handscomb had a shaky start to his ODI career where he was dismissed on a duck by Junaid Khan, but it turned out to be a no-ball. Just a couple of overs later, Mohammad Nawaz, who was a substitute fielder for Mohammad Amir, dropped a sitter of him off Junaid Khan’s bowling.

He made the most of those opportunities and played a handy knock of 82 off 84 deliveries in the winning cause of the game. Hassan Ali took his wicket, but it was probably too late in the game.

The skipper along with the debutante took Australia from 45/2 to 228/3. They had a match winning partnership of 183 runs, where Handscomb contributed 82 and Smith put 95 runs.

After losing his partner, Smith went on to complete his ton. He remained not out on 108 runs. The hosts chased down the target in 45 overs.

Earlier in the match, Steve Smith won the toss and elected to field first.

Sharjeel Khan started off the inning in his typical fashion, where he took on the Aussie bowlers from the word go. He scored three 4’s and a six in Billy Stankale’s over that put the opposition under pressure.

However, the hosts made a comeback by removing Mohammad Hafeez on an individual score of 4 runs and by bowling a tight line to Sharjeel Khan.

The left-handed opener reached his half-century in 47 balls and soon after that, he dragged one on to his stumps off Travis Head. He struck one 6 and eight 4’s in his blistering inning. He had a handy partnership of 49 runs with Babar Azam.

Asad Shafiq replaced Sharjeel at the crease, but, the Test superstar of Pakistan once again failed to create an impact in the 50-over format and lost his wicket after making 10 runs.

Pakistan were 99/3 when Shoaib Malik came out to bat. He had a stable partnership with Babar Azam of 61 runs. Malik got out caught behind on 39 runs off Billy Stanlake’s delivery.

Umar Akmal and Babar Azam took over the charge and contributed 60 runs together, but at slightly slower rate of 5.14 runs per over.

Azam was looking good and it required a special catch from Peter Handscomb to dismiss him. He scored 84 off 100 deliveries before getting caught in the deep by the debutante, who dived forward to take an excellent catch. He hit four 4’s and a six.

After the departure of Azam, Umar Akmal took the role of aggressor and struck an absolutely amazing six off James Faulkner, however, he could not convert his another good start into a big inning. He managed 39 runs off 51 deliveries with the help of a six and a four.

Pakistan were looking promising till 40th over to score at least 275 runs, but slow run-scoring and quick wickets at the end of the inning restricted the visitors to only 263 runs. They scored just 50 runs in the last 10 overs.

Australia are now leading the series by 2-1. The fourth ODI of the series will be played on Sunday at Sydney.