Aus vs Pak, 3rd ODI: Babar guides Pakistan to 263-7


Babar Azam made a poised 84 to lift Pakistan to 263-7 batting first in Thursday’s third one-day international against Australia at the WACA Ground.

When he passed 47, Babar reached 1,000 runs in ODIs from just 21 innings.

Opener Sharjeel Khan made a sprightly half century from 46 balls to give Pakistan an assertive beginning after being sent in to bat.

Babar had support from Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal who both score 39, but Pakistan squandered its solid start by scoring a modest 50 runs from the last 10 overs while losing three wickets.

Babar was dismissed when he pulled a ball from Josh Hazlewood toward the debuting Peter Handscomb on the deep midwicket boundary. Handscomb made good ground and took the ball in both hands close to the ground.

Initial replays suggested the ball might have touched the grass but the television umpire was able to determine that Handscomb had been able to get his fingers under the ball.

Babar’s innings contained only 22 runs from boundaries — four fours and one six — but he scored consistently, using his wrists to work balls into gaps especially on the on-side.

Sharjeel used blunter methodology, hitting a six and three fours from the last four balls of the fourth over bowled by Billy Stanlake in only his second one-day international.

He then hit three successive fours off Travis Head but was out next ball as he chopped a Head delivery onto his stumps.

Babar came in when Pakistan lost captain Mohammad Hafeez (4) in the fifth over and put on 49 for the second wicket with Sharjeel. He quickly lost Asad Shafiq (5) but founded a new partnership with Shoaib which added 73 for the fourth wicket and he put on a further 60 with Akmal.

Hazlewood bowled an outstanding last spell to prevent Pakistan getting what seemed likely to be a score close to 300. He dismissed Hafeez, Babar and Akmal, ending with 3-32 from his 10 overs.

Earlier, Australian captain Steven Smith won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat Thursday (today) with the five one-day international series tied at one all.

Australia chose to rest star paceman Mitchell Starc.

He was replaced by rookie quick Billy Stanlake, who bowled just three overs in his international debut in Brisbane in the series opener last Friday before being forced from the field by illness.

Australia’s top-order have struggled during the current one-day series against Pakistan, crashing to scores of 5-78 and 4-86 in the first two matches.

The five-match series is locked at 1-1, placing huge importance on today’s clash at the WACA Ground.

Batsman Peter Handscomb was making his ODI debut and replaces the injured Chris Lynn, whose neck problem has ruled him out for the rest of the series.

Australia announced their XI on the eve of the match and did not spring any late surprises, with Peter Handscomb making his debut and fast bowler Billy Stanlake returning for his second ODI after struggling with illness on debut at the Gabba. A shoulder injury has sidelined Mitchell Marsh, while Mitchell Starc has been rested.

Pakistan elected to use the same XI that had success on Sunday at the MCG, where they ended a streak of 16 consecutive losses to Australia in Australia across all formats.


Australia: David Warner, Travis Head, Steve Smith (capt), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Pat Cummins, Billy Stanlake, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Junaid Khan

Umpires: Simon Fry (AUS) and Chettithody Shamshuddin (IND)

Third Umpire: Chris Gaffaney (NZL)

Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)