Medium-pacer Ryan Harris picked up his second consecutive five-wicket haul as Australia inflicted yet another embarrassing defeat on the hapless Pakistanis. Batting first, Australia recovered from a poor start to post a challenging total of 277 for 8, thanks in main to half-centuries from Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz.
Harris then carried on his demolition job, akin to Adelaide, as Australia trounced Pakistan by a mammoth 135-run margin. None of the Pakistani batsman could reach even 50. Umar Akmal ended up being the top-scorer with 38 as the visiting side crumbled to 142 all out, well before the stipulated 50 overs.
The chase for Pakistan just never took off. Harris, bowling at a rather quick pace, was in his elements right from the word go. Salman Butt edged one that was directed in the other direction and Cameron White picked up one of the better catches you will see in the slips. Younis Khan went as quickly as he came, poking his bat at an outswinger from Harris. Pakistan never managed to recover from there on. On the contrary, they only went deeper into the mire.
Peter Siddle joined in the fun scalping two crucial wickets. He had the struggling Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Yousuf, both caught behind of Brad Haddin, who ended up plucking five catches. There was a semblance of resistance in the form of a partnership between Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam, but alas it could not last long enough to trouble the Aussies. Alam was run-out by Hauritz while Harris cleaned up Umar to all but seal the game. Shahid Afridi played a breezy cameo before departing, but it hardly had any impact on the game. Harris eventually returned to do the mop up job and finish with another five-for.
Earlier, in the day, Pakistan squandered their umpteenth golden opportunity to put Australia under immense pressure. Despite having them tottering at 190 for 6, they managed to let them off the hook as Hussey and Hauritz added 80 valuable runs for the seventh wicket and propelled their side to a highly competitive score.
All this after Mohammad Asif had dismissed Shaun Marsh cheaply and Naved-ul-Hasan accounted for Haddin just when he was beginning to look dangerous. Michael Clarke also failed to contribute much before getting run-out, while skipper Ricky Ponting’s promising innings of 30 was cut short by Afridi.
The in-form Cameron White began the resurrection work for the Aussies, in the company of Hussey, with a gritty 44. Still, Pakistan held the upper hand when Saeed Ajmal managed to send back White and Asif returned to dislodge James Hopes. Unfortunately, Pakistan could not capitalize on the strong position and allowed Hussey and Hauritz to get away.
While Hussey took his time initially, Hauritz went hammer and tongs to post an unbeaten 53 off just 39 balls. As Pakistan began to feel the heat, Hussey too joined in the action. He was brilliant in the powerplay overs. Australia scored at over 10 runs per over during this phase and it was enough to rattle the already flustered Pakistanis.
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