Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Australia all-rounder Steven Smith scored his maiden ODI century to help his side demolish Pakistan by 93 runs in the first ODI in Sharjah.
Australia captain George Bailey would have been regretting his decision to bat first right away after opening batsman Aaron Finch was dismissed off the first ball of the innings when he was caught by Ahmed Shehzad at point off the bowling of Mohammad Irfan for a royal duck.
David Warner and Smith made up for the early loss of Finch with an 86-run partnership before Warner was caught by Umar Akmal at midwicket off the bowling of Shahid Afridi for 43.
Bailey failed to have an impact with the bat as he was brilliantly caught by Afridi off the bowling of Fawad Alam for 18 runs.
After being dropped on twice on one run and five runs, Glenn Maxwell was finally caught by Irfan at long-off off the bowling of debutant Zulfiqar Babar for 21.
James Faulkner fared no better as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Afridi for 11 runs.
Faulkner reviewed the decision immediately, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and going on to hit off-stump. This prompted the third umpire to uphold the original decision.
Smith ended up scoring his maiden ODI century before he was caught by Wahab Riaz at long-off off the bowling of Afridi.
Smith’s sensational knock of 101 came off 118 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes.
Debutant Sean Abbott only made three runs before he was caught by Anwar Ali at long-on off the bowling of Riaz.
Mitchell Johnson made a quickfire 21 before he was clean bowled by Riaz.
Thanks to Smith, Australia finished on 255/8 off their 50 overs.
Afridi was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Riaz snapped up two and Irfan, Babar and Alam chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 256 to win, Pakistan got off to a poor start as Shehzad was caught by Smith at second slip off the bowling of Johnson for just four runs.
Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq made up for the early loss of Shehzad with a 50-run partnership before Ahmed was caught behind off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for 34.
Lyon struck again the very next ball when Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq was the victim of superb catch by Warner at leg slip for a golden duck.
Shafiq went on to score 13 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Johnson.
Alam failed to have an impact with the bat as well as he was caught by Warner at point off the bowling of Maxwell for seven runs.
Afridi mustered five runs before he was caught by Faulkner at deep midwicket to give Abbott his maiden ODI wicket.
Pakistan’s collapse continued when Anwar Ali was caught behind off the bowling of Johnson for eight runs.
Riaz fared no better as he was caught and bowled by Maxwell for five runs.
Akmal was Pakistan’s top-scorer with 46 runs, which came off 57 balls and included six boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Kane Richardson.
Pakistan were put out of their misery on 162 when Irfan was run out by Warner for 12 runs.
Johnson was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Lyon and Maxwell took two wickets apiece and Richardson and Abbott claimed one wicket each.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ul-Haq was disappointed with his team’s performance, and said: “The kind of batting performance we have had, we need to do a lot of things. Nobody is getting scores right from the top. That is a big worry for us. We need to come in the next game with a positive attitude.”
Bailey was pleased to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “We were 15-20 runs short with the bat, but an outstanding effort with the ball. Selling the batting a little bit short there, we were pretty good with the bat too. It started to turn a bit, our spinners were effective, good pace from the quicks and it was backed up well in the field. Couple of very quick balls tonight (from Johnson). Felt Richardson had some nice pace as well.”
Smith was named Man of the Match, and said: “I’m trying to spend time in the middle, get the ones and twos, hit the bad balls, that was pretty much my plan. That is what I have been working on (pacing my innings). That is what I was able to do, and the others batted around me. Hopefully I get a few more opportunities (at No 3) and a few more big scores.”