Australia win by seven wickets with 30 balls remaining; take 2-1 lead in five-match series with Sydney and Adelaide to come

Perth, January 19: Steve Smith’s unbeaten eighth One-Day International (ODI) ton helped Australia to beat Pakistan by seven wickets in the third match at the Western Australia Cricket Association ground here on Thursday.

With this victory, the hosts now have an important 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Chasing 263, Australia started the match on a cautious note, scoring 44 runs in eight overs. But just when things seemed good for the hosts, they lost two quick wickets in back to back overs.

After Australia were delicately poised at 46 for two, Smith (108 not out) forged a 183-run third-wicket partnership with debutant Peter Handscomb (82) as the hosts chased down 264 in the 45th over.

The day indeed belonged to Australian captain Steve Smith, guiding Australia home. Although his bland spin through those middle overs, gifted some runs to Pakistan, yet he must be credited for containing the Pakistanis to a meagre run chase for themselves.

Smith was named player of the match, but he praised his bowlers for restricting Pakistan “to 260 odd when it was a 320 wicket.”

For Pakistan, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan and Hasan Ali chipped in with one wicket each.

Earlier, put in to bat, Sharjeel Khan (50) and Babar Azam (84) made gritty knocks to help Pakistan to 263/7 in their allotted 50 overs.

Apart from them, Shoaib Malik (39) and Umar Akmal (39) also contributed for the cause.

After their major win in Melbourne, Pakistan failed miserably creating their own demise in Perth, when they were 2/45 in the 10th over.

Then the side slipped and slid down the required run-rate.

Peter Handscomb’s no-ball dismissal and the dropped catch were pivotal to Pakistan’s loss, especially after Hanscomb went on to score a mighty 82, which will haunt Pakistan for quite some time.

Yet, performance of Mohammad Amir was a class apart rising above his team with a classic display of control in his pace and arc.

For Australia, Josh Hazlewood scalped three wickets while Travis Head took two wickets.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 263-7 (Azam 84, Sharjeel 50, Hazlewood 3-32) against Australia 265-3 (Smith 108 not out, Handscomb 82; Amir 1-36)

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