PERTH, Australia (AP) Captain Steve Smith notched an unbeaten century and debutante Peter Handscomb scored 82 in Australia’s emphatic seven-wicket victory in the third one-day international against Pakistan on Thursday.
Smith made 108 off 104 balls while Handscomb – caught off a no-ball before he had scored and then dropped on 10 – went on to make 82 off 84 balls in Australian powerful run-chase of 265-3 with five overs to spare.
Half centuries by Babar Azam (84) and Sharjeel Khan (50) had lifted Pakistan to 263-7 after Smith won the toss and put Pakistan into bat at the WACA.
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”I love batting and scoring runs, it was nice to get another big one. When you get yourself in, this is one of the best places to bat,” said Smith, who hit 11 fours and a six in his eighth ODI century.
”We bowled pretty well in the afternoon to restrict them to 260 odd when it was a 320 wicket.”
Left-arm fast bowlers Junaid Khan and Mohammad Amir removed openers David Warner (35) and Usman Khawaja (9) in successive overs to make it 45-2. A run was added before Junaid found the outside edge of Handscomb’s bat only to see he had overstepped.
Junaid came close to removing Handscomb again but substitute fielder Mohammad Nawaz missed a sitter at point.
Handscomb, who had scored prolifically in Australia’s 3-0 rout of Pakistan in the preceding test series, combined in a better than a run-a-ball 183-run stand with Smith to give Australia a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.
”Had some luck but I was happy to grab the opportunity,” Handscomb said.
”I was just trying to use my feet to try and go forward or back to unsettle the bowlers … we were confident of chasing this total down.”
Smith raised his hundred when he pulled Hasan Ali to the midwicket boundary before the right-arm seamer broke the stand by having Handscomb glove a pull shot to diving wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
Earlier, Pakistan couldn’t keep up the scoring pace set up by Azam and Sharjeel.
”There was a platform for us to make 300 plus, but we missed our opportunity,” Hafeez said.
”No-balls are all part of the game, but the effort was there from the bowlers. Once you miss those chances, the pressure will always be on you. Everyone has to lift themselves. The next two venues will suit us.”
Opener Sharjeel made a sprightly half century from 46 balls to give Pakistan an assertive beginning.
Babar had support from Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal, who both scored 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 Handscomb on the deep midwicket boundary.
Babar came in when Pakistan lost captain 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.