Pakistan pull level with routine win
Saeed Ajmal and Nasir Jamshed led the way as Pakistan set up a series decider against Australia with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the second one-day international at Abu Dhabi.
In returning 4-32 from 10 overs, off-spinner Ajmal was chiefly responsible for limiting the tourists, for whom Mike Hussey made 61, to 248 for nine after Michael Clarke had chosen to bat.
Jamshed then contributed 97 from 98 balls at the top of the order to help Pakistan cruise to victory with more than six overs to spare. Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq finished unbeaten on 59 and 35 respectively following the opener’s departure.
Australia were grateful for the efforts of Hussey following a sluggish start to their innings.
Matthew Wade chopped on to Junaid Khan in the second over, having been dropped at point off the previous ball, and although David Warner and Clarke shared 66 their progress was slow.
Warner had just 24 to his name from 68 deliveries when he fell leg before to Ajmal.
Clarke fell in similar fashion to Hafeez soon after, having reached 37, and Australia were 87 for four in the 24th over when David Hussey became another lbw victim for Ajmal.
Another partnership of 66, between Michael Hussey and George Bailey, settled the ship, but the latter threw his wicket away in tame fashion when providing Abdur Rehman with a return catch.
The elder Hussey found another willing ally in Glenn Maxwell, who hit Rehman for back-to-back sixes en route to 28.
Ajmal struck twice in the 46th over, however, as the batsmen looked to accelerate further.
Hussey missed an attempted slog to be bowled and Maxwell was stumped by Kamran Akmal, leaving Dan Christian and Mitchell Starc to boost Australia’s total with a handful of late boundaries.
Their efforts were to prove in vain as Pakistan made light work of their chase.
Mohammad Hafeez contributed 23 before pulling Christian to deep square-leg and Jamshed, scoring freely all around the ground after successfully reviewing an early lbw decision that had gone against him, then received able support from Azhar in a century stand for the second wicket.
After defying the oppressive humidity for more than two and a half hours, Jamshed was cruelly denied a century as, facing Mitchell Johnson, he failed to clear mid-off.
Asad Shafiq was bowled by James Pattinson for nine, but Australia’s tiring attack, hampered by the heat and dew, were unable to make another breakthrough.
Starc left the field through injury before Misbah took Pakistan over the line with his fifth four.