Captain Aaron Finch came within 10 runs of scoring a third successive ODI century, as Australia completed a series victory over Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday.
Triumph by 80 runs in the third ODI afforded the Australians an unassailable three-nil advantage in the five-match series. Fixtures four and five will be played in Dubai on Friday and Sunday.
Finch struck 116 and 153 not out in the first and second ODI respectively, and Wednesday yielded 90. The hard-hitting right-hander was effectively on course for a third consecutive three-figure score, but was caught by long-on fielder Haris Sohail off the bowling of leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
His contribution, complemented by 47 from middle-order Peter Handscomb and 71 from all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, eventually pushed the Aussies to a final score of 266 for six, which proved ample.
Pakistan’s pursuit slipped to 16 for three, 149 for six – and finally to 186 all out. They were unable to recover from Pat Cummins’ initial burst, which saw batsmen two, three and four share a mere three runs.
Captain Shoaib Malik, the recalled Umar Akmal and all-rounder Imad Wasim battled hard for 32, 36 and 43 respectively, but couldn’t rise to Finch- or Maxwell-like attainments.
This is Australia’s second ODI series win this month, after mid-March’s three-two scoreline over India – and a major boost in confidence ahead of a challenging World Cup title defence in the United Kingdom later this year.
Photo: Getty Images