Pakistan, Australia 3rd ODI today
03 September, 2012
Pakistan will be looking to take advantage of a golden opportunity to win their first One-Day International (ODI) series against Australia since 2002, when they will take the field for the final match in Sharjah today.
Pakistan's last series win, which came in Australia, was courtesy a fiery spell by former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar who demolished the hosts' batting line-up with figures of five for 25. That Australia team included Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.
Now, after more than a decade, the team has landed a chance to seal a rare triumph and, while they face a much weaker Australia team, the achievement will be no less for a relatively young Pakistan outfit as well.
However, this time around it will not be the pace, which the team would rely on like their last triumph, but the performance of spinners that is likely to decide the outcome.
Australia opened the rubber with a four-wicket win in Sharjah, while Pakistan bounced back in Abu Dhabi with an impressive seven-wicket victory — a match where the team, known to be poor chasers, overhauled a 249-run target with relative ease with Australia ruing the dew factor that proved crucial in the second-innings.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Shahid Afridi who missed the second match due to a back injury, remained a doubtful starter.
“We'll monitor his fitness during the training session in the evening,” said the manager, before refusing the impression that the winning combination will be retained. “We'll finalise the playing-eleven after assessing the pitch.”