Australia exposed by spin again

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Australia struggled against Pakistan’s spinning options and would slump to a 6 wicket defeat at the MCG having posted a sub-par 220 all out.

Pakistan made light work of the chase, comfortably keeping pace with the required rate and keeping wickets in hand well and winning with 14 balls to spare.

Australia made a solid enough start to their innings but lost three wickets in quick succession as Junaid Khan accounted for openers David Warner (16) and Usman Khawaja (17) before Mohammad Amir sent Mitchell Marsh packing for a first baller as he drove loosely to cover.

Steve Smith (60) tried to rebuild the innings and was able to put together decent stands with Travis Head (29), Glenn Maxwell (23) and Matthew Wade (35).

Smith’s departure in the 43rd over when he was bowled by Imad Wasim triggered another Australian batting collapse, they would slip from 193 for 5 to 220 all out, with the quicks reaping the benefit of tight bowling from the tweakers.

When Shoaib Malik bowled Wade to leave Australia 199 for 6 the writing was on the wall and they closed out the innings with the efficiency that was sorely lacking at the Gabba.

Amir would finish as the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3 for 47 but spinners Imad Wasim ( 2 for 37), Mohammad Hafeez (0 for 45 in ten) and Shaoib (1 for 15) really set up the win.

Pakistan’s chase nearly got off to a dreadful start when Mitchell Starc found the edge of stand in skipper Hafeez’s bat but the ball slipped through the usually safe hands of Smith and slammed into his groin leaving him writhing in pain as an unsympathetic bowler turned and walked back to his mark.

It would prove a costly drop as Hafeez went on to anchor the innings with a well played 72 off 104 balls.

Sharjeel Khan was eager to play his shots as always and amassed 29 off 32 balls before being caught trying a deft glance down to third man that found only the gloves of Wade.

Babar Azam (33) and Hafeez put together a good stand to follow up a solid opening and despite losing both batsman in quick succession with Faulkner and Starc removing the pair in successive overs Pakistan didn’t panic.

Asad Shafiq (13 off 29 balls) struggled to find his touch but Shaoib kept the scoreboard ticking over during their stand of 53 to which the former contributed just 12 runs.

Shoaib (42 not out) would guide Pakistan past the total with Umar Akmal (18 not out) out in the middle with him.

Faulkner was again the pick of the Aussie bowlers with his 2 for 35.

The win levels the five match series at 1-1 with three to play and is also Pakistan’s first ODI win in Australia for 12 years.