Skipper Smith steers Oz home

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An eighth ODI century from Australia captain Steve Smith helped his team record a comfortable seven wicket victory over Pakistan at the WACA in Perth on Thursday.

Smith was ably assisted by debutant Peter Handscomb who scored 82 off 84 balls and looked every bit the part as an ODI player.

Pakistan had earlier set Australia 264 to win after posting a total of 263 for 7 in their fifty overs.

That total would have disappointed Pakistan who failed to make the most of a good start to the innings, they could only score 50 runs in the final ten overs.

Sharjeel Khan (50 off 47 balls) and Babar Azam (84 off 100 balls) laid an excellent platform for Pakistan after they had lost opener and stand in skipper Mohammad Hafeez (4) cheaply.

Babar reached 1000 ODI runs in just his 21st match equaling the record held jointly by Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Quinton De Kock.

Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal made useful contributions with both scoring 39 but neither could see out the innings and Pakistan’s effort fizzled out.

Josh Hazlewood led the attack admirably and was the pick of the bowlers with his figures of 3 for 32 from ten overs.

In response David Warner got the ball rolling with a quick 35 before he and opening partner Usman Khawaja (9) fell within an over of each other to leave Australia wobbling at 45 for 2.

Smith and Handscomb came to the rescue though putting on 191 for the third wicket during which time the skipper passed 3000 ODI runs in his 79th match becoming the fastest Australian to reach the mark in terms of games played.

Handscomb would be disappointed to miss out on a hundred that was there for the taking but Travis Head (23 not out) saw out the innings with Smith who ended unbeaten on 108.

Mohammad Amir was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers with figures of 1/36.

Australia take a 2-1 lead in the five match series with two to play.