Aussies down Pak in first ODI
Sharjah - Australia managed to record a shaky four-wicket win over Pakistan in the first limited overs international at Sharjah Stadium on Tuesday.
Skipper Michael Clarke scored 66, but it was the 62-run partnership between George Bailey (57 not out) and Glenn Maxwell (38) for the sixth wicket that ensured the victory after the visitors found themselves in all sorts of trouble on 67 for four.
Saeed Ajmal was the pick of the hosts' attack with 3-30 off his 10 overs.
Earlier, left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc took a maiden five-wicket haul to bowl Pakistan out for 198.
The 22-year-old lanky pacer derailed Pakistan's innings during the batting power-play to finish with 5-42 which helped Australia keep the lengthy rival batting line-up of seven batsmen to a modest total in 45.1 overs.
Pakistan, who won the toss, were recovering well when the batting power-play began in the 36th over with the total at 159-4 but lost three wickets in the five overs for just 16 runs with Starc dismissing Asad Shafiq (56), Kamran Akmal (four) and Shahid Afridi (nought) in an incisive bowling display.
His previous best of 4-27 came against Sri Lanka at Brisbane two years ago. He also took 4-47 in Australia's 66-run win over Afghanistan here on Saturday.
Starc ended all hopes of Pakistan batting through their 50-overs when he had Umar Akmal (52) in the 41st over.
It was Starc's new-ball partner James Pattinson (3-19) who provided Australia with two early breakthroughs, dismissing Mohammad Hafeez (four) in the fifth over before getting Azhar Ali (five) in the seventh.
Starc then made it 40-3 when he forced an edge off a short delivery off opener Nasir Jamshed to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. Jamshed made 23 with three boundaries.
Shafiq and Misbah-ul Haq added 59 for the fourth wicket before the Pakistani skipper played a rash shot off paceman Dan Christian and was bowled for 26.
Shafiq then found an able partner in Umar as both hit out at Australian spinners to the best effect, with both hitting two sixes each. Shafiq also hit two boundaries during his 77-ball knock.
It was left to Umar to give the final touches to the innings but Starc finished all hopes of a Pakistani recovery. Umar also hit two boundaries in his 55-ball innings.