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19-Jan-2017 10:10:00 GMT
Australia v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Perth

Smith ton and Handscomb fifty punish Pakistan

Perth: Skipper Steven Smith racks up another hundred while debutant Peter Handscomb makes 82 in comfortable seven-wicket win, takes 2-1 lead.

When debutant joined his skipper in the middle of the WACA Ground this evening, Pakistan's small edge but vocal contingent of supporters were rightly in full voice.

Chasing 264 to win, the hosts were wobbling slightly at 2-45 having lost David Warner and Usman Khawaja in the space of just six deliveries. But after some early nerves the right-handed duo steadied and produced a magnificent 183-run partnership as the home side cruised home with five overs to spare.

It was the third-highest partnership by an Australian pair against Pakistan and the sixth-highest by an Australian pair in Perth.

It's hard to think of a more eventful start to a debut innings than Handscomb's tonight, a moment that also proved to be pivotal in the outcome of the match.

With Pakistan on the charge, Handscomb edged the third delivery he faced to one of four fielders in the slip cordon and he was on his way without scoring -- until replays showed Junaid Khan had overstepped. Better yet, the next ball Handscomb faced was a free hit and with Pakistan unable to change their field, the Victorian aimed a booming pull shot to the vacant on side and landed one just inside the boundary rope.

Handscomb was given another life a short time later when Mohammad Nawaz put down a sitter at point off a delivery from Junaid that replays showed to be another no-ball. It would be another 30 overs before Pakistan struck again, by which point the game was as good as gone.

During Steve Smith's century tonight, the eighth of his career, the skipper unseated dumped teammate George Bailey and one-day icon Michael Bevan as the fastest Australian batsmen to 3000 career runs in one-day international cricket. Smith reached the milestone in his 79th career innings, one faster than the record of 80 shared by Bevan and Bailey.

Pakistan's Babar Azam joined an illustrious quartet of Sir Viv Richards, Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Quinton de Kock by becoming the equal-fastest man to post 1000 runs in ODI cricket. The right-hander scores 84 today meant he reached the milestone in his 21st innings, matching the record first set by Richards 37 years ago.

Earlier, Glenn Maxwell was once again conspicuous by his absence from Australia's bowling attack today as fellow off-spinner Travis Head carried the spin-bowling workload.

Maxwell, whose spin-bowling could earn him a return to Australia's Test side in India next month, has bowled just four overs out in the middle since the start of December and hasn't bowled more than five overs in his past 12 ODIs.

Head did bowl well for the Aussies today, picking up two crucial wickets following his economical display in the series opener in Brisbane, but Maxwell will no doubt be hoping for more overs in the five ODIs to come before he links with Australia's Test squad in Dubai ahead of the India series.

Handscomb's first catch in ODI cricket was a memorable one, even if it took two-a-half minutes to confirm that a clean catch had been taken.

Brief scores:
Pakistan -
7 for 263 (Babar 84, Sharjeel 50, Hazlewood 3-32, Head 2-65)
Australia - 3 for 265 (Smith 108*, Handscomb 82)
Result - Australia won by seven wickets
MOM - Steven Smith (Australia)

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