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02-Apr-2022 18:05:00 GMT
Pak vs Aus - 3rd ODI, Lahore

Babar, Imam seal ODI series victory against Australia

Pakistan 214 for 1 (Babar 105, Imam 89*) beat Australia 210 (Carey 56, Abbott 49, Rauf 3-39, Wasim 3-40) by nine wickets

Lahore: Pakistan cruised to their first ODI series win over Australia in 20 years as bogeymen Imam ul-Haq and Babar Azam maintained their hold over the visitors in Lahore in the penultimate match of their historic tour.

The Aussies never recovered from losing both openers before they had scored a run and slumping to 3-6 in the sixth over of the match. They posted just 210, the lowest total of a 50-over series characterised by overwhelmingly batter-friendly Gaddafi Stadium surfaces.

Borderline invincible against Australia's undermanned bowling attack in recent days, Babar (105no from 115 balls) and Imam (89no from 100) put on 190 for the second wicket to see Pakistan surge to victory in the 38th over.

The Pakistani pair's capricious friendship, which dates back to their Under-16 playing days, has been evident in Babar's multiple outbursts towards the younger Imam during the series, yet their bond has been rock solid at the batting crease.

The pair shared a long embrace after Imam hit the winning runs to seal the nine-wicket win, with left-hander labelling his skipper his "best friend" after the nine-wicket victory.

Imam's 298 runs for the series (which includes scores of 103 and 106 in the first two games) were the most ever scored against Australia in a three-match ODI campaign, eclipsing Graham Gooch's mark of 289 set back in 1985.

Babar (with scores of 57 and 114 in the first two games) finished with 276 runs, putting him third on that list, with the batting maestro bearing a grin from ear-to-ear after reaching his 16th ODI century under lights in front of jubilant fans.

The ODI series win was Pakistan's first against Australia since 2002 in that format, having lost six consecutive 50-over campaigns since a Waqar Younis-led side won in a winter series in Melbourne (where two games were played at the Docklands Stadium) and Brisbane.

It also snapped a streak of three straight ODI series wins for Australia dating back to September 2020.

Only late hands from wicketkeeper Alex Carey (56 off 61) and the impressive Sean Abbott (49 off 40) ensured Australia passed 200, bowled out with 49 balls to spare following a devastating new-ball assault from Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-40) and Haris Rauf (3-39).

Young paceman Mohammad Wasim (3-40) then ripped the heart out of the lower-order, gaining reverse swing late in the innings and capturing the key scalps of Ben McDermott (36 off 50) and Cameron Green (34 off 47).

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