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Australia spinners too hot for Pakistan to handle

Lahore, 29 March 2022: The format changed but Pakistan’s batting woes continued as they lost the first One-Day International against Australia by 88 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.

Travis Head, playing his first ODI in over three years, scored his second century in 43rd appearance to lift Australia to 313 for seven in 50 overs after they had been sent into bat. Head scored a 72-ball 101 with 12 fours and three sixes as he put on 110 runs for the first wicket with Aaron Finch (23) and 61 runs for the second wicket with Ben McDermott (55).

In turn, Imam-ul-Haq hit his eighth ODI century while scoring 103 off 96 balls with six fours and three sixes as Pakistan found Australia’s slow bowlers difficult to counter before being bundled out for 225 in 45.2 overs.

Pakistan were nicely placed at 120 for one after 24 overs before the floodgates opened with the dismissal of Babar Azam as the home side lost their last nine wickets for 105 runs in just over 21.2 overs.

Imam added 96 runs for the second wicket in 118 balls with captain Babar, who scored a 72-ball 57 with six fours. During his innings, the world number-one batter completed 4,000 ODI runs in his 82nd match, making him the second fastest after Hashim Amla (81 ODIs) to reach the landmark.

Adam Zampa foxed Pakistan with his skills and variations and returned impressive figures of 10-0-38-4. When Zampa cleaned up Hasan Ali with a flipper, he completed 100 ODI wickets.

Zampa’s other three wickets included Mohammad Rizwan (10), Khushdil Shah (19) and debutant Mohammad Wasim Junior (0).

Head followed up his century with the wickets of Saud Shakeel (3) and Iftikhar Ahmed (2) conceding 35 runs and Mitchell Swepson scooped the wickets of Babar and Haris Rauf (7) as the three Australia slow bowlers conceded 126 runs in 24 overs and picked up eight wickets.

The remaining two wickets were bagged by debutant Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis, who dismissed Fakhar Zaman (18) and Imam.

The second match will be played on Thursday.