Match Report:


Aussie bogeymen fire Pakistan to long-awaited ODI series win

Babar Azam and Imam ul-Haq once again dominant with Australia's stumble against the new ball proving decisive in third ODI defeat in 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.

Horror start for Aussies as they lose three early wickets

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).


The Aussies had not defended a score as low as 210 in a decade and any hopes of doing so essentially evaporated when Travis Head dropped Babar on 3 at square-leg off the recalled Jason Behrendorff.

Along with a mis-timed stroke two balls earlier that had landed just shy of Head at short mid-on, the Pakistan skipper otherwise did not put a foot wrong as he strolled to his third fifty-plus score of the series.

With seven centuries between them against Australia now on this tour (which concludes with a sole T20I on Wednesday morning AEDT), Babar and Imam were impenetrable as skipper Aaron Finch unsuccessfully tried seven different bowlers in a bid to find a breakthrough.

Shaheen rattles Head's stumps with first ball of the ODI

In a month of cricket dominated by batters, Pakistan's dream start with the ball was as surprising as it was series-defining.

With his side inserted by Babar for a third straight match, Head's strong batting form in his return to the 50-over side ended abruptly and bizarrely on the first ball of the match as he was clean bowled by a Shaheen full toss.

Finch also failed to trouble the scorers (for a second straight match) as Rauf left the Aussies reeling at 2-0 and then 3-6 when Marnus Labuschagne edged to slip.

McDermott and Marcus Stoinis (19) were both caught at cover off leading edges before an 81-run stand between Green and Carey, who played a succession of eye-catching strokes through the off-side, was soured by that pair departing in consecutive overs.

Shaheen bristled at Abbott taking him for 21 from an over, as the rival quicks exchanged words amid the NSW allrounder's gripping late cameo in a 44-run last-wicket stand with Adam Zampa, who contributed none.

Qantas Tour of Pakistan 2022

First Test: Match drawn

March 12-16: Match drawn

March 21-25: Australia win by 115 runs

Pakistan ODI and T20 squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique*, Asif Afridi, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq*, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Zahid Mahmood, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Saud Shakeel*, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir (*ODIs only)

Australia ODI and T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Adam Zampa

March 29: Australia win by 88 runs

March 31: Pakistan win by six wickets

April 2: Pakistan win by nine wickets

April 5: Only T20I, Lahore

All matches to be broadcast in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports