LAHORE, 30 March (BelTA - Associated Press of Pakistan). - Depleted Australia cricket team stunned Pakistan by 88 runs in the first One-Day International here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.
Australia, missing their key players and having new faces in the ODI squad posted a mammoth total 313-7, thanks to a majestic century by Travis Head (101). Chasing an uphill target, the home side saw the efforts of century-maker Imam-ul-Haq (103) wasted as majority of key batsmen failed to rise to the occasion, lacking necessary application and promise against a hostile Australian attack before an attractive home crowd on a hot evening.
Pakistan openers couldn't provide solid start to the home side. Fakhar Zaman was the first victim of Australia as he was caught by Travid Head on the ball of Sean Abbott. He scored 18 off 18 balls with three boundaries.
Captain Babar Azam then joined opener Imam-ul-Haq and both played some remarkable innings and added significant 96 runs for the second-wicket partnership. Babar Azam was sent packing by Mitchell Swepson, when he was playing for 57 off 72 balls that included six fours.
Babar registered another record to his name as he became the fastest Asian batter and second quickest batter overall to reach the 4,000 ODI runs landmark – taking 82 innings to achieve the milestone. At the moment, only South Africa's Hashim Amla is ahead of him with 81 innings.
Babar achieved the record during Pakistan's run chase against Australia in the first ODI of the three-match series at the Gaddafi Stadium. Playing on 14, he needed just one run to reach the landmark, and he achieved the feat in stunning fashion as he sent the ball rolling to the fence with a delightful cut short.
After the departure of Babar, Saud Shakeel (3), Mohammad Rizwan (10) and Iftikhar Ahmed (2) lost their wickets cheaply and Pakistan were struggling at 166-5 in 30.6 overs. Khushdil Shah then joined Imam and both added 38 runs for the sixth-wicket partnership.
Nathan Ellis then bowled out Imam, who hammered 101 off 72 balls, smashing 12 boundaries and three sixes. After that, Pakistani batters kept on losing their wickets on regular intervals, thus lost the first ODI of the three-match series by 88 runs.
Adam Zampa was the pick of Australia bowlers with the impressive figures of 4 for 38 while Travis Head and Mitchell Swepson bagged two wickets each while Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis got one wicket each.
Earlier put into bat first, Travis Head cracked a classic century to lead an understrength Australia to 313-7 against Pakistan. Head, playing his first ODI since 2018, hammered 101 off 72 balls. Ben McDermott added 55 off 70 balls as Australia raced to 1-171 in the 25th over, but the run rate then slowed due to the regular fall of wickets.
Then some smashing shots by Cameron Green (40* off 30 balls) ensured Australia picked up the pace again. Head was on just one when he was given out lbw in the second over. He immediately reviewed the decision, with replays showing Mohammad Wasim's delivery had pitched outside leg stump.
Head punished Pakistan bowlers severely to bring up his half-century off 32 balls. His bat continued to fire runs and brought up his ton off 70 balls which included three sixes and twelve fours. It was the fastest ODI century by an Australian against Pakistan. His knock came to an end when he chipped Iftikhar Ahmed to mid-off soon after bringing up triple figures.
McDermott would have been given out on 20, had Pakistan reviewed an lbw shout that was turned down. He brought up a hard-fought half-century, but was run out shortly after when he set off for a doomed third run and was sent back by Marnus Labuschagne. Labuschagne (25), Aaron Finch (23), and Marcus Stoinis (26) all contributed some significant runs in their team's total, making it a decent one for the hosts.
Pacer Haris Rauf was the pick of Pakistan bowlers with figures of 2 for 44 while spinner Zahid Mahmood bagged 2 for 59 on his debut.