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Australia vs Pakistan, 4th ODI: Ryan Harris Downs Pakistan Yet Again

By on January 29, 2010

Australia 8 for 277(Hussey 67, Hauritz 53*, Asif 3-42) beat Pakistan 142 (Umar Akmal 38, Harris 5-19) by 135 runs…

Australia mercilessly ripped through a feeble Pakistan at the WACA to keep alive the prospect of inflicting upon the tourists only their second 5-0 whitewash in ODIs. Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz starred with the bat, before Ryan Harris tore through the batting with a second successive five-for to set up a crushing 135-run win. Remarkably, given how poor Pakistan have been in this country, this was Australia’s first win over them in an ODI in Perth.

Pakistan’s tour has been one long, dark and miserable spiral since the fourth day of the second Test in Sydney and it continued with another dispirited, stuttering performance. They did battle in the field but let Australia get away at a critical stage once again, and contrasting fifties from Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz then took them to 277.

For much of the innings, control was a loose concept. Every time Pakistan struck, an Australian partnership settled. But every time the batsmen threatened to take over, Pakistan struck, so that momentum never rested decisively with either side. The final shift, however, came after the 40th over as an 80-run partnership between Hussey and Hauritz propelled Australia to the kind of total Pakistan haven’t looked like chasing down at any point this summer.

Australia were 6 for 190 at that point and James Hopes had just been dismissed by the excellent Mohammad Asif. Hussey had hung around unnoticed from the 22nd over, stealthily keeping Australia afloat. Hauritz frustrated Pakistan with the ball through the Tests and today he did so with bat, swinging four sixes with all the freedom of a man no longer trying to prove himself in a 39-ball 53.

Hussey had hit one boundary in his fifty, but timing is everything and as he did in Adelaide, he utilized the PowerPlay beautifully, ensuring that sixty runs came in the last six overs. Death bowling was once Pakistan’s trump card, but on this tour it has cost them.

Pakistan had shaded the start, much of the groundwork laid in a fine opening spell from Asif, who immediately hit the length that makes him so dangerous, not allowing batsmen to drive or to defend back with any great ease.

Brad Haddin provided Australia with some momentum but just when he was looking dangerous, he went. Michael Clarke was undone in a manner in which he has sent back so many batsmen – a smooth direct hit from cover running him out. Ricky Ponting scratchily tried to soldier on as Pakistan giving him plenty of pulls. It wasn’t convincing and it didn’t last, as Shahid Afridi got one to go across him; now Pakistan were on top.

Cameron White initially looked every inch a man averaging 60 in the series when he came in. But as the heat picked up and Saeed Ajmal came in, he had to fight. The doosra wasn’t picked but he didn’t get out to it and there were plenty of singles to keep things moving.

Ajmal’s spell through the middle overs was crucial; only two boundaries came between overs 22 and 36, but only one wicket fell. That was White, frustrated despite having sneaked into the 40s. It should’ve been Pakistan’s innings from there, but Hussey and Hauritz had other ideas.

The chase was never on. Pakistan have long been renowned for producing fast bowlers, but that assembly line is no match for Australia. They have been without Brett Lee for a while, Ben Hilfenhaus is also injured and they chose to rest both Mitchell Johnson and Doug Bollinger for this game. Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle were their third new-ball pairing of the series and they’ve hardly missed anyone progressing towards, potentially, a whitewash.

Harris bustled in Adelaide a few two nights ago and coolly picked up a maiden five-for and he did much the same here. He bowled at the brisk pace all Australian pacemen seem to have, in the mid-140s kmph, and curved the ball considerably away from the batsmen. Salman Butt was fed a few coming in, before the inevitable one angled across him got the edge. Younis Khan has had time off from the game but his form seems no closer to coming back to him and he was soon gone, fishing uncertainly at another outswinger.

Siddle was more erratic but carried with him the menace he has done through a luckless summer. If his two wickets were gifts, no one has deserved them more. Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam steadied the ship, as they did in Adelaide, and Afridi swung carelessly, but Harris bulldozed his way through, returning for a double-wicket maiden to essentially finish things off.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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