BRISBANE: Matthew Wade hit a thrilling last-ball century to set up a 92-run victory for Australia over Pakistan in the first one-day international at the Gabba on Friday.
Wicketkeeper Wade boosted Australia to 268 for nine off their 50 overs after the batting top order had slumped to 78 for five.
Seamer James Faulkner then took four wickets for 32 to help Australia dismiss Pakistan for 176 off 42.4 overs.
Pakistan were well placed with Australia five down in the 17th over before Wade and Glenn Maxwell (60) put on 82 runs for the sixth wicket to push on.
The tourists could not put any pressure on the Australians in their innings with skipper Azhar Ali injuring a hamstring and Babar Azam topscoring with 33.
Mohammad Amir struck early with the key wickets of adventurous opener David Warner and skipper Steve Smith with successive balls to have Australian rocking at 13 for two in the fifth over.
“It was challenging at the top, it was swinging and seaming around,” man-of-the-match Wade said.
“Maxi (Maxwell) took the pressure off me, and I was just looking to get him on strike. I was absolutely cooked (by the last over).
Wade, who has been under pressure to score runs after a lean spell, hit seven fours and two sixes in his knock for his first ODI century.
Maxwell was at his quirky best with reverse sweeps and improvised stroke-making in his 60 off 56 balls with seven boundaries before he was out to a false shot.
Maxwell was dismissed in the 31st over with Australia at 160 for six when he attempted to flick Hasan Ali over mid-wicket only to hit the ball with the high part of his bat and dolly an easy catch to Mohammad Hafeez.
Pakistan soon struck trouble in their innings losing the free-scoring Sharjeel Khan for 18 off 22 balls, falling to Faulkner.
Skipper Azhar Ali injured a hamstring and retired hurt only to return in pain and try and help his side late innings before he became another Faulkner victim for 24.
“It’s a bit sore, but hopefully it will recover soon,” Azhar said.
“The physio will have a better look and see how far I can get. Hopefully I can take part in the next game.”
Babar Azam, batting at No.4, topscored with 33 off 46 balls before he edged to Steve Smith at slip off Pat Cummins.
“We thought from five down for 78 we can get them out early, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” Azhar said.
Smith said Australia paid for being in too much of a hurry at the top of their innings.
“It was a pretty average start. We were in a bit of a hurry, to be fair,” Smith said.
“I thought Matthew Wade played an exceptional innings. 270 was around par, it was a bit of a slow wicket.
“We bat all the way down. Mitchell Starc is batting at No. 10 at the moment. We’ve got a long order.
The second match in the five-ODI series will be played in Melbourne on Sunday. -AFP
Story first published: 13th January 2017