Ben McDermott’s maiden One-Day International century and quickfire cameos from other batters powered Australia to 348 in the second game in Lahore. Australia’s batsmen were clinical on a flat wicket and made the most of some ordinary bowling from the hosts to play their shots, stitch stands and pile on the runs on Thursday (March 31).
Pakistan got off to the best of starts when Aaron Finch was trapped leg-before off the first delivery of the match by Shaheen Afridi with an inswinger. Centurion Travis Head from the first match got together with McDermott to put on a batting masterclass. The pair took the attack back to Pakistan’s bowlers and attacked anything with width and punished the erring in the lengths. The pair went on to not just stabilise, but turn the game around as Australia’s scoring rate didn’t recede and fall below 6. Both went on to bring up their respective fifties adding 162 in 144 balls for the second wicket.
Pakistan pulled things back a tad bit between overs 20-25, as Australia scored just 5 runs in 18 balls as Head fell just shy of another deserved century. After two tight overs, he top-edged a slog-sweep to Afridi as the stand broke. Pakistan would’ve hoped to make a comeback into the game with quick wickets, but McDermott carried on unperturbed with Marnus Labuschagne. Iftikhar Ahmed continued to bowl into the McDermott’s arc on a flat pitch and was punished, taken for 38 runs in the four overs he bowled on the night.
Wasim Jr and Haris Rauf were impressive, with the pitch not the easiest to bowl on, but they did limit the scoring rate to some extent, going under six an over. Zahid Mehmood was inconsistent with his lengths, bowling too many loose deliveries conceding 71 in his 10 as Labuschagne and McDermott piled on the runs for a 74-run stand in 63 balls. McDermott brought up his maiden ODI century with a booming six over long-on, after having scored a 55 in the first ODI. He fell two overs later to a soft dismissal picking out midwicket for 104 off 108 after a knock that comprised 10 fours and four sixes.
Labuschagne scored a brisk fifty himself before Pakistan struck back with quick wickets. While Labuschagne fell for 59 off 49, Alex Carey and Cameron Green fell within the next 5 overs as a 350 finish was looking a tad tough. However, an aggressive finish from Marcus Stoinis (49 off 33) and Sean Abbott (28 off 16) with the pair scoring 25 off over 48 and 49 had Australia finish on a high. The pair added 42 off 23 for the seventh wicket before Shaheen Afridi dismissed both in the final over to finish with 4-63.
Brief scores: Australia 348/8 in 50 overs (Travis Head 89, Ben McDermott 104, Marnus Labuschagne 59, Marcus Stoinis 49, Sean Abbott 28; Shaheen Afridi 4-63, Mohammad Wasim Jr 2-56) vs Pakistan.