Professional Australians registered four-wicket victory against Pakistan in the first one-day international of the three-match series to go one up at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on wee hours on Wednesday.

Australia one-day skipper Clarke and T20 captain George Bailey played vital role in their team’s victory by building some valuable partnerships. Skipper Clarke controlled the game in the first half of the match after double strike from Saeed Ajmal who sent Hussey brothers back to pavilion in his first and third over of the game respectively. First, Saeed got Mike Hussey LBW on his first ball of the spell and then later removed David Hussey that jolted the Australian camp. But Clarke and George Bailey steadied Australian innings and put team back on track.

After ouster of Clarke at his personal score 66, Bailey took the charge of the game with Glenn Maxwell (38) and added valuable 63 runs for the sixth-wicket stand that helped Australia achieve the target comfortably. When Maxwell played a reverse sweep and was given out, at that stage, it looked that Pakistan would come back but Bailey spoiled Pakistan hopes and finished the match in favour of Australia. Misbah said that when Pakistan got Clarke they tried everything, kept attacking fielding but credit must be given to the Aussies. The way Bailey and Maxwell batted, it showed maturity even though they were playing their third and fourth matches. Pakistan looked one bowler short as they relied on spinners but professional Australians made them struggle. Pakistani spinners shared six wickets among them with three wickets went to Saeed Ajmal, two to Hafeez and one came in Afridi’s way. Sohail Tanvir and Aizaz Cheema looked tired due to heat and could not deliver for their team and seemed struggling throughout the game.

Earlier, Misbahul Haq’s batting first decision backfired as Australian pacers destroyed Pakistan batting line-up restricting them to 198 all out in 45.1 overs.

Australia pacers Starc, Pattinson, Christian and Johnson shared 10 wickets among them. Starc was the pick of the pack with his career-best bowling and grabbed first five-wicket haul for Australia in his first appearance against Pakistan which earned him man of the match award. Pattinson got three wickets while Johnson and Christian took one wicket each. Pakistan were well on way to score over 200 plus runs and placed nicely at 159-4 with Asad Shafiq (56) and Umar Akmal (52) at the crease but lost three wickets in the batting power-play for just 16 runs and were all out for 198 in 45.1 overs. No Pakistani batsmen tried to stay at the crease except Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal. Kamran Akmal failed miserably in his comeback match. Asad Shafiq (56), Misbah-ul-Haq (26), Umar Akmal (52) and Nasir Jamshaid (23) could reach the double figures. Misbah reportedly blamed batting for this defeat.  After the match, Starc said that Australia stuck to their plans during their hard-fought win over Pakistan, negotiating rival spinners very well.

Starc said Australia were ready to combat Pakistani spinners and had a plan against them and that worked. "We knew it was going to be difficult coming here with the spinners. They know the conditions well and use it to their advantage. We knew if we took it right to the end with that total to chase, we had a good chance," Starc added.  "The three spinners, we knew were going to be their key bowlers. With our team, we had a majority of quick bowlers. We just stuck to our plans really well on the day," said Starc. The lanky pacer hoped Australia would continue to negotiate spinners wisely in the remaining matches of series.

It felt that Australians will make Pakistani struggle in the remaining matches of the series and if Pakistan did not field right team in the remaining matches, they will be at receiving end.  Pakistan should drop Azhar Ali, Sohail Tanvir and Aizaz Cheema for the next game and bring in Shoaib Malik, Junaid Khan and Anwar Ali if they want to remain in contention otherwise it will be too late for them to pull win to remain in contention. Kamran and Hafeez should open the innings and Nasir Jamshaid should be sent at one down position followed by Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Misbahul Haq, Shahid Afridi and tailenders if they want to come back in the series. Tour selection committee should realise its duties and avoid liking and disliking of any individual and select the team for Pakistan to come back in the series.