Head's heroics help Australia thump Pakistan in first ODI

Published March 29, 2022
Australia's players celebrate after winning the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP
Australia's players celebrate after winning the first one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP
Australia's Travis Head (C) celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first One-Day International cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP
Australia's Travis Head (C) celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the first One-Day International cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP
Pakistan won the toss and elected to field against an understrength Australia in the first one-day international on Tuesday. — Pakistan Cricket Board
Pakistan won the toss and elected to field against an understrength Australia in the first one-day international on Tuesday. — Pakistan Cricket Board

Travis Head capped a remarkable return to limited over cricket with a fiery century before taking two wickets to anchor Australia's thumping 88-run victory over Pakistan in the first day-night international in Lahore on Tuesday.

Head's 72-ball 101 guided Australia to a challenging 313-7 before the 28-year-old turned his arm over for 2-35 to bowl Pakistan out for 225 in 45.2 overs.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa also starred with the ball, taking 4-38 in ten probing overs.

The victory gives Australia a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, their tenth successive ODI win over Pakistan since January 2017.

Opener Imamul Haq hit a fighting 96-ball 103 while skipper Babar Azam made a 72-ball 57 but with the asking rate hovering around 9.5, Australia were never in doubt of victory.

Haq hit six boundaries and three sixes in his eighth One-Day International century but was bowled by paceman Nathan Ellis in the 39th over with 110 needed off 66 balls.

Haq added 96 with Azam for the second wicket after opener Fakhar Zaman fell for 18 and another 38 with Khushdil Shah (19) for the sixth wicket.

Azam, who hit six boundaries in his knock, became the second fastest batter to complete 4,000 ODI runs in 82 innings, one more than South African Hashim Amla's record.

Azam was trapped leg-before wicket by Mitchell Swepson in the 25th over before Head dismissed Saud Shakil (three) and Iftikhar Ahmed (three) to further jolt Pakistan.

Zampa finished with the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (ten), Hasan Ali (two), Mohammad Wasim (nought) and Khushdil.

Earlier, Head knocked his second ODI hundred and Ben McDermott hit a career-best 55 from 70 balls after Australia were sent in to bat by Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Head, playing his first ODI since November 2018, cracked 12 boundaries and three sixes and put on 110 for the opening wicket with skipper Aaron Finch who made 23.

Head took a single off spinner Iftikhar to reach three figures off 70 balls, the fastest ODI century by an Australian against Pakistan.

He beat David Warner's record from 78 balls in Adelaide in 2017.

With the score at 209-2 in the 33rd over, Pakistan pulled back with three wickets for just 21 runs in the space of 39 balls, dismissing McDermott, Marnus Labuschagne (25) and Alex Carey (four).

Cameron Green (40 not out), Marcus Stoinis (26) and Sean Abbott (14) helped Australia score 50 in the last five overs and get past the 300-mark.

Green hit three boundaries and a six in his 30-ball knock.

For Pakistan, pacer Haris Rauf took 2-44 and debutant leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood finished with 2-59.

Australia, already missing key players such as Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc for multiple reasons, were further depleted after spinner Ashton Agar tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.

The remaining two matches are on Thursday and Saturday, also in Lahore.

Lineups

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Haris Rauf, Zahid Mahmood.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Travis Head, Ben McDermott, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Sean Abbott, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson.

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