Aaron Finch on Sunday struck his second century in as many games to lead Australia to another thumping eight-wicket victory over a hapless Pakistan in the second one-day international in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
The Australia captain smashed a 143-ball 153 not out for his 13th one-day international century — also his highest one-day score — to anchor Australia’s comfortable chase of a 285-run target in 47.5 overs.
Finch, who scored 116 in Australia’s eight-wicket win in the first game at the same venue on Friday last week, put on a solid 209-run opening stand with Usman Khawaja, who made a 109-ball 88 to give Australia a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Finch struck six sixes and 11 fours in a dominating innings, improving on his previous highest one-day score of 148 against Scotland in Edinburgh in 2013.
The victory came in the 100th one-day international match between the two nations.
Finch admitted the start was tough.
“On a wicket like that, you can’t afford to take it too deep with new batters,” Finch said. “When you come in, it’s tough to score quickly at first. I just wanted to get through Imad [Wasim]. It’s hard to take a risk off him. I just hung in there as long as I could. Usman has been in good form and he’s getting big runs at an important time. Things are going quite well at the moment, but there are always things to improve.”
Pakistan stand-in captain Shoaib Malik rued the lack of early wickets.
“To be honest, I think early strikes in our bowling is what we are lacking,” Malik said. “Overall, there are positives as we fought until the last ball.”
S AFRICA V SRI LANKA
A tour that started with an unexpected Test series triumph ended with a second successive limited overs series humiliation for Sri Lanka when South Africa on Sunday won the third and final Twenty20 international.
South Africa made a daunting 198-2 in their innings and Sri Lanka were beaten by 45 runs according to the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method when they were bowled out for 137 as they chased a reduced target of 183 in 17 overs following a rain delay at the Wanderers Stadium.
It completed a 3-0 series sweep for South Africa, who also won the one-day series 5-0.
“In home conditions, South Africa are very tough,” Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga said.
Malinga said his side’s inability to make early bowling breakthroughs, together with their own poor top-order batting, had been the main reason for their defeats.
“Going forward we realize what we need to do,” he said.
South Africa’s match-winner was all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius, who took advantage of a promotion in the batting order with a power-packed innings of 77 not out off 42 balls.
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