Lahore: Pakistan won its first one-day international series against Australia in 20 years after a nine-wicket romp on Saturday.
The home side clinched the series 2-1 after a depleted Australia was bowled out for 210 in 41.5 overs, and the chase ended on 214-1 in 37.5 overs.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam made his second successive century in an unbeaten 105 and Imam-ul-Haq continued his dream run of form with an unbeaten 89.
Australia posted 300-plus scores in the last two ODIs but crashed against the Pakistan pace. Haris Rauf (3-39) and Shaheen Afridi (2-40) jolted the top order and young fast bowler Mohammad Wasim polished off the lower order to take 3-40.
Australia, without leading players, surprisingly won the first game in which an Imam century went in vain. But Babar and Imam combined brilliantly in the next two games, both scoring centuries on Thursday, then combining for an unbeaten 190 on Saturday.
``When you lose the first game, you need confidence, and credit goes to the players for stepping up their game in the last two matches,’’ Babar said.
``Once Shaheen and Haris took those early wickets, it made things easy for us and put the opposition under pressure.’’
The series victory pushed Pakistan to eighth place in the Super League from which the top seven teams will directly qualify for next year’s Cricket World Cup in India. Australia was fourth.
Babar and Imam joined in the fourth over after Nathan Ellis found Fakhar Zaman’s leading edge on 17 with an off-cutter and Marnus Labuschagne took a simple catch at mid-off.
Both batters dominated the seven-man Australian attack, especially Babar, who hit 12 boundaries in his 115-ball knock.
Imam took his runs tally to 298 in the series during yet another superb 100-ball knock, hitting six fours and a six.
Earlier, after being put in to bat, Australia couldn’t recover from losing two wickets before scoring a run. Afridi clean bowled Travis Head off the first ball to a low full toss, and Haris trapped Aaron Finch for a second straight suck.
When Haris found the outside edge of Labuschagne’s bat, Australia was 3-6 inside the first six overs.
Alex Carey (55) and Cameron Green (34) rebuilt the innings with an 81-run stand. But Green was bowled by Mohammad Wasim, and in the next over Carey holed out to Fakhar in Afridi’s return spell.
Sean Abbott hit a brisk 49 off 40 balls with six fours and a six which lifted Australia’s total past 200. He was the last man out.
``When you go three down in the first few overs, it’s always going to be hard to get a total,’’ Finch said. ``We knew that if we got 200, you’re probably never going to win the game unless everything goes perfectly for you with the ball.’’
Australia won the test series 1-0, and will round off its first tour to Pakistan since 1998 with a one-off Twenty20 on Tuesday.