Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AUSTRALIA VS PAKISTAN 1st ODI:Afridi helps Pakistan draw first blood



Shahid Afridi exposed Australia's frailties against spin to help Pakistan rout their opponents for 168 in the first day-night international at the Dubai Stadium here on Wednesday.Leg-spinner Afridi took a career-best 6-38 and was ably supported by off-spinner Saeed Ajmal (2-19) as the duo triggered a middle-order collapse after Australia won the toss and elected to bat.Australia were sailing merrily at 95-1 in the 19th over before losing eight wickets for 27 runs as their batsmen crumbled on the newly built Dubai Stadium pitch to the bowling attack of Afridi and Ajmal.James Hopes, who top-scored with 48 not out, added 46 for the last wicket -- a record against Pakistan in one-dayers -- with Ben Hilfenhaus (four) to give some respectability to the total.Australia had raced to 41 as openers Shaun Marsh (16) and Brad Haddin easily negotiated the pace of Gul and Shoaib Akhtar before Marsh was run out.Shane Watson (40) helped Haddin (40) add 54 for the second wicket but once the spinners came, wickets fell like nine pins.Australia lost Haddin and Watson -- both falling to Afridi in quick succession -- and the innings derailed.Afridi broke the stand when he bowled Haddin in his fourth over and then never looked back.Haddin hit three fours and a six off 52-balls.Watson looked dangerous during his 47-ball knock and hit two boundaries and a six off Afridi before the leg-spinner bowled him with a sharp one that spun across the bat.

In between Ajmal had Australian captain Michael Clarke caught behind for four.Andrew Symonds, who returned to the squad after playing his last one-day in July last year, became Afridi's third wicket with a googly which caught the edge and was smartly snapped up by wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal.Symonds made just two.Afridi further dealt three blows by dismissing Callum Ferguson (two), Nathan Bracken (one) and Stuart Clarke (two) to improve his previous best one-day figures of 5-11 against Kenya at Birmingham in 2004.Hopes hit five fours and a six during his 46-ball knock.

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