Haris Sohail’s ton in vain as Australia complete clean sweep

Once more, it was Pakistan who had the centurion, while Australia walked away with the achievement. Haris Sohail’s career-best score of 130 has gone in vain as Australia secured what was in the end a pretty comfortable 20-run win, their eighth on the bounce. It was build by the batsmen, the top 4 all registering half-centuries as Australia exploited Pakistan’s sloppy fielding and uninspired bowling performance to plunder 327, the greatest total of the series.

Goals above 300 have only ever been chased effectively once in 26 times, and despite Pakistan’s valiant efforts, they would not be adding to that statistic today. From the time that Haris was ignored, the result appeared inevitable, with Pakistan eventually finishing up on 307.

With Umar Akmal, Haris put on an additional century stand; this one tallied 102. Umar shown a maturity that has been absent from his game for a lot of his career, rotating the strike and finding the odd boundary when the chance permitted. Haris appeared to be playing on another pitch altogether, so guaranteed was his footwork and so extravagantly confident his strokes.

Despite their pluck, however, it never appeared sustainable, and the fact Pakistan have a long tail must have performed heavy on the minds of the pair. Ultimately, Umar fell in predictable fashion, his persistence finally deserting him. With the required rate contacting nine, he charged Nathan Lyon, who was skilled enough to drop the ball short. Nowhere near the pitch, he went for the heave anyhow, delivering it more up than away. Jason Behrendorff at long-on actually had to charge in from the boundary to finalized the catch, and the clean sweep was looking ever more guaranteed.

Four balls later, Haris directed one from Kane Richardson directly into backward point’s hands, and from thereon it was just Imad Wasim thwacking a few to try and make it as tight as possible. It was an entertaining cameo, Pakistan’s stand-in captain scoring a breezy 34-ball 50 to keep Australia honest right to the end. But with support dwindling from the other side, the percentages were always in Australia’s favour, and all Pakistan could control was the consolation of their largest total of the series.

As has been a reliable pattern over the last four games, the tone of the game was set by Australia’s openers, a 134-run stand between Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja paving the way for the big total.

Pakistan gotten the toss for the fourth time in five games, and viewing how close they had come earlier, Imad opted to field again. To restrict Australia, however, they would require early wickets, and with the form both Finch and Khawaja are in, that was no simple feat.

Pakistan’s lackadaisical fielding attempts didn’t exactly help create pressure, and the incoming Mohammad Abbas – brought in to regain the control Mohammad Hasnain had lacked – had the opposite effect. Once Khawaja got him away for a couple of boundaries in the fifth over, Australia were away, and Finch’s lofted six off Abbas’ following over indicated their fearlessness against Pakistan’s bowling attack.

There was still time for a four and a six off Haris before Junaid Khan finally knocked back his off stump for a barnstorming 70 off 33. With ball in hand, he would go back figures of 1-45, to finish far and away the standout player of the match. Pakistan may step away from this series with a few positives; they will wish they were walking away with a minumum of one win too.

حرمین رضا

حرمین رضا اردو خبر میں پاکستان میں مقیم مصنف اور سابق ایڈیٹر ہیں۔