Australia look to extend successful home summer in low-key game
January 26, 2017
Start time 1350 local (0320 GMT)
The series is decided, and this Adelaide Oval one-day international thus becomes a low-pressure celebration for Steven Smith's men on the national holiday - Australia Day. Bigger tasks lie ahead in the coming weeks, for eight members of this ODI squad are part of the group heading to India for a four-Test tour that starts in late February. But for now they will hope to finish off the home summer with another win, to take the series against Pakistan 4-1 after also sweeping them in the Test series. True, it is not Australia's last home match of the summer - three T20s against Sri Lanka will be held in mid-February - but it is the last featuring anything like a full-strength XI. Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc are just a few of the men who would normally be certain starters in the T20 side, but who will instead be in India ahead of the Tests.
Pakistan, meanwhile, have little to play for except pride. Having lost the Tests 0-3, and now the one-day series - albeit they won the second match in Melbourne - they will want to head home with a consolation victory to make the series score look a little closer. But to do so they will need not only bigger scores from their batsmen, but a vastly improved fielding effort. Their catalogue of fumbles, dropped catches and overthrows in the fourth match in Sydney would have been comedic had it not cost them the series. It means plenty of work for the fielding coach Steve Rixon ahead of Pakistan's next international series, in March-April against West Indies.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Usman Khawaja is the one member of Australia's top order who has failed to manage a half-century in this series, and he will be keen for a big score in Adelaide to secure his position at the top of the one-day order. Khawaja is heading to Dubai early for Australia's training camp ahead of the Test tour of India, and he is not therefore part of the Chappell-Hadlee squad heading to New Zealand for next week's series. That means Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh will have the chance to make their cases for a permanent place at the top of the ODI order in Khawaja's absence.
Sharjeel Khan's scores have been building throughout this series: 18, 29, 50, 74. And he scores at such a rate that if he maintains his momentum through a long innings, it could be enough to set Pakistan on the path to victory. In Sydney, he smashed his 74 off 47 deliveries, but could not maintain it sufficiently to turn it into a big hundred as David Warner had for Australia earlier in the day. And while Sharjeel's batting can turn a match, his fielding had an unfortunately high impact at the SCG, where he dropped two important catches.
Billy Stanlake has not travelled to Adelaide and instead will fly to New Zealand with Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh a day ahead of the rest of the Chappell-Hadlee squad. That means Australia are choosing from a squad of 13, and an unchanged XI from their win in Sydney is feasible.
Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Usman Khawaja, 3 Steven Smith (capt), 4 Peter Handscomb, 5 Travis Head, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
Having lost the series, Pakistan might take the opportunity to make changes. Rahat Ali has not yet appeared in this series, while Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Nawaz have sat out since playing the first match. Or they might choose the same XI. Junaid Khan took 0 for 82 in the previous game, but would be unlucky to be axed on the basis of those figures, given two catches were dropped off his bowling.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Azhar Ali (capt), 2 Sharjeel Khan, 3 Babar Azam, 4 Mohammad Hafeez, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 8 Imad Wasim/Mohammad Nawaz, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Junaid Khan/Wahab Riaz/Rahat Ali.
Pitch and conditions
The Adelaide Oval pitch is always good for batting. The forecast for Thursday is for a sunny day with a top temperature of 30 degrees Celsius.
Stats and trivia
- Australia have not played an ODI at Adelaide Oval since the 2015 World Cup match that featured a memorably feisty Wahab Riaz spell against Shane Watson
- Adelaide Oval is comfortably Australia's worst home ODI venue in recent times: in the past six years, they have played seven ODIs there and won only three
- Glenn Maxwell needs 76 runs to reach 2000 in ODIs. No batsman currently above the 2000-run mark has a strike-rate as high as Maxwell's 125.91
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale