Ryan Harris grabs five as Australia take series
Australia 6 for 286 (Marsh 83, Clarke 80, Hussey 49) beat Pakistan 246 (Umar Akmal 59, Harris 5-43, McKay 3-48) by 40 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In his second one-day international, Ryan Harris kept a cool head under pressure to deliver Australia a 40-run victory and an unassailable 3-0 series lead after Shahid Afridi lit up a match that had threatened to fizzle out. Workmanlike half-centuries from Shaun Marsh and Michael Clarke, and a late Michael Hussey blitz, set up Australia's 6 for 286 before Harris grabbed 5 for 43 to confirm Australia's win.
It was a remarkable effort from Harris, who finished up as the Man of the Match having only been called into the squad late on match eve as cover for Peter Siddle, who had a sore back. He began with a wicket in his first over and returned with three in two overs during the batting Powerplay when Afridi and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were giving Pakistan hope of a famous fightback.
They had taken 37 from the first three overs of the field restrictions. Harris was introduced with 65 needed from 42 balls and promptly yorked Afridi, who had raced to 40 from 29 balls, and two balls later had Umar Gul caught skying for a duck. The fifth for Harris came in his next over when Rana (33) was caught at midwicket and Nathan Hauritz finished things off in the 48th over with Mohammad Asif caught top-edging.
That wrapped up the match and the series and consigned the two matches in Perth over the next week to dead-rubber status, which will test the patience of Australian fans for ODIs in a summer featuring ten of them. It would not have escaped Cricket Australia's notice that the crowd of 15,521 was smaller than the attendance for the domestic Twenty20 final at the same venue on Saturday, when 17,722 turned up to the Adelaide Oval.
There were late onslaughts in both innings and the hint of a surprise comeback, but overall the manner of Australia's win won't do a lot for the cause of the 50-over game. Professional though they were, from the start of the 20th over to the beginning of the 44th Australia struck only four boundaries and added 114 runs. It's precisely these middle overs that the Twenty20 format eliminates.
Clarke's first four didn't come until he had 56 runs on the board as he gladly pushed singles and twos to the defensive field. Despite the lack of pizzazz, it was the sort of innings his team was hoping for and he built three important partnerships, 85 runs with Marsh, 55 with Cameron White and 80 with Hussey.
The fun came in the last ten overs when, led by Clarke and Hussey, Australia added 95, helped by sloppy work from Pakistan, who had earlier missed run-outs and dropped Clarke on 32. The 48th over, bowled by Gul, featured three consecutive no-balls - an overstep, a full toss above waist height, and a delivery with too many fielders outside the circle. The over took nine balls and cost 23 runs.
Clarke (80) and Hussey, who hit 49 from 28 balls, both fell to Gul in the 50th over but by then they'd done their job. The platform had been built by Marsh and Shane Watson, who combine for a 63-run opening stand that ended when Watson was bowled trying to slog a wonderful offcutter from Asif.
Marsh went on to pass fifty for the seventh time in one-day internationals and looked set for his second hundred when he was stumped for 83, lured at a wide, spinning ball from Saeed Ajmal. Ajmal was the hardest of Pakistan's bowlers to get away, with 1 for 41 from his ten overs, but they'd dropped their other spinner Shoaib Malik and Australia handled the fast men with ease.
It wasn't quite the same for Pakistan, even though Australia's three main fast seamers entered the game with a combined 14 matches of experience. Harris kicked things off with Kamran Akmal lbw for 1 in the second over in a decision that, while tight and probably striking him a fraction outside off, was not a howler from Asoka de Silva.
His next call was. Salman Butt loomed as the man most likely to anchor Pakistan's innings and had 34 when he was sent packing by de Silva, who upheld Clint McKay's appeal despite the ball pitching a long way outside leg stump and sailing well over the top of the bails, according to Hawkeye's prediction.
There was no doubt about the second of McKay's three wickets. Younis Khan, who had taken 20 balls to get off the mark, was surprised by a sharp rising bouncer that took the top edge and was snaffled by Haddin. Mohammad Yousuf followed when he chopped on to Watson and it took an 85-run stand from Umar Akmal (59) and Fawad Alam (33) to give Pakistan a sniff.
Afridi and Rana gave them more than that before Harris spoilt their fun. It will be a brave selection panel to leave Harris, a cover player in Adelaide, on the sidelines for the next two games.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo