Pakistan v Australia, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi August 31, 2012

Jamshed and Ajmal help Pakistan level series


Pakistan 249 for 3 (Jamshed 97, Azhar 59*) beat Australia 248 for 9 (M Hussey 61, Ajmal 4-32, Junaid 3-52) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Nasir Jamshed batted across two months to deliver Pakistan a series-levelling victory in Abu Dhabi, where the extreme humidity left Australia's players dripping, and in some cases dropping, by the time the match finally finished at 2.27am local time. Despite being confounded by Saeed Ajmal again, Australia's batsmen posted a reasonable total of 248 for 9, but Jamshed and Azhar Ali helped Pakistan secure a seven-wicket win that meant the series would be decided in the final match.

Jamshed fell just short of a century, lobbing a catch to mid-off when he had 97 and Pakistan needed a further 82 runs, but Azhar and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq ensured Jamshed's fine work was not wasted. Facing Mitchell Johnson after 2am should be a daunting prospect but the humidity appeared to sap Australia's bowlers of all their energy - at one point Mitchell Starc hunched over and left the field exhausted during his over - and Azhar and Misbah were able to cruise to the target with 38 balls to spare.

Azhar finished unbeaten on 59 and Misbah on 35 and for them as well as the Australians, this match, which started at 6pm on August 31 and ended well into September 1, was a feat of endurance. The outfield was so dewy that the Australians all carried large towels in the back of their trousers as if they were off to a sauna, but in fact they were already in one. The bowlers struggled to grip the wet balls and Michael Clarke was left wondering why on earth he chose to bat first.

But none of that can take away from the performance of Jamshed, who batted in a helmet for 98 balls in those same conditions, and scored at a run a ball. Jamshed found runs all around the ground, forcing off the back foot through the off side, finding the gaps through - or over - the leg-side fieldsman, and later in his innings he sought to drive in the air down the ground.

His half-century came up off 59 balls and with solid support first from Mohammad Hafeez and then from Azhar, it gave Pakistan precisely the start they needed. The Australians thought they had Jamshed in the second over of the innings when he was adjudged lbw to James Pattinson, but the batsman asked for a review and replays showed the ball had pitched outside leg stump.

The opening stand ended at 66 when Hafeez pulled a short ball from Daniel Christian straight to Michael Hussey at deep midwicket for 23. The shot was timed sweetly but didn't have the elevation Hafeez wanted, though a pair of similar pulls from Jamshed off Christian did have the height and cleared the boundary.

Eventually it was Johnson who got rid of Jamshed and Pattinson picked up a wicket when he bowled Asad Shafiq for 9, but Pakistan were never in serious danger after the strong start from the openers. At the halfway point of the match the target looked like it would be a real challenge, and the Australians had Michael Hussey to thank for getting them to 248 as Ajmal again caused problems throughout the top and middle order.

Pakistan did not help themselves in the field, dropping catches and missing run outs, and it could have been worse had the Australians capitalised more on the five free hits given up due to no-balls from Sohail Tanvir. It was left largely to Ajmal to keep Australia in check and he was not only dangerous but also economical, slowing the scoring rate towards the end after removing Hussey for 61 and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell for 28.

Ajmal finished with 4 for 32 after he picked up both Hussey and Maxwell in the same over, Hussey bowled attempting a tired slog and Maxwell advancing down the pitch, missing the doosra and finding himself stumped by a matter of metres. But Hussey and Maxwell had done their job, continuing the rebuild started by Hussey and George Bailey after the top order wobbled to 87 for 4.

Maxwell launched two consecutive sixes off Abdur Rehman, one a slog sweep and the other a drive over long-on, and that was followed by six more from the next delivery when Hussey pulled a short ball from Junaid Khan. As usual, Hussey was good at finding the gaps and rotating the strike, and he brought up his half-century from 59 balls.

Maxwell helped keep the scoreboard ticking over, although he should have been caught on 21 when he top-edged a slog sweep off an Ajmal doosra and was put down by Asad Shafiq running in from deep midwicket; the ball had sailed so high the batsmen were able to run two. Maxwell had come to the crease after Bailey departed for 39 from 46 balls when he pushed a catch back to the bowler Rehman.

But Bailey, through a calm 66-run stand with Hussey, had played a key role in Australia's recovery after the top order struggled against the spin of Ajmal and Hafeez. After the early loss of Matthew Wade, Michael Clarke and an unconvincing David Warner moved the score along to 74 for 1 before three quick wickets set back their progress.

Warner, who never looked comfortable and had taken 19 deliveries to get off the mark, was lbw playing back to Ajmal and looked almost relieved that his ordeal was over. Clarke followed soon after, lbw to Hafeez for 37 and David Hussey was lbw to Ajmal for a duck shortly afterwards.

It was a shaky period for the Australians, who had rebuilt after the early loss of Wade, who drove at a wide ball from Junaid and played on for 7, one ball after he was dropped by Umar Akmal at point. Junaid returned in the dying overs to pick up two late wickets and finished with 3 for 52, but this night belonged to Ajmal and Jamshed.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahmad on September 3, 2012, 6:27 GMT

    @muhammadHassan YOUR playing 11 are really good but Aizaz Cheema should not be in your playing 11

  • Galib on September 2, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    @biggus, you are right, they are dangerous because may be for their unpredictability and yes i must agree that Packer cricket(i hope you remember) and Imran khan's rise in 76/77 test brought pakistan into the lime light. And i vividly remember during that time in England were massacred by Australia by two fast bowlers Dennis Lillee and Bob Massie--I believe bob took 13 or 16 wickets in one test. by the way, what happened to him??? I also remember, India with the players Like Gavasker and Vishwanath(Two of my many favorite players) bowled out in the 2nd innings at lords for 42 runs(June 20-24, 1974--I believe). I was so devastated by the fact that my favorite players let that happen. Anyway, those are the memories of old times i will cherrish rest of my life. I am a Bangladeshi living in Virginia, USA for the last 32 Years but always follow Good cricket all around the world. I do'nt have a favorite team but love to see good cricket, little biased towards bangladesh, support the underdog

  • Imran on September 2, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I think kamran should be oppening with nasir. Hafeez might come no 3. and play malik down the oder at 7 with no place for azhar. my side would be. Nasir J- Kamran- Hafeez- Asad Safeeq- Umer akmal. Misbah- Malik- Rehman/afridi- Sohail tanvir- Ajmak- Junaid K.

  • Dummy4 on September 2, 2012, 11:37 GMT

    I wish indians could see this.. Pakistanis are actually sleeping lions... they wake up at times and do their job... such a strong & brave nation, PAKISTAN <3

  • Musa on September 2, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    ok wait whats happening here?? have pakistan lost the series??? have pakistan played poorly in the 2nd ODI?? no no pakistan won against australia damn thats cool. but i cant understand why pakistan fans are still quarreling over the issue of who shud be int he team and who shudnt be. comeon guys be a little logical as far as team wins dont think of changing it becoz whenver pakistan has done experiments they have started losing their way like they dd by makiing hafeez as captain of t20 and see their performance have dippped in t20 and odi both!! this is why experimentaion is not valid for pakistan team it maybe valid for other teams but pakistan team icnludes a lot of politics so the winning combination shud be allowed to go untill they start performing really badly!! changing a winning combination even when ur team is winning back to back series like pakistan was in 2011 can really dent the jel between the team !! so stop quarelling that who shud be in the team.

  • M on September 2, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Some people say that Afridi is in the category of "seniors who have lost their zeal". I disagree. Yes there are plenty of seniors like that in the squad, however Afridi still has the enthusiasm of a young cricketer. Moreover, his ODI bowling figures speak for themselves and his fielding is great.

  • Richard on September 2, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    @gyusuf6-Pakistan are ALWAYS dangerous mate, they are the 'Calypso Cricketers' of Asia, and are capable of anything. I saw their first test win in Australia, during the 3 test series of 76/77, when Imran came of age as a star, taking 10 wickets in the match, and I've enjoyed watching Pakistan play ever since. That 76/77 side was pretty formidable but still seemed to have trouble believing in themselves. The Sydney game seemed to change things, they'd beaten a strong Aussie side (by an innings, from memory) on their own turf and it seemed to break a mental barrier. Maybe I'm seeing things from an Aus-centric viewpoint but I saw that as the birth of Pakistan as a modern cricketing superpower.

  • Dummy4 on September 2, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    so much for keeping Ajmal wicketless, come on guys, lets win the last one.

  • Galib on September 2, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    @biggus, mate i agree with you. We all support our own country's cricket and we must respect that. Australia test team, Since mid ninetees have been the most dominant team until the last couple of years(although they are rebuilding and i'm sure they will be back on top very soon). I remember, in 1980's West Indians were the dominant ones and Pakistan were very close behind them. Although In 2000's India was a pretty good team but not as good as the west indians or Australians. Mostly due to weak bowling side. And they kept their Number One ranking for a while due to their world class batting performance.

  • Amjad on September 2, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    @WickyRoy.paklover: I see your point bro but a few things, if Afridi hadn't taken wickets against canada we would've lost that match, you do realize that right? If Afridi took wickets why didn't the others? They all had 10 overs each? Afridi took a broken team to WC SFinal had a successful tour of WI only to be informed through media reports that he's been sacked as captain though he was the first one to go to the media against Waqar but that was mostly politics and nothing to do with cricket so IMO there was no justification for Ijaz Butt's regime to sack him. Afridi the bowling captain is the best solution. Re U Akmal its my personal opinion that he cant improve his shot selection, Azhar's avg 46 with a strike rate of 66 but i'll take a player who can play us 50 overs rather than score quick and get out.

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