3rd ODI: Australia beat Pakistan by 27 runs

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricgen3.jpg' class='caption'> Stand-in Australia captain Michael Clarke led by example with a fine all-round display as his side defeated Pakistan by 27 runs in the third ODI.

Updated: April 28, 2009 06:31 IST
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Abu Dhabi:

Stand-in Australia captain Michael Clarke led by example with a fine all-round display as his side defeated Pakistan by 27 runs in the third One-Day International at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.

Clarke's half-century and three wickets helped Australia take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Clarke, who was appointed captain after the selectors decided to rest Ricky Ponting, first helped Australia put up a decent target of 199 with a fighting 66 off 93 balls, well assisted by Callum Ferguson (41). He then bowled his off-spinners to return with figures of 3-15 from six overs as Pakistan collapsed from 95 without loss to 171 all out.

His fellow off-spinner Nathan Hauritz took 2-25 in his ten overs.

Pakistan made heavy weather of their run chase with four overs of madness undoing all the good effort put in by the openers Salman Butt (48) and Ahmed Shehzad (40). The pair put on 95 runs for the first wicket when Hauritz struck twice in as many deliveries to trigger the slide.

Butt edged one to Clarke in the slips and Younis Khan played a chip shot to Andrew Symonds for a golden duck.

Misbah-ul-Haq started with a six but he perished going for another ambitious one to Clarke. His wicket rattled Shehzad, who had crossed and was bowled the next delivery having failed to see the arm ball.

The flamboyant Shahid Afridi survived the second hat-trick ball of the innings, but didn't last much longer and top edged a catch to David Hussey, also going for a big one to the same bowler.

The tail failed to support Shoaib Malik, who hung on for a fighting knock of 30 from 56 balls, but when he was run out, his team was still 28 runs short.

Earlier, Pakistan's spinners again proved effective, restricting Australia to 198 for seven. Although pace bowler Umar Gul claimed three wickets, legspinner Shahid Afridi took 2-31 and offspinner Shoaib Malik 1-22 to tie down the Australians in the middle overs.

After Clarke won the toss and elected to bat, Australia's openers James Hopes and Brad Haddin put on 28 in 33 balls before the loss of two quick wickets slowed the run rate.

Hopes tried to steal a single but was run out by Pakistan captain Younis Khan in the sixth over. Four balls later, Shane Watson played a delivery from Gul onto his stumps and Australia was 28-2.

Haddin then got bogged down and after his departure, Symonds too was dismissed cheaply. The all-rounder who hit a half-century and took two wickets in the last game to help Australia level the series, was trapped leg-before-wicket on 7 to Afridi.

Australia's strategy to negotiate the spinners in the middle overs and then attack failed when Afridi caught and bowled Clarke in the 39th over just after he took the batting powerplay.

But ultimately, Clarke's 53-run partnership with Ferguson for the fifth wicket proved crucial in the low-scoring match.

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