Australia seal ODI series win over Pakistan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Michael Clarke's and Shane Watson's unbroken 197-run partnership gave Australia an eight-wicket win over Pakistan and the ODI series victory on Friday.

Updated: May 02, 2009 17:49 IST
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Abu Dhabi:

Michael Clarke's and Shane Watson's unbroken 197-run partnership gave Australia an eight-wicket win over Pakistan and the one-day international series victory on Friday.

Australia lead the five-match series 3-1 with the last game on Sunday.

Clarke scored 100 from 122 balls and Watson 85 from 140 after Australia was 3-2 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in pursuit of Pakistan's total of 197, in which Doug Bollinger took five wickets in only his second ODI.

Bollinger snared 5-35 as Pakistan was bowled for its third total of less than 200 in its past four innings. The highest total so far by either team has been 208 by Australia when it chased down Pakistan's target in the second game at Dubai.

Australia's reply on Friday was shaky when Shoaib Akhtar had Brad Haddin caught behind on the second ball of the innings and then trapped debutant Marcus North lbw inside three overs.

However, Pakistan's joy was short-lived. While Watson took a long time to find his groove, Clarke led by example.

Clarke, the stand-in captain with Ricky Ponting rested for the series, punished Sohail Tanvir with boundaries flicked off the pads, down the ground, through midoff and cut away square _ all during the first powerplay.

Watson tried to match Clarke's fluent strokeplay but put on a contrasting display. It was only after the 35th over when Australia was past the 150-run mark that Watson pulled off some big shots, bringing up his 50 in 100 balls with a six. Clarke took 66 balls to reach his half-century.

"The century was not playing on my mind," Clarke said. "It was incidental and I was least concerned about it.

"The most important thing for me was to win the series and I am happy that my bowlers did well again."

Earlier, Ahmed Shehzad topscored for Pakistan with 43, while Shahid Afridi hit 40 off 40 balls and Misbah-ul-Haq 34 from 75 deliveries after Pakistan captain Younis Khan won the toss and elected to bat.

Salman Butt, who scored 57 and 48 in the previous two games, was dismissed by Bollinger on the third ball of the innings, edging to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

"Bolly hasn't got many chances but when he did, he made the most of it and grabbed it with both hands," Clarke said.

Pakistan was 12-2 in the fourth over when Younis was bowled for 7 by Nathan Bracken, who finished with 2-31. It could have been 12-3, but Misbah survived a caught-behind appeal.

Shehzad and Misbah put on 62 until the latter was trapped lbw after going for a slog sweep off part-time spinner Michael Clarke in the 25th over.

Shoaib Malik played positively to improve the scoring rate but Shehzad holed out to Callum Ferguson at long on in the 32nd over, putting Pakistan on the backfoot again.

Bollinger returned and had Malik out lbw to a delivery that nipped back, and Afridi top-edged a pull shot to North at midon, as Pakistan lost its last three wickets for seven runs.

Khan refused to dwell on the team selection after Umar Gul, who took three wickets in the last game, was dropped for Akhtar.

"Winning and losing is part of the game. It was the batsmen who disappointed us again," Khan said. "Clarke and Watson had a fantastic partnership and that is what we have been missing.

"It was our home series but we did not utilize the conditions well. We will try our best for the next game and play for our pride."

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