Steven Smith (left) and Travis Head celebrate Australia's win by 7 wickets © Getty Images
Steven Smith (left) and Travis Head celebrate Australia’s win by 7 wickets © Getty Images

Pakistan provided yet another classic example of the old cricketing adage which goes by ‘catches win matches’, on Thursday. Pakistan entered the arena at the WACA Ground in Perth having won 4 out of their 6 matches so far against Australia, as well as the previous ODI in the ongoing series at Melbourne. However, the visitors were back to committing sins such as overstepping, not using DRS at right moments and dropping catches to suffer a defeat by 7 wickets. Steven Smith scored a fluent 108 not out, Peter Handscomb made 84 and they defied Pakistan to help Australia take a 2-1 lead in the ongoing five-match series. Let us take a look at the highlights:

Sharjeel Khan makes it count: He was guilty of throwing good starts away in the first two games, but Sharjeel showed enough application to signal that a big knock is just around the corner. Sharjeel opened up with 20 runs in the fourth over, hitting 3 boundaries and 1 six off Billy Stanlake. He hammered 3 more boundaries when Travis Head came into the attack, but perhaps, Sharjeel paid the price for being overaggressive. He chopped one on to his wickets in spite of getting a lot of runs inside one over. Sharjeel fell for 46-ball 50.

FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs Australia, 3rd ODI at Perth

Babar Azam’s 84: Back at No. 3 after missing out in the first game, Babar showed why he is considered as one of the best upcoming Pakistani batsmen. Babar showed a great deal of maturity to keep Australia at bay when Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez early, spending ample amount of time to get his eye in. Babar rotated the strike well, but he would not be wrong in repenting lack of boundaries in his innings. However, he can be proud of his innings at WACA, as Babar tried anchoring the Pakistani innings right there till the end.

6 runs off 1 ball without hitting a six: During their innings, as two Pakistani batsmen looked to complete their second run, Matthew Wade threw the ball at non-striker’s end anticipating a run-out. The throw came in so quickly that James Faulkner could not get in time to collect it. The ball brushed his hands and ran away to the ropes. Pakistan were thus awarded 6 runs, without any batsman sending the ball over the ropes. However, such instances have been recorded several times.

Josh Hazlewood the master: Once again, Hazlewood proved why he is beyond Pakistan. He started off measly, and went onto bowl a terrific spell in which he accounted for several key batsmen. Hazlewood removed Hafeez early on, and in the final spell he accounted for the dangerous Umar Akmal (39) and Azam. Out of the 60 balls that Hazlewood bowled in the third ODI, more than half were dots.

Pakistan’s many mistakes: Junaid Khan overstepped in the 11th over when Handscomb was caught at the second slip, without even having opened his account. When he reached 10 on his ODI debut, he was dropped at point off the same bowler. Later on, Smith edged one behind to the wicketkeeper, but Pakistan, despite strongly believing that they had bagged the priced wicket, did not go for DRS intervention.

Steven Smith’s fluent century: Smith will be particularly pleased with his effort, since he was able to pull off what he had set out to achieve. Smith was dismissed early in the second ODI at Melbourne for 60, but at Perth, he ensured to stay right there till the end and finish the job. His was a fluent innings unlike Handscomb’s, who gave Pakistan a few chances to capitalise on.