Pakistan lost the third ODI against Australia at Perth    Getty Images
Pakistan lost the third ODI against Australia at Perth Getty Images

Melbourne: Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has insisted that despite left-arm pacer Junaid Khan not being a serial no-ball offender, there was no excuse for the latter to bowl illegal deliveries, which apparently was a costly blunder in Thursday’s ODI loss to Australia. Australia could have been in all sorts of trouble at 46-3 in the third game of the five-match series at the WACA while chasing a target of 264 after debutant batsman Peter Handscomb was caught at slip in the 11th over. However, Handscomb, who hadn t opened his account at that time, earned a respite when the replay showed Junaid had overstepped the mark. Four overs later, Khan then bowled another no-ball in a delivery that saw Handscomb dropped at point. The debutant ended up making 82 as Australia reached their target with seven wickets to spare.

The Pakistan head coach, however, said his team can’t afford to commit such simple errors if they are to have a legitimate chance of winning the series. “He’s not such much of a serial offender,” Arthur was quoted as saying by “Junaid was battling into the Fremantle Doctor (breeze) a little bit, so that caused him to over stride. But it’s still no excuse. We’ve got to be keeping our foot behind the line, he added. Pakistan are currently trailing the five-match series 1-2 and in order to keep the series alive, they must win Sunday’s game at the SCG.

Full Cricket Scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 4th ODI at SCG

What could be a massive boost for Pakistan is that captain Azhar Ali is set to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury.”He had a good hit (on Thursday), and ran between wickets with the pads on,” the South African said.”He had a good field too. We’re confident we’ll get Azhar back for Sunday. It’s a massive boost. It gives more solidarity to our top order. I’m looking forward to having him back, he added.

The 48-year-old also expressed confidence on his team, saying they can turn around their deficit, especially if their spinners can weave their magic. We go to two grounds now where that suits our attack. Sydney has turned all year, and Adelaide is slower too, he said. So they are two grounds where our attack definitely comes into play, he added.