Australia levels the series
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Australia v Pakistan
Player:Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, A Symonds
Event:Australia in United Arab Emirates 2008/09

DateLine: 25th April 2009


Comeback boy Andrew Symonds starred in Australia's much improved performance with both bat and ball as they beat Pakistan by six wickets in the second day-night international on Friday. The 33-year-old, on a comeback trail after being dropped due to discipline problems, took two wickets in an over to help Australia restrict Pakistan to 207 before scoring 58 to anchor the run-chase at the packed Dubai Stadium. The victory helps Australia to level the five-match series 1-1 after Pakistan won the first match by four wickets on Wednesday.


As expected, Australia came back strongly as they unleashed tight line and length and then kept their cool while chasing a modest 4.16 run target, avoiding the first match's let-ups against Pakistani spinners. Symonds built on the platform set by opener James Hopes (48) and Shane Watson (30) who put on 77 runs for the second wicket. Australia had lost Brad Haddin for eight in the fourth over. Spinners Shahid Afridi, who took a career best 6-38 in the first match, and Saeed Ajmal raised hopes of Pakistan's victory by dismissing Watson and Hopes in successive overs but Symonds and Clarke sealed the match.


Symonds, whose last one-day series was against the West Indies in July last year, added 90 for the fourth wicket stand with his skipper, hitting four boundaries and a six during his 30th One-day fifty. With just 25 needed, Symonds was bowled by Afridi but Clarke (39 not out) and Callum Ferguson (ten not out) achieved the target.


Earlier, Pakistan struggled for runs as off-spinner Nathan Hauritz chipped in with 3-41, while Hopes and Symonds took two wickets apiece to keep checks on Pakistan who decided to bat first after winning the toss. Opener Salman Butt top-scored with a resolute 57 while Afridi hit a 40-ball 41. In the final overs, Shoaib Akhtar hit four boundaries and a six during a fiery 14-ball 25 to get Pakistan past the 200-run mark.


Butt held one end intact after Pakistan lost debutant opener Ahmed Shahzad (four) in the third over. Butt added 53 for the second wicket with Younus Khan who made 28. Hauritz derailed Pakistan's innings by dismissing Shoaib Malik (seven) and Misbah-ul-Haq (12) in quick succession before removing a dangerous looking Butt in the 34th over. Butt hit six boundaries during his snail-paced 112-ball knock.


Hauritz could have had a fourth wicket and blown away Pakistan for a much lower total had Ben Laughlin held on to a high catch from Afridi when the batsman was on only three. Afridi fully capitalised on the chance and hit five boundaries and a six. Symonds removed Akhtar and Umar Gul (ten) in one over as Pakistan lost their last three wickets for just one run.


The remaining three one-day matches will be played in Abu Dhabi on April 27, May 1 and 3. The only Twenty20 is scheduled for Dubai on May 7.


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