Australia on threshold of a series win
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, NM Hauritz, B Lee
Event:Australia in United Arab Emirates 2008/09

DateLine: 30th April 2009


Australia are one win away from wrapping up the series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, but not much talk has centred around the team's on-field performance. Since the offspinner Saeed Ajmal was reported for a suspect action the sides have been under more intense focus than during the opening three matches.


The talking points will shift to the middle during Friday's fourth ODI in Abu Dhabi. Australia lead 2-1 in the five-match contest - Pakistan lost 10 for 76 in Monday's defeat - as they finalise their preparations for the start of their engagements in England in June.


Shahid Afridi has been outstanding in the opening three fixtures and remains Australia's biggest threat. His 10 victims at 10.70 have caused the most problems, but his 71 runs have also been a headache. The worry for Pakistan has been finding people to offer him significant assistance. Yasir Arafat replaced Shoaib Akhtar in the previous game, but with Pakistan needing to win to stay in touch Shoaib could be recalled to provide some firepower. Ajmal will be feeling vulnerable despite some encouraging returns.


Nathan Hauritz has been a key performer for Australia. Since coming back into the one-day team in January he has 13 wickets in nine games and in this series has five at 18.60 along with an economy rate of 3.57. The prospect of more spinning surfaces in the remaining matches will lift his mood further. Brett Lee is in town after joining the squad this week, but he won't bowl on Friday and is unlikely to be picked until the Twenty20 to end the tour. The rotation of the attack is the main issue for the squad, with Stuart Clark keen for more work and Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Bracken, Ben Laughlin and Doug Bollinger also in the outfit.


Australia (possible): Brad Haddin (wk), James Hopes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Andrew Symonds, Callum Ferguson, David Hussey, Nathan Hauritz, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken, Doug Bollinger.


Pakistan (possible): Salman Butt, Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan (capt), Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Iftikhar Anjum, Saeed Ajmal.