Aussies beat Pakistan, win series

Associated Press

Sydney, February 6:

Glenn McGrath took five wickets as Australia beat Pakistan by 31 runs to clinch the best-of-three final series with a match to spare. Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn all scored in the 40s as Australia reached 239 for 9.

McGrath took a catch off Brett Lee’s bowling to remove Taufeeq Umar (3) and then removed Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Inzamam-ul-Haq to have Pakistan reeling at 38/4.

Pakistan recovered and, with Abdul Razzaq scoring 43 off 58 balls, was still in with a chance until McGrath struck again.

Razzaq had just swiped McGrath to the boundary and improved Pakistan’s equation to 39 runs required off 40 balls when he edged the fast bowler to Gilchrist and made the total 201/9. McGrath bowled Rana Naved-ul-Hasan to end Pakistan’s innings and returned 5-27 in 7.4 overs.

Yousuf Youhana top scored for Pakistan, accumulating 51 off 56 balls including five boundaries, to keep the pressure up until he tried to slog Brad Hogg out of the ground and was bowled.

Shahid Afridi plundered 31 off 21 balls, including two sixes and a boundary, before he was run out.

Lee made the first breakthrough in the fifth over, having Umar caught by McGrath with Pakistan’s total at 13. McGrath got his first wicket three balls later when Akmal was caught behind.

He struck twice within four balls in the 12th over, having Hafeez caught at short point and then trapping Inzamam lbw.

Earlier, Gilchrist belted six fours and a six, scoring 40 off 30 balls and sharing a 55-run opening stand with Clarke, who continued with Ponting to lift the total to 118 before Australia lost its second wicket. Clarke scored 38 and Ponting made 41. Martyn (43) was out in the 45th over.

Razzaq took two wickets but was taken out of the attack in the 49th over when umpire Rudi Koertzen ruled that he bowled two full-toss deliveries in the over.

Naved-ul-Hasan bowled Brad Hogg and Gillespie with the first and second balls of the final over but was denied a hat-trick by McGrath. Razzaq returned 2-51, while Afridi had 2-38 and Naved-ul-Hasan had 2-69. Australia won the first final by 18 runs on Friday.