White ton seals Australian victory

BRISBANE: A dazzling century from Cameron White helped Australia chase down 275 to beat Pakistan in the first of five one-day series.

White hit 105 from 88 balls under the Brisbane lights as the Aussies sealed a five-wicket win with nine balls left after Pakistan had made 274 all out. With 75 wanted from the last 60 balls Australia were only slight favourites. But White blasted three consecutive sixes from Shahid Afridi to make the final stages of the chase easy.

White was in exhilarating form, which was just as well given the problems encountered by a top three — who had given the chase an uncertain start at 84-3 in 18 overs. But White and Michael Clarke (58 from 76 balls) put on 102 in good time, and Michael Hussey intelligently gave White as much of the strike as possible.

The game had begun pretty well for Pakistan, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal putting on 62 for the first wicket. But there was a lack of acceleration until Afridi walloped 48 from 26 balls, and Pakistan’s long tail — with Mohammad Aamer batting at eight — was unable to produce much.

Ricky Ponting’s direct hit to run out Mohammad Asif ended the innings two balls prematurely. By far the most successful Australia bowler was Shane Watson (4-36).

As for Pakistan’s bowlers, Aamer (1-29) bowled beautifully. But spinners Saeed Ajmal and Afridi were targeted for some savage treatment and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was also hit for plenty of boundaries.

Naved, who had run out Clarke with an athletic pick-up and dive, finally bowled White with a well-disguised slower delivery in his final over. But it came too late to make a difference as Hussey deposited Ajmal over extra-cover for the winning four.