Australia have been humbled in the third and deciding ODI against Pakistan in Lahore, losing by nine wickets in a woeful display that has heaped pressure on captain Aaron Finch.
After being bowled out for just 210 on Saturday, the Aussies were pummelled by another batting masterclass from Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq.
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Babar raced to a second-consecutive century in three days while Imam tormented the visitors yet again with 89 not out as the hosts eased past Australia's inadequate total with a whopping 73 balls to spare.
Their unbroken second-wicket partnership of 190 powered Pakistan to a 2-1 series win after losing the first match on Tuesday, leaving the host nation ecstatic about its first ODI series victory over Australia in Pakistan since 1988.
"We were outplayed - it's as simple as that," shrugged Finch, who posted consecutive ducks for the first time in his international career.
However Finch praised his team, who were without a handful of key players due to injuries, Covid-19 and stars being rested.
"I'm really proud of how the boys tried their hearts out," he said.
"There were more positives than negatives throughout in all three games. We were just on the receiving end of a couple of great knocks from Babar and Imam."
Only Alex Carey (56 off 61 balls) and some late heroics from Sean Abbott (49 off 40 balls) ensured Australia fended off calamity after Finch had lost a third straight toss and been asked to bat.
At 8-162 in the 35th over, the Aussies were in danger of scoring the lowest-ever ODI total against Pakistan.
However Abbott cracked six fours and one six in a late show of resistance.
Pakistan then waltzed to victory after Travis Head spilled a straightforward chance at short midwicket, gifted by Babar off Jason Behrendorff when he'd scored just one.
Aussies fans weren't overly impressed with the limp display in the series decider.
Well bowled Pakistan to start. But this is absolutely shocking batting. Not that we are surprised by this batting line-up. Couldn't do well 3 out of 3, was always going to be one massive failure. #PAKvAUS
— Craig M (@diminutiverowdy) April 2, 2022
Aaron Finch under fire after unwanted history
On Saturday, the Pakistan captain reproduced his majestic hundred from Thursday's match which helped the hosts produce a record ODI chase.
Between them, Babar (276 runs for the series) and Imam (298) have scored four hundreds in five days.
Imam has scored four centuries in the Tests and ODIs, and would have had a third hundred in the 50-over series if not for his captain's brilliance.
Australia had earlier slumped to 2-0 in the second over after Head was bowled by a Shaheen Afridi from a full toss on the first ball of the innings.
Finch's woes, in his first ODIs since December 2020, continue as Australia build towards the 2023 World Cup.
The 35-year-old skipper scored 23, 0 and 0 in this series.
It was the first time in his 228-match international career spanning five Tests, 135 ODIs, and 88 T20s that Finch has posted consecutive ducks.
When Marnus Labuschagne (four) was caught at slip in the sixth over, Australia were reeling at 3-6, which became 5-67 when in-form Ben McDermott (36) was caught at cover from a leading edge.
Carey combined with Cameron Green (34) for a crucial 81-run stand, but there was still the alarming prospect that they might not get past the 8-165 they posted at the SCG in 1990.
Pakistan quick Mohammad Wasim starred with 3-40, while Rauf (3-39) and Afridi (2-40) were also crucial in the demolition job.
It was a far cry from Australia's batting displays in the first two matches, when the visitors posted totals of 7-313 and 8-348.
Why is Aaron finch still leading the Australian one day team. The selectors gamble did not pay off in Pakistan. Time to go
— tom (@roflharris) April 2, 2022
@RicFinlay when is Aaron finch’s position going to be seriously questioned? He is horrible
— Luke Smith (@luketsmith90) April 2, 2022
This is time for finchy! He cannot bat anymore
— Gary Parmar (@parmargurpreet) April 2, 2022
Are we seriously going to just accept he's our captain and opener for the next 18 months in white ball cricket? been carried for 2 years now
— Chris Clement (@Chris_w_Clem) April 2, 2022
— Patrick Gray (@PatrickM_Gray) April 2, 2022
@cricketcomau @Sdoull Not sure how Finch can keep his place in Aus limited overs team despite being in pathetic form for such long time, he is occupying the place of a player like Khawaja who can be an asset for the Australian team! #PAKvAUS
— IMAM (@IMAMSHAREEF) April 2, 2022
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