A bizarre catch taken by Steve Smith and the sight of David Warner limping off the field almost overshadowed Australia’s one-run win in Sunday’s dead-rubber third one-day game.
Smith top-scored with 77 in Australia’s 9-231 before Pakistan were bowled out for 230 after losing 2-0 in the 50th over in Abu Dhabi.
Glenn Maxwell was the hero with a double-wicket maiden in the final over for Australia who have won the series three-nil.
Earlier, Pakistan left-hander Fawad Alam had faced up to spinner Xavier Doherty during the 18th over and shaped to sweep, prompting Smith to sprint from slip to leg slip and take a simple catch.
Fawad remained on the field to seek clarification from a match official before finally walking off without scoring, hitting the boundary rope with his bat in frustration.
A fielder is entitled to move before the ball reaches the batsman as long as it’s in response to the shot the batsman is shaping to play.
Australia weren’t celebrating during the 35th over however as Warner limped off the field after a consultation with team physio Alex Kountouris. Warner could be in doubt for the first Test on October 22.
The opener, who rubbed his thigh before going off, may have joined uncapped allrounder Mitchell Marsh (hamstring) on Australia’s injury list for the Dubai Test.
Choosing to bat first on a flat-looking pitch, Australia had struggled to score freely and relied heavily on Warner (56) and No.3 Smith (77).
Smith’s 105-ball innings included only two boundaries as the 25-year-old showed patience and skill to find the gaps against Pakistan’s disciplined bowling attack.
Allrounder James Faulkner (33) and Smith added 40 for the seventh wicket before Smith was bowled by Sohail Tanvir (3-40) with the total on 199.
Smith’s 77 gave him an average of 63.33 for the series after his match-winning 101 in game one in Sharjah and 12 in Dubai.
Ahmed Shehzad (26) and Sarfraz Ahmed (32) shared a 56-run opening stand and Asad Shafiq made 50 at No.3.
Shahid Afridi (six) failed for the third time in the series while Sohaib Maqsood (34) and Umar Amin (19) kept Pakistan in the game.
In further controversy, Pakistan’s tailender Zulfiqar Babar appeared to be run out for a duck but the umpires failed to seek a video review, which left Australia captain George Bailey scratching his head.
Babar was unbeaten on 14 in a losing cause.
Kane Richardson, James Faulkner, Maxwell and Doherty took two wickets each for Australia.
A FINCH c Irfan b Ali 18
D WARNER c & b Afridi 56
S SMITH b Tanvir 77
G BAILEY c Shehzad b Irfan 0
G MAXWELL c Amin b Afridi 20
P HUGHES lbw Tanvir 5 2
B HADDIN run out (Ali) 2
J FAULKNER c Amin b Tanvir 33
M STARC run out (Irfan) 5
K RICHARDSON not out 9
X DOHERTY not out 1
Sundries (3lb 1w 1nb) 5
Nine wickets for 231
Fall: 48 (Finch), 102 (Warner), 103 (Bailey), 138 (Maxwell), 157 (Hughes), 159 (Haddin), 199 (Smith), 220 (Starc), 221 (Faulkner).
Bowling: M Irfan 10-0-61-2 (1w), S Tanvir 10-1-40-3 (1nb), A Ali 10-0-41-1, Z Babar 10-0-42-0, S Afridi 10-1-44-2.
Batting time: 221 mins. Overs: 50.
A SHEHZAD b Doherty 26
S AHMED run out (Starc) 32
A SHAFIQ lbw Faulkner 50
F ALAM c Smith b Doherty 0
S MAQSOOD c Warner b Richardson 34
U AMIN b Starc 19
S AFRIDI c Smith b Richardson 6
A ALI c Maxwell b Faulkner 14
S TANVIR b Maxwell 10
Z BABAR not out 14
M IRFAN c Faulkner b Maxwell 0
Sundries (2b 5lb 18w) 25
Fall: 56 (Shehzad), 80 (Ahmed), 80 (Alam), 154 (Maqsood), 160 (Shafiq), 174 (Afridi), 204 (Amin), 208 (Ali), 230 (Tanvir), 230 (Irfan).
Bowling: M Starc 10-1-33-1 (6w/10), K Richardson 10-0-36-2, J Faulkner 10-0-52-2 (1w), G Maxwell 8-1-41-2 (2w/6), X Doherty 10-1-54-2 (1w), S Smith 2-0-7-0.
Batting time: 222 mins. Overs: 50.
Result: Australia won by 1 run
Man of the Match: Glenn Maxwell
Man of the Series: Steve Smith
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