Aussies win series after Maxwell fifty
Australia endured a difficult time in the heat of Sharjah but came out on top by three wickets in the third ODI against Pakistan, winning the series 2-1 in the process thanks to a Glenn Maxwell cameo.
The all-rounder hit 56 not out off 38 balls to see his side home, after he and Michael Hussey (65) had steadied the ship after Saeed Ajmal threatened to blow their chase of 245 off course.
Pakistan had made 244 after being sent in to bat by Michael Clarke, and though they started with a century stand between Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed, they lost seven wickets, four to Mitchell Starc, and could not capitalise on that base.
Australia's chase started well, but regular wickets and Ajmal's dominance looked like they would prevent a successful match for the exhausted visitors, but the Hussey brothers and Maxwell made sure to get over the line with 18 balls remaining.
Pakistan's innings got off to a wonderful start as the Aussies struggled in the 45 degree heat, the first wicket progressing to 129 before Jamshed was removed for 48. Wickets tumbled regularly from there and while Hafeez was able to make 78, no other batsman could break the 30-run barrier.
Starc, who had taken five wickets in the first match, also at this venue, started poorly, but recovered in his later spell to take four scalps, including skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, whose ponderous batting slowed the momentum dramatically as he made 25.
Australia opened their innings with David Hussey alongside David Warner, giving Matthew Wade a break after he kept wicket in the oppressive heat. The two Davids put on 44 for the first wicket before Warner was caught on the boundary.
Skipper Michael Clarke came in and made 32 before falling to Ajmal, stumped by Kamran Akmal. This brought Mike Hussey to the middle and he became the backbone of the innings, surviving an LBW appeal that would have been out had it been reviewed.
Misbah could be said to have made a mistake in taking Ajmal off when he'd taken his three wickets, because the break gave Wade and Hussey a chance to regroup, and by the time the spinner was brought back on, it was too late, despite a flurry of wickets at the end.
Maxwell, playing in only his fourth ODI, took his chance with both hands, smashing the spinners, all four of them, around the park as he made sure their would be no such thing as a final-over slog.
Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, David Hussey, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan