Australia, who have only 13 players to choose from, named an unchanged line-up
Even though the decision spectacularly backfired in the series opener, captain Babar Azam again put Australia in to bat but Pakistan have been boosted by the return of star quick Shaheen Shah Afridi who replaced Hasan Ali in their only change.
With just 13 players to choose from, a shorthanded Australia named an unchanged line-up after stunning Pakistan on Tuesday with an 88-run victory.
It didn’t seem to matter as Australia showcased vaunted depth in their first ODI since July with Travis Head, who returned after more than four years in the ODI wilderness, cracking 101 off 72 balls as opener to power Australia to 313 for 7.
After being tied down at the back-end, Australia’s total was considered only about par but their second-string attack suffocated Pakistan, who were never really in the hunt. Debutants Mitchell Swepson and Nathan Ellis impressed but it was frontline legspinner Adam Zampa who tore through Pakistan with a four-wicket haul.
Pakistan needs to rebound quickly after such a lacklustre effort, where their quicks copped a hammering from Head followed by a rather ham-fisted chase.
There is a lot on the line for both teams with the three-match series counting towards the World Cup Super League. Mired in 10th position, Pakistan need a move on quickly otherwise they face the prospect of not directly qualifying to the 2023 World Cup.
But to turn their fortunes around, Pakistan will first need to end a 10-match losing streak to Australia in the ODI format.
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Travis Head, 3 Ben McDermott, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Sean Abbott, 9 Nathan Ellis, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Mitchell Swepson.
Pakistan: 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Fakhar Zaman, 3 Imam-ul-Haq, 4 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 5 Saud Shakeel, 6 Khushdil Shah, 7 Iftikhar Ahmed, 8 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 9 Mohammad Wasim Jnr, 10 Zahid Mahmood, 11 Haris Rauf.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth