Cricket: Aaron Finch hits unbeaten 153 as Aussies continue to dominate Pak in ODIs

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FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2019 file photo, Australia's captain Aaron Finch walks to bat in the nets during a training session ahead of their third one day international cricket match against India in Ranchi, India. Captain Aaron Finch smashed a century to lead Australia to a thumping eight-wicket win over Pakistan in the first one-day international in Sharjah Friday, March 22. Finch made 116 off 135 balls while Shaun Marsh hit an unbeaten 91 as the world champions reached 281-2 in 49 overs after Pakistan had earlier totaled 280-5. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi, file)

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates: Captain Aaron Finch smashed another century as Australia again beat Pakistan by eight wickets in the second one-day cricket international on Sunday.

Finch hit 11 fours and six sixes in his career-best 153 not out as Australia reached 285-2 in 47.5 overs for a 2-0 series lead. Pakistan had chosen to bat first and Mohammad Rizwan made 115 for his first ODI century in a total of 284-7.

Finch’s 13th ODI century led Australia to its second successful chase at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in three days after the visitors had won the first match by eight wickets on Friday, with Finch scoring 116.

Ranchi: Australia’s Aaron Finch in action during the third ODI match between India and Australia at JSCA International Stadium Complex, in Ranchi, on March 8, 2019. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Finch put on a 209-run opening stand on Sunday with Usman Khawaja, who made 88, with Pakistan opting to rest two of its frontline fast bowlers for this five-match series ahead of the World Cup.

“On a wicket like that, you can’t afford to take it too deep with new batters,” Finch said.

“Usman has been in good form, and he’s getting big runs at an important time. Things are going quite well at the moment, but there are always things to improve.”

Eighteen-year-old debutant fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain briefly tested Finch and Khawaja with his short-pitched deliveries before leg spinner Yasir Shah (1-60) finally broke through when he had Khawaja caught at midwicket.

Australia fast bowler Jhye Richardson was ruled out early in the 11th over when he dislocated his shoulder after taking 2-16 in his five-over spell before falling awkwardly on his bowling arm in the outfield.

But Finch himself stepped in, bowled 10 overs of left-arm spin and conceded only 41 runs for the wicket of Haris Sohail (34).

A 127-run partnership between Rizwan and Shoaib Malik (60) formed the nucleus of Pakistan’s innings after Australia had reduced the home team to 112-4 in the 23rd over.

Glenn Maxwell made amends for dropping Malik on 52 at long on when he took a smart low catch at the same position to dismiss the Pakistan captain in the 45th over.

Rizwan, who hit 11 boundaries in his 126-ball knock, followed his skipper soon after when Maxwell took a smart catch on the long on boundary as the batsman went for his first big shot.

“To be honest, I think early strike in our bowling is what we are lacking,” Malik said. “Since we have rested a lot of our players, we are trying other players and these things happen in international cricket, especially when you are playing a big team.”

“It’s not about winning the series, it’s about testing our bench strength.”

The third ODI is at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

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