Sport Cricket Wade’s maiden ton guides Australia to 92-run win

Wade’s maiden ton guides Australia to 92-run win

Matthew Wade ODI captain
Victorian skipper Matthew Wade will lead the Australian ODI team in New Zealand.
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Matthew Wade answered his critics in the best possible fashion, scoring his maiden ODI century to guide Australia to a 92-run victory over Pakistan in Friday’s series opener at the Gabba.

Under pressure after struggling with the bat since replacing wicketkeeper Peter Nevill in the Test team in October, the 29-year-old Victorian captain produced a gutsy 100 off as many deliveries to steer Australia to a respectable score of 9/268.

“Feels great,” Wade, the Player of the Match, said after the win.

“They were taking the pace off, I was swinging way too hard. If the spinners bowled into the wicket it was hard to hit them down the ground.”

Not surprising Wade struggled physically during his 2.5-hour innings in the searing Brisbane heat, conceding he  “was absolutely cooked (by the last over)”.

He reached three figures in dramatic fashion, scrambling a quick-run two off the penultimate delivery and spooning a leading edge to off-side for a single off the final ball.

Wade, who has a tattoo of late Test cricketer Phillip Hughes on his arm, celebrated by kissing his bat and looking to the skies.

Matthew Wade century
Wade celebrates his ton by looking to the heavens.

Wade’s century was all the more laudable because it was scored under pressure. He came in with the score at 5/78, greeted by Victorian teammate Glenn Maxwell, who had been out of the national team since being fined for criticising Wade’s captaincy at the start of the summer.

“Maxi took the pressure off me, and I was just looking to get him on strike,” Wade said.

The pair shared a 92-run partnership, with Maxwell’s 60 Australia’s next highest score.

Wade’s highest score in any form of the game since last October had been 38, and his century was perfectly timed given the squad for next month’s tour of India will be announced on Sunday.

Australia was in early trouble after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Mohammad Amir (2/54) was superb early, swinging the ball dangerously to clean-bowl opener David Warner (7) and then handing captain Steve Smith his first ODI golden duck when he had him caught behind next delivery.

Big Bash League sensation Chris Lynn, on debut and batting at number four, survived the hat trick delivery, but was out two overs later after skying a heave at a slower ball from Hasan Ali (3/65).

In reply, Pakistan’s run chase never really got going.
After the early blow of losing skipper Azhar Ali – who retired hurt with a hamstring strain on 12 – wickets tumbled at a steady rate and they were dismissed for 176 in the 43rd over.

Azhar returned to the crease late in the innings but struggled to move freely and when he was well caught in the deep by Warner for 24, Pakistan’s hopes of victory went with him.

Babar Azam top-scored with just 33 while all-rounder James Faulkner was the pick of Australia’s bowlers with 4-32 off seven overs.

Debutant Billy Stanlake took 0/13 off three overs, having had to leave the field after feeling unwell in the scorching heat.

The second match in the series is on Sunday at the MCG.

– with AAP


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