Steve Smith has put on a batting masterclass to help Australia cruise to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in their Twenty20 clash in Canberra.
Smith tallied his highest T20 score for Australia in more than four years, his 80no helping the Aussies chase down 151 with nine balls to spare.
The former Australian captain was at his vintage best during the 51-ball knock.
He was deft on his feet facing spinner Shadab Khan before playing just about every shot in the book and then some from well outside the coaching manuals.
At one stage he uppercut Mohammad Irfan for four through third man and then played the same shot through fine leg off Wahab Riaz.
He flicked Mohammad Amir for six over backward square and later rocked on the back foot and flayed him over point for four.
Smith has barely played T20 cricket for Australia in recent years but proved his worth on Tuesday night.
With David Warner the first dismissal of the international summer for 20 and Aaron Finch caught on 17, Australia were 2-48 early.
But from there Smith took charge at Manuka Oval.
His innings featured 11 fours and a six, as he controlled Australia’s chase to perfection against the world’s top-ranked T20 team.
Meanwhile Warner’s dismissal brought to an end his unbeaten spree of 239 runs, after enduring an entire Sri Lanka series in which he produced a hundred and two half-centuries.
The left-hander took 16 off one Imad Wasim over but was cleaned up moments later trying to give himself room and hit Amir through the covers.
A piece of Warner magic in the field had earlier removed Pakistan’s most dangerous batsman for Australia, with Babar Azam on 50.
Warner picked up the ball one handed from outside the 30-metre circle at mid wicket and threw down the keeper’s end stumps to finish the 38-ball knock.
Iftikhar Ahmed then fired late for the visitors, hitting 62 from 34 balls to help propel Pakistan to a competitive total.
Ashton Agar (2-23) and Pat Cummins (1-19) were best for the miserly Australians with the ball from their four overs.
Mitchell Starc also sent down 12 dot balls to finish with 0-25, as Australia took a 1-0 lead in the series with the final game to be played in Perth on Friday night.