SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP):
Glenn Maxwell smashed an unbeaten 56 from 38 balls and Mike Hussey hit 65 as Australia beat Pakistan by three wickets in game three to clinch the limited-overs international series 2-1.
The match, which began late yesterday at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, consigned Pakistan to a third straight ODI series defeat this year after earlier losses to England and Sri Lanka. It was also Australia's third successive series win over Pakistan and will help Michael Clarke's team as it works its way back up the rankings after losing its No. 1 spot with a lopsided defeat to England earlier in the year.
"It's very special after our defeat in England," Clarke said. "The feeling around the group is a great feeling, especially after losing 4-0 to England.
"The guys should be really proud of this series. It was a tough victory against a very good one-day team."
After Mitchell Starc claimed 4-51 and Mitchell Johnson took 2-33 to help restrict Pakistan to 244-7, Australia made an encouraging start when opener David Warner (21) and David Hussey combined for 44 runs.
Clarke scored 32 before being stumped by Kamran Akmal off Saeed Ajmal (3-37) and David Hussey was caught by Abdur Rehman off Ajmal for 43, leaving Australia at 108-4 nearly halfway through its innings.
Mike Hussey, whose late-innings heroics helped Australia beat Pakistan in the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals, got the chase back on track as he paired with Matthew Wade (22) and Maxwell for half-century partnerships.
"It is a great challenge playing these guys. They have some great bowlers and know these conditions very well," Hussey said. "It was pretty tough during the middle ... . They had a lot of momentum and I found it very difficult to start."
Maxwell proved to be the difference after Hussey was bowled by Junaid Khan (2-42), hitting many of his boundaries in the last two overs to clinch the victory for Australia.
Ajmal and Rehman (2-41) had no answer to Maxwell and couldn't make a breakthrough when it counted at the end.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said the series defeat shows his team has plenty of shortcomings, especially their recent history of batting collapses during the power play.
"We have to improve in every department of the game, especially we have to find the right combination of fast bowling and we have to improve our batting and fielding," Misbah said. "At important stages of the game, we collapse in batting and miss chances in fielding. These are the real areas where we have to work hard."
Australia won the first match by four wickets last Tuesday, but Pakistan forced the series to the deciding third match with their win in game two.