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Starc stars in Australia’s stunning last day win over Pakistan

 Agencies |  2016-12-31 23:35:54.0  |  Melbourne

Starc stars in Australia’s stunning last day win over Pakistan

Mitchell Starc spearheaded Australia to a stunning final day innings victory over Pakistan to claim the series in Melbourne on Friday.

The fast bowler smashed 84 off 91 balls with a record seven sixes and then captured four wickets for 36 to lead Australia to a resounding innings and 18-run victory over the hapless tourists.

Skipper Steve Smith set the ball rolling for a dramatic victory when he declared Australia’s first innings at 624 for eight just before lunch.

That gave Australia a 181-run lead and a minimum of 70 overs to bowl out Pakistan. In the end the Australians needed only 53.2 overs to pull off an emphatic victory and with their 39-run win in the first Gabba Test to clinch the three-Test series.

While Smith was named man-of-the-match for his unbeaten 165, it was Starc who put his stamp on the game with his sensational effort with bat and ball.

It was an astonishing collapse by the tourists, who appeared safe from defeat after amassing 443 for nine declared in their first innings over the first three rain-affected days before losing control of the match. The defeat was Pakistan’s 11th straight test loss in Australia after their last win in Sydney in 1995. Skipper Smith set up the exciting finish with a calculated declaration shortly before lunch. 

He called a halt to a massive first innings at 624 for eight – remaining unbeaten on 165 off 246 balls – to give his fast bowlers a crack at the Pakistan openers just before the interval. Starc’s seven sixes surpassed the record in an innings in a Melbourne Test held by Andrew Symonds with six in his 72 against South Africa in 2005. 

The visitors started their second stint with the bat trailing by 181 runs. But they could not withstand the Australian bowling and were bundled out for 163 runs. The visitors ran into trouble early in their innings, losing Sami Aslam and Babar Azam within the first five overs.

Pacer Mitchell Starc was the most successful among the Australian bowlers with figures of 4/36. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon returned 3/33 while pacers Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird notched up 2/39 and 1/46 respectively.

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