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Cricket news - Maxwell 98 leads Australia's recovery

Maxwell's 98 helped Australia post a competitive total

A 134-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Glenn Maxwell and Alex Carey helped Australia climb out of a hole to post a competitive total of 277/7 in the fourth ODI against Pakistan at Dubai. Maxwell fell two short of his 100, attempting a non-existent second run while Carey made an assured 55. Usman Khawaja also scored a half-century before Pakistan's spinners orchestrated a middle-overs choke through spin.

The hosts, who've already conceded the series, were dealt another setback ahead of the clash with skipper Shoaib Malik ruled out of the game with a bruised rib. The captaincy responsibility fell to Imad Wasim, who won the toss and elected to field, while also handing out debuts to Abid Ali and Saad Ali. Along expected lines, Australia shuffled their fast-bowling pack once more, bringing back Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson with Pat Cummins getting his much-needed break after a hectic summer of cricket.

Australia began steadily, if not theatrically, with in-form openers Khawaja and Aaron Finch adding a half-century stand. Finch, the more dynamic of the two, was the first to go when Mohammad Hasnain trapped him LBW. Shaun Marsh fell quickly thereafter, stumped off the bowling of Imad. Perhaps for the first time in this ODI revival, Australia's middle-order faltered as Peter Handscomb and Marcus Stoinis fell to spin. When Khawja became Yasir Shah's second scalp, the visitors had slipped to 140 for 5 in the 29th over.

With time to play himself in, Maxwell gave himself time to get set. In Carey he had a partner who could nudge the singles at will. Once the tough Imad-Yasir Shah phase was negated, the boundaries began flowing more freely. By the 40th over, the pair had nudged the score to 191 for 5 and set Australia up for a launch in the final 10. That push came courtesy Maxwell, who more than doubled his score (he was on 48) with a flurry of boundaries. He reached 97 at the start of the final over, having hit nine fours and three sixes. A second ODI century seemed inevitable before it was cruelly snatched away as Maxwell was run-out for 98.

Carey too, fell off the final ball of the innings but not before he'd played a crucial hand in helping Australia add 86 in the final 10 overs of the innings.

Brief scores: Australia 277/7 in 50 overs (Glenn Maxwell 98, Usman Khawaja 62; Mohammad Hasnain 2-52, Yasir Shah 2-57) vs Pakistan

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