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Australia need more runs from their openers, Matthew Wade and David Warner, and they might be keen to take a more aggressive approach after Warner took 19 balls to get off the mark in the second game. They also need to work out the best make-up of their attack should Mitchell Starc be ruled out due to injury after he left the field late in the second match. Choosing a frontline spinner, Xavier Doherty, would not be a bad option, although if they end up bowling second and find the conditions as dewy as they were on Friday in Abu Dhabi, it might not matter. Both matches have been won by the team chasing and Michael Clarke is unlikely to make the mistake of batting first again should he win the toss.
Pakistan and Australia return to Sharjah for the third one-day international, which has become the series decider after Australia took the first match and Pakistan won the second. For Pakistan, this is a chance to end a decade-long era without a one-day series win over Australia. Last time they beat Australia was in 2002 and it was also the last time Pakistan came back from losing the first match in a three-game series to win. They will rely heavily on Saeed Ajmal, who has caused real problems for Australia’s batsmen in the first two games and has taken seven of the 15 wickets collected by Pakistan bowlers so far, at the remarkable average of 8.85. The Australians will consider attacking Ajmal more in this game, but if they continue to misread his doosra it may make little difference.
Saeed Ajmal has taken 7 for 62 in the series so far and is far and were in not for his fine work on Friday, the Australians could well have posted a much heftier total. His variations leave the Australians muddled, and after they chose to be cautious with him in the first two games they might be considering a different approach this time. “He’s a fantastic bowler. But we have to change our game plan,” David Hussey said on Sunday. “We’re defending him a little bit and to our peril. Maybe the best form of defence is attacking him. We’ve seen the Sri Lankans play him, we’ve seen the Indians play him, and we might think that’s the better route to go.”
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