Australia vs Pakistan: Fifth ODI Preview

Batsman takes guard

Australia and Pakistan go head to head in the fifth and final One Day International of the series this Thursday.

Australia wrapped up the series in the fourth ODI in Sydney, dominating a Pakistan team plagued by dreadful fielding.  David Warner smashed a century - and the rest of the top order did a great job in supporting him.

Australia have, yet again, established an undoubted psychological edge over the visitors, who have been anything but clinical in this series. It would be very surprising, indeed, if that trend did not continue in Adelaide.

Australia v Pakistan | Thursday, 26 January | The Adelaide Oval, Adelaide | 05:20

To Win Match
Australia 2/9 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 7/2

The hosts could ring the changes, but they will have one eye on the Champions Trophy later this year - and will more than likely look to establish continuity.

The uncapped Marcus Stoinis has been released from the squad to play for his Big Bash League team, Melbourne Stars,  who have made the semi-finals, which take place a few days before the final ODI - but will rejoin the team ahead of the series finale.

On Australia Day, Steven Smith's men will be eager to seal a 4-1 series triumph. It will be interesting to see if leg-spinner Adam Zampa retains his place in the starting XI or if James Faulkner, who has done well with the ball this series, returns.

The dead rubber could present Australia with a chance to rest one or both of their frontline bowlers, but it wouldn't be surprising to see both Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc take their place in the XI when proceedings get underway in Adelaide.

Smith has been in great form throughout the series - and one would fancy him to keep up the good work, while there will be some pressure on Usman Khawaja at the top of the order after a mediocre series.

Travis Head hasn't got the big score he was after in this series, but looks to have cemented his place in the XI with his consistency.

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Despite a dreadful effort in the field, there are still a few positives for Pakistan to take from this series.

At times, they have bowled very well, but really need to hold onto catches if they are going to get one over on the Australians, who have been far from perfect - but a lot better than the tourists.

Mickey Arthur is likely to spend the days leading up to the final game drilling his troops, who shelled four catches at the SCG - and were guilty of being terribly lackadaisical in the field in general.

Sharjeel Khan has been Pakistan's best batsman in this series, but was also one of the worst offenders in the field - and Arthur must demand more from him in particular. The coach will not only want to see him try harder in the field, but would also want him to convert his starts into big scores to help get Pakistan over the line.

Azhar Ali had missed half the series with injury, and when he has played, the skipper has been unable to recreate his stellar Test form. He will need to prove his growing number of critics wrong.

Hasan Ali has been the surprise package of this series and, along with Mohammad Amir, has led the Pakistan attack - and done very well with the new ball.

Pakistan are unlikely to change their XI much, although they might choose to leave out Umar Akmal in favour of Asad Shafiq, although neither have been in glittering form Down Under.

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Verdict: Australia 2/9
It's hard to see Pakistan picking themselves up from the thumping they got at the SCG - and Australia look unlikely to dip in form enough to allow the visiting side even the faintest sniff of being competitive on Australia Day.

The last ODI at the Adelaide Oval was the World Cup quarter-final between Australia and Pakistan, which the Aussies won comfortably - and the smart money would definitely be on the home team pulling off a repeat of that result.

Value bet: A hundred to be scored in the match: Yes 5/10
Australia have a few players who are greedy for centuries - and we fancy there is every chance that somebody like Sharjeel could also go to three figures on what should be a good pitch for batting.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for

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