Sharjah: Lanky paceman Mitchell Starc on Wednesday said Australia stuck to their plans during their hard-fought four-wicket win over Pakistan, negotiating rival spinners very well.
Australia edged out Pakistan in the first limited-overs international here on Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, with Man-of-the-Match Starc returning career best figures of 5 for 42.
He was ably assisted by new-ball partner James Pattinson (3 for 19) as Australia bundled Pakistan out for a low score of 198 in 45.1 overs. Australia then fought hard through Michael Clarke (66) and George Bailey (57 not out) to overcome a threat from Pakistani spinners led by Saeed Ajmal (3 for 30) to win in 48.2 overs.
Starc said Australia were ready for Pakistani spinners. "We knew it was going to be difficult coming here with the spinners. They know the conditions well and use it to their advantage. We knew if we took it right to the end with that total to chase, we had a good chance," said Starc.
"The three spinners, we knew they were going to be their key bowlers. With our team, we had a majority of quick bowlers. We just stuck to our plans really well on the day," said Starc, who took 4 for 47 in Australia's 66-run win over Afghanistan here on Saturday.
Starc hoped Australia would continue to negotiate spinners wisely. "There are three bowlers we're going to have to look at and as we did on Tuesday, try to minimise the damage they cause on us. If we can find a way to score as many as we can off them without losing too many wickets, it would be nice and it would probably go a long way to winning a game.
"We were keyed-up with all our sweatbands and everything to try to hold onto the ball a bit more. We took 3 for 16 in that powerplay [36th to 40th over]. We knew to keep it simple and not give them any width," said Starc.
The second match will be played in Abu Dhabi on Friday followed by the third here on Monday. Both teams will play three Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on September 5, 7 and 10.