World Rugby has confirmed Australia and the United States as the next two hosts of the men's Rugby World Cup.

The men's tournament will be held in Australia in 2027, and the women's World Cup will be hosted Down Under two years later. 

Australia has not hosted the men's tournament since 2003, when Jonny Wilkinson's last-gasp drop-goal ensured victory for England over the Wallabies in the final.

The USA, meanwhile, will host the competition for the very first time in 2031, with the women's tournament held there in 2033. The next women's World Cup, in 2025, will take place in England.

World Rugby confirmed the news at its annual meeting in Dublin on Thursday, promising to deliver "a golden decade for the sport".

Bill Beaumont, chairman of World Rugby, said: "We have approved three exceptional Rugby World Cup host nations – England, Australia and the USA – providing unprecedented certainty and an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally. It is great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations.

"Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all."

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan labelled it as "an historic day for rugby in Australia", while USA Rugby chief executive Ross Young said: "I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country."

The next men's World Cup will be held in France in 2023, with South Africa the reigning champions following their triumph over England in 2019 in Japan.

Andrew McDonald says he would not have taken a job with England as he does not agree with splitting the coaching roles.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are in the process of recruiting separate head coaches for the Test and limited-overs teams after sacking Chris Silverwood.

Rob Key opted to move away from having one head coach to be in charge of every side following his recent appointment as managing director of England men's cricket.

McDonald was appointed as Australia head coach for all formats last month and he believes it is important to have just one boss.

Asked if there was any prospect of him going for a job with England, he told SEN: "No I don't think there was a risk.

"I think the way that they're going to set-up, structure up, is clear. I think they're going to go for a split coaching role. My views on that differ slightly.

"My belief is to still have that one coach and share the workload within that. I think for me the continuity of messaging is critical. But also the priorities shift. And people probably don't like me saying this, but the priorities do shift at certain times. You can't be everything to everyone.

"For example, Pat Cummins, on the back of three Test matches in Pakistan, at the end of that he's severely fatigued and then the white-ball team gets compromised because Pat Cummins isn't playing. But he's not ready to perform in that environment.

"If you had split coaches, which format takes priority? So, I think the ability to have one selection panel, one coach to work through that, give the direction to what the priorities are at the time and managing the overall squad as such and then someone, potentially a Michael Di Venuto or another assistant coach, coming in to allow the head coach to balance the workload but still stick on the same path.

"For example, we're going to build towards the 2023 World Cup, am I going to do every one-day game leading into that World Cup? There's no chance of that. So I think that the continuity of messaging for me is important."

 

Andrew McDonald has been appointed as Justin Langer's replacement as the new Australia men's cricket team's head coach on a four-year deal.

McDonald, who has served as Australia's assistant coach since 2019, had been in interim charge of the side since Langer's resignation in February.

The 40-year-old four-time Test all-rounder had been expected to take over from Langer given his popularity among the playing group, who ultimately forced the former coach out.

McDonald took charge of Australia's recent 1-0 three-game Test series victory over Pakistan, while the side lost the ODI series 2-1 and won the sole T20 International.

Cricket Australia (CA) CEO Nick Hockley said that McDonald was the outstanding candidate.

"We interviewed several excellent candidates for this role, which is one of the most important in Australian sport," Hockley said.

"Andrew has already shown he is an outstanding Head Coach and the vision he outlined for the role during the appointment process was both impressive and exciting, making him our clear choice. 

"We are proud of the way the team played and the respect shown throughout the tour of Pakistan under the leadership of Andrew, Pat and Aaron and really pleased Andrew is taking on the role permanently."

McDonald has experience in head coaching, having led Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades previously to all three domestic titles during the 2018-19 season. He has also coached sides in the Indian Premier League and English county cricket.

"I am honoured to be given this incredible opportunity for what is an exciting period ahead," McDonald said.

"The success of the World Cup, the Ashes Series and now Pakistan has been testament to the hard work and leadership of Justin, Pat and Aaron along with the players and the support staff.

"My plan is to build on the growth, depth and experience of the squad while working collectively with the group and across the game.

"There are many challenges in the short term which I know excites the leadership group, the players and the staff. I’d also like to thank my family for their support."

McDonald has been appointed across all three formats but CA noted he may step aside for some white-ball series given the workload of the role.

Australia are due to take on Sri Lanka in all formats in June and July, while they will defend their title on home soil at the T20 World Cup in October and November too.

Aaron Finch's half-century and Ben McDermott's composure proved to be decisive as Australia defeated Pakistan by three wickets in Tuesday's thrilling one-off T20I.

Pakistan won the ODI series thanks in large part to the brilliance of captain Babar Azam and his superb 66 propelled the hosts to a competitive 162-8 in Lahore.

Babar's composure at the crease was much-needed for Pakistan, who lost Mohammad Rizwan (23) and Fakhar Zaman (0) in successive balls to T20I debutant Cameron Green (2-16).

Adam Zampa finally drew a stray shot out of Pakistan's skipper, who picked out Nathan Ellis to leave his side on 118-4.

Having already dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed, Ellis – the pick of Australia's bowlers with 4-28 – then did the damage through Pakistan's middle order, getting rid of the dangerous Khushdil Shah (24), Asif Ali (3) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (0), though Usman Qadir's flurry of 18 not out boosted the hosts.

Travis Head quickly set about getting the tourists' chase on its way, scoring a rapid 26 that included four boundaries before he was sent packing by Haris Rauf.

Josh Inglis (24) kept up the pace until Qadir struck, but Australia seemed well set before Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis and Green were dismissed in the space of 20 balls.

Yet captain Finch anchored the chase as he returned to form following back-to-back ducks in the ODI series, with his steady innings steering Australia into needing 15 runs from three overs.

A costly start to the 18th over from Haris saw McDermott plunder successive boundaries, though the pressure was back on Australia when Finch found Asif in the deep.

Afridi (2-21) rounded off an excellent spell by bowling Sean Abbott for a duck, yet another poor Haris ball handed McDermott the chance to clip away the winning boundary.

Captains come up big

Babar gave yet another exhibition of how he has risen to the top of the batting rankings in another sensational knock - his 66 coming at a strike rate of 143.47.

Yet it was World Cup winner Finch who took the trophy, as he showed plenty of patience to stay at the crease for 18 overs, showing why interim head coach Andrew McDonald backed him to stay on as skipper.

Historic tour comes to a close

It has been a brilliant match-up between Pakistan and Australia over the last month or so and the tourists will finally return home.

Australia have now won each of their past four T20Is against Pakistan, the first time they have gone on such a run, though this was the first meeting in the format between the teams in Pakistan.

Eddie Jones declared England's Test series against Australia a "vital" staging post on the road to the World Cup, as it was revealed the Sydney Cricket Ground will host the potential tour decider.

England trailed home a distant third in the recent Six Nations, winning just two of five matches for the second successive year, and the progress the Rugby Football Union (RFU) would have hoped to witness was difficult to detect.

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup now less than 18 months away, England will be hoping to show significant improvement when they tackle the Wallabies in three July Tests.

The dates and venues for those fixtures were confirmed on Tuesday, with Perth's Optus Stadium hosting the first game on July 2, before the teams battle at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium seven days later.

Sydney's SCG will then put on the third game on July 16, with international rugby returning to the famous cricket venue for the first time since 1986.

England last toured Australia in 2016, when Jones' then Six Nations grand slam winners got up and running with a 39-28 victory at Suncorp Stadium, on their way to a 3-0 series clean sweep.

Jones, England's Australian head coach, must know there will be pressure on his shoulders if his team fail to perform Down Under this time.

For now, the RFU has his back, with chief executive Bill Sweeney continuing to endorse the 62-year-old's leadership.

Jones said: "The Australia tour is a great opportunity for growth for this team and a good challenge at the end of the season.

"It will be the first time many of the younger players have toured abroad with England and it will be vital practice and experience ahead of the World Cup, along with the 2023 Six Nations. We last went there in 2016 and had a very successful tour.

"Australia will be a good challenge for this team. They have rebuilt strongly and they are well coached by Dave Rennie. We're looking forward to getting out there and continuing the development and journey of this England side."

Wallabies boss Rennie, whose side lost to Scotland, England and Wales on tour last November, is also looking to show that Australia can build momentum for the World Cup in France.

Rennie said: "We talk a lot about wanting to challenge ourselves against the best teams in the world and three Test matches in a row against England is the perfect opportunity to do that."

Andrew McDonald has backed out-of-form captain Aaron Finch to lead Australia in the T20 World Cup this year ahead of a one-off match against Pakistan at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.

Opener Finch was dismissed without scoring in the second and third ODIs as the tourists suffered a 2-1 loss to a Babar Azam-inspired Pakistan side last week.

The skipper has not scored an international half-century since last July, but Australia interim head coach McDonald says he remains the man to lead his country when they attempt to defend their T20 World Cup title on home soil.

"From my end, there's no conversation around the [prospect] that he won't be there," said McDonald.

"His form can ebb and flow – like most players' can – and his ability to work through these patches has been significant in his career.

"We had the same conversation about David Warner leading into the T20 World Cup last [year], so all these conversations are going to happen.

"Do we think he's still good enough to play this level? One hundred per cent yes. That's as simple as it gets for us and we're building a team around him as captain.

"It's a pretty significant pillar to be discussing about not being at the T20 World Cup. From our end, we think he can still play at this level, 100 per cent."

Finch will be one of only three players who are set to face Pakistan in Lahore that were part of the side that won the World Cup in Dubai last November.

Australia will be looking for a fourth consecutive T20 win over Pakistan, but they will have their work cut out as the hosts have come out on top in 10 of their past 11 home matches in the shortest format.

Babar a class apart

Captain Babar made back-to-back centuries to give Pakistan a first ODI series win over Australia for 20 years.

The irrepressible skipper has made a staggering three hundreds, as many half-centuries and 36 in his past five knocks for his country - demonstrating his class in all formats.

As the top-ranked player in the world in both white-ball formats, Australia must find a way to remove Babar before he is set.

McDermott and Head vying for opening spot

Either Ben McDermott or Travis Head look set to open with Finch in the only T20 match before Australia head home.

There was good news for the tourists when Ashton Agar and Josh Inglis returned negative COVID-19 tests, while Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green are in contention to make their T20I debuts.

Andrew McDonald refused to commit to wanting the Australia coaching role on a permanent basis after the tour of Pakistan ends as he needs more detail on the job and greater clarity.

Justin Langer guided Australia to a 4-0 Ashes thumping of England after lifting the T20 World Cup in December before rejecting a short-term contract extension with Cricket Australia (CA) in February.

CA's handling of the situation with Langer was widely scrutinised, with McDonald taking up an interim role to lead Australia to Pakistan for the first time since 1998.

Australia have fared well under his stewardship, claiming a 1-0 victory in the three-Test series and going 1-0 up in the three-match ODI series before falling to a 2-1 defeat, including a nine-wicket thrashing in the decider.

McDonald revealed he has held talks with the board about making his tenure permanent but is unwilling to commit to a definitive decision amid uncertainty surrounding the specifics of the role.

"Obviously the congested Test series didn't allow that but with a few more gaps in this one-day series I've had the opportunity to speak with Cricket Australia," McDonald said on Monday.

"Whether that becomes a follow-up conversation we'll wait and see. It will be pretty much like the other people who have no doubt spoken to Cricket Australia.

"Within the chats, there was no great detail or clarity on what the role would look like."

Pressed on whether he would like to take the job on a full-time basis, McDonald – whose influence has been praised by Test captain Pat Cummins – remained unsure.

"It depends on what it looks like, how Cricket Australia see the job unfolding and looking like and we'll get more detail on that going forward," he added.

"I don't really want to openly share what I think it should look like because that might put people in difficult situations throughout the process."

Australia conclude their tour of Pakistan with a one-off T20 on Tuesday and McDonald could have Josh Inglis and Ashton Agar to call upon after the pair recovered from COVID-19.

"[Agar and Inglis] returned their first negative test," he continued.

"They were in our last T20 set-up against Sri Lanka so depending on how they front for training, we will communicate with them on the possibility of playing."

Alyssa Healy produced a record-breaking 170 to guide Australia to their seventh Women's Cricket World Cup but she still believes she is not a "big-game player".

Healy registered the highest score – by a man or woman – in a World Cup final in a superb 138-ball knock, becoming the first player to score a century in both the semi-final and final at the same World Cup.

The wicketkeeper-batter's scintillating outing also ensured she set a record for the most runs scored by a woman in the tournament, taking her tally to an astonishing 509 in Christchurch, as Australia defeated England by 71 runs on Sunday.

But the 32-year-old opener does not think she can be labelled as a player for the big occasions despite her heroics.

"Not sure I'll let you name it. I'll let you find it," Healy told reporters after the final. "But, 'brave'? I just think you've got to be brave to come out in situations like that to be able to play your game.

"You know that the opposition are going to come really hard at you. They want to take your wicket early and you have got to be brave and back your skills.

"So, personally, I'm really proud of that. I still don't think I'm a big-game player. So, turn that down, but you have just got to be brave to be able to do it."

Healy became the first player – man or woman – to hit 150 or more in the final of a world tournament, and she acknowledged that the victory means even more after failing to make the World Cup final in 2017.

"I don't think I've ever dreamt of anything like that before, I can guarantee you that," she added.

"But I'm just really proud to have been able to contribute to this win. I messaged Pez [Ellyse Perry] this morning when I found out she was in the XI and I said, like, 'I just want to be a part of it. I really want this. I want to contribute to this win and to be able to do that was really special.

"I ran drinks the whole 2013 World Cup. You know we didn't make the final in 2017. So, for me, this trophy means a lot and to be able to turn up at the back end and go all right in the last two games means a whole heap."

The records continued to tumble for Healy, whose 170 also surpassed Adam Gilchrist's 149 in 2007 as the highest score in a World Cup final by an Australian wicketkeeper-batter, but she remains uninterested in those achievements.

"That's pretty cool, [but] I'm not in the game for that sort of stuff. Getting our team into a winning position was the most important thing," she responded on Gilchrist's record.

"I guess one day when I retire and I reflect on my career, it's a moment that I can kind of remember and cherish that. I always looked up to Adam Gilchrist; Uncle Ian [Healy] first, but then Adam Gilchrist, so to knock him off the pedestal - sorry about that - but I'm sure he'll appreciate it."

Alyssa Healy made history by producing one of the greatest ODI innings as Australia beat England by 71 runs to win the Women's Cricket World Cup for a seventh time.

Healy crafted a magnificent 170 – a record score by a woman or man in a World Cup final – as Australia racked up a mammoth 356-5 after Heather Knight won the toss and opted to field at Hagley Oval on Sunday.

The wicketkeeper-batter struck 26 boundaries in an outstanding 138-ball knock, becoming the first player to score a century in both the semi-final and final at the same World Cup.

Healy's masterclass also ensured she set a record for the most runs scored by a woman in a World Cup, taking her tally to an astonishing 509 in Christchurch.

Rachael Haynes (68) and Healy got Australia off to a dream start with an opening stand of 160 before number three Beth Mooney made 62 off only 47 balls.

Healy's epic knock was finally ended by Anya Shrubsole (3-46) in the 46th over, the centurion stumped by Amy Jones.

Defending champions England faced a massive run chase and Nat Sciver ensured they might make a good fight of it, scoring a brilliant unbeaten 148.

Sciver was left stranded, though, as opener Tammy Beaumont was the second-highest scorer with only 27.

Alana King (3-64), Jess Jonassen (3-57) and Megan Schutt (2-42) did the bulk of the damage as Australia regained the title.

Babar Azam hailed Pakistan's "historic" series win over Australia after scoring another century in a nine-wicket victory.

Pakistan bowled Australia all out for 210 before comfortably chasing down their target, thanks largely to the efforts of top-order batsmen Babar (105 not out) and Imam-ul-Haq (89 not out).

Babar also recorded triple figures in Pakistan's second ODI victory on Thursday, and his consecutive centuries proved decisive in the hosts beating Australia in back-to-back home ODIs for the first time since 1982.

Writing on Twitter after his crucial haul, Babar referred to his team-mates as "superstars" and thanked Pakistan's fans for their support in Lahore.

"A historic series win for Pakistan," wrote Babar, who has now plundered 16 ODI career centuries.

"[I] couldn't have asked for more from my pack of superstars, excellent performances from Imam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf.

"To all our fans, thank you so much for your massive support!"

Pakistan head coach Saqlain Mushtaq posted: "This is historical, winning the ODI series against Australia 2-1 at home.

"Some phenomenal performances [were] witnessed by the batsmen and bowlers. Keep supporting our great Pakistan!"

Before failing to remove either Babar or Imam as they struggled with the ball, Australia lost their highest run-scorer of the series, Travis Head, to the first delivery of their own innings, leaving skipper Aaron Finch to bemoan a failure to set their hosts a more difficult target.

"We didn't get enough runs," Finch told reporters. "When you go three down in the first few overs, it's always going to be hard to get a big total."

Babar Azam scored another century as Pakistan beat Australia by nine wickets in Saturday's third ODI to claim a 2-1 series victory.

The Pakistan skipper registered triple figures in the hosts' thrilling second ODI win on Thursday and followed that up with an unbeaten 105 in the decider at Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan bowled their opponents all out for 210 and comfortably chased down their target in 37.5 overs thanks to Babar (105 not out) and Imam-ul-Haq (89 not out).

It marks the first time Pakistan have beaten Australia in back-to-back home ODIs since 1982, and the first time the Aussies have lost successive games in the format since 2020.

Aaron Finch and Travis Head were both removed by Pakistan for ducks and, while Ben McDermott (36) and top-scorer Alex Carey chipped away, the latter could only reach 56.

Haris Rauf in particular impressed with the ball, finishing with figures of 3-39, though Sean Abbott's 49 near the end of the innings did at least give Australia something to defend.

Zakhar Zaman was dismissed by pacer Nathan Ellis in the fourth over, but he had put on 17 runs by that point and Pakistan were 24-1.

Indeed, that proved to be the only wicket Australia managed to take as Babar and Imam-ul-Haq shared a 190-run partnership.

Imam's unbeaten 89 included six fours and one six, while Babar hit 12 fours to seal a dominant victory in Lahore.

Babar leads the way

Following this latest impressive display of leadership, Babar has now registered four centuries and three half centuries from nine ODI innings in Pakistan.

The 27-year-old has 16 ODI hundreds overall in 84 innings, second among Pakistan players only to Saeed Anwar, who has 20 in 244 innings.

Australia struggle with bat and ball

Australia used seven different bowlers through the Pakistan innings and none of them were able to make the key breakthrough by removing Babar or Imam.

The tone had been set a lot earlier in the day when, having been put in to bat first, the tourists lost Head, their highest run-scorer of the series, to the very first ball.

Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq hit centuries as Pakistan battled to a six-wicket victory over Australia on Thursday to level up their three-match ODI series at 1-1.

Australia won by 88 runs in Tuesday's opener and looked good value to claim a series win when posting 348-8 from their 50 overs at Gaddafi Stadium.

But led by inspirational skipper Azam (114) and Imam-ul-Haq (106), Pakistan claimed a gripping victory that was sealed by Iftikhar Ahmed (11 not out) with an over to spare.

The victory is Pakistan's first over Australia in 11 ODIs – coming from their highest ever successful ODI chase – and sets up a decider in Lahore on Saturday.

The tourists were cruising at 237-2, despite losing Aaron Finch for a duck, with Ben McDermott becoming the 50th different Australia player to register an ODI century.

Travis Head put on 89 runs and Marcus Stoinis 49 either side of McDermott (104), while Marnus Labuschagne (59) also registered a half-century, but Pakistan soon hit back.

McDermott was finally caught off pacer Mohammad Wasim and, after Alex Carey and Cameron Green fell for five each, Sean Abbott kept his side ticking over with a 16-ball 28.

Australia would have been disappointed to fall below the 400-runs mark, however, with Shaheen Afridi finishing with figures of 4-63, while Wasim took 2-56.

That 349-run target looked even more attainable when Pakistan reached 118 inside 19 overs before Fakhar Zaman (67) was sent packing by Stoinis out of nowhere.

Babar entered the fray at that point alongside Imam-ul-Haq and the pair put the hosts well on their way to a famous win, though momentum was halted slightly when the latter was caught by Labuschagne off Adam Zampa.

Babar was next to go and Zampa then took Mohammad Rizwan (23), but Khushdil Shah (27 not out) and Ahmed saw out the job to keep the series alive.

McDermott century not enough

Seeking an 11th successive ODI win over Pakistan, Australia must have felt they had done enough when McDermott and Head piled on 162 off 144 balls for the second wicket.

But Afridi, who missed the first clash with a knee injury, added to his golden duck of Finch by taking the wickets of Green, Stoinis and Abbott in the space of four overs.

Babar surpasses Azhar

Proving he is the right man for any occasion, Babar's century saw him overtake Azhar Ali for the most ODI hundreds as Pakistan skipper.

Indeed, after hitting 114 off 83 balls – which included 11 fours and one six – Babar is now level with Mohammad Yousuf (15) for the second-most hundreds for Pakistan in 50-over internationals.

Australia were unable to finish on a high in the third round of World Cup qualifying as they fell to a 1-0 defeat in a dead rubber against Saudi Arabia in Jeddah. 

A 2-0 loss to Japan last Thursday ended the Socceroos' hopes of earning automatic qualification to Qatar 2022 with Salem-Al Dawsari's second-half penalty securing top spot in Group B for the Green Falcons. 

Awer Mabil narrowly missed the target from Martin Boyle's cross in the 12th minute and the latter had a goal ruled out following a lengthy VAR review shortly before half-time. 

Graham Arnold replaced Bruno Fornaroli with debutant Nicholas D'Agostino at half-time but Saudi Arabia continued to control possession. 

The hosts were awarded a penalty when James Jeggo clipped Sami Al Najei and Al Dawsari coolly guided the spot-kick into the bottom-right corner. 

Australia did not go close to finding an equaliser – Ajdin Hrustic wasted their best opportunity – and needed Mat Ryan to stop Firas Al Buraikan making it 2-0 in the final 10 minutes.

The Socceroos must now take on the United Arab Emirates for a place in an intercontinental play-off against a South American team, where a place in Qatar will be on the line. 

Travis Head and Adam Zampa starred as Australia sealed an 88-run victory in the first ODI of their three-match series against Pakistan.

A depleted Australia batted first in Lahore, and their total of 313-7 proved beyond Pakistan's reach, despite Imam-ul-Haq making 103.

Head was the main Australian aggressor with a brilliant 101 from 72 deliveries that propelled the tourists to 171 by the time he was dismissed in the 25th over, with captain Aaron Finch (23) having played a supporting role in an opening partnership of 110.

Ben McDermott provided support with his maiden ODI half-century, though Australia lost three wickets for 21 runs in the space of seven overs as McDermott (55), Marnus Labuschagne (25) and Alex Carey (four) fell.

A flurry from Cameron Green, who hit four boundaries in a knock of 40 not out from 30 balls, gave Australia a competitive total to defend.

Fakhar Zaman was dismissed for 18 in the fifth over of Pakistan's reply, but Imam and skipper Babar Azam steadied the innings before the latter was trapped lbw by Mitchell Swepson.

Babar's steady 57 from 72 balls summed up Pakistan's issues, though, with the hosts unable to match the required run rate early in the innings.

Quick losses of Saud Shakeel (3), Mohammad Rizwan (10) and Iftikhar Ahmed (2) further damaged Pakistan's chances, despite Imam's fine work in reaching his eighth ODI century.

Imam's ton included nine boundaries, but he was then bowled by Nathan Ellis, shortly after Pakistan passed 200 with just five wickets down.

Zampa bowled Hasan Ali and Mohammad Wasim to bring up 100 ODI wickets and then moved onto 101 when Khushdil Shah lofted to Carey, with Swepson rounding things off.

Travis makes headway

It took Head just 70 deliveries to reach his second century in a 50-over match, which is the eighth-quickest in the format by an Australian batter, and the fastest against Pakistan by an Australian in an ODI.

His stay came to an end when he hit Shah to Iftikhar, while he also contributed to the bowling attack with figures of 2-35.

Zampa gets his ton

Dropped in and out of the attack by Finch, Zampa bowled superbly to finish with four wickets for 38 runs, becoming the 18th Australian bowler to take 100 ODI wickets.

While the pick of the bunch for Pakistan was Haris Rauf (2-44), Zampa spearheaded Australia as the tourists kept Pakistan's big hitters Imam and Babar – who became the second-fastest Pakistan batter to reach 4,000 ODI runs – scoring at a slow pace.

Aaron Finch stated that inexperience is no excuse for Australia not to target victory in their one-day series against Pakistan.

Australia edged out a hard-fought Test series 1-0, in what was an emotional tour for a variety of off-field reasons.

Three ODIs, originally scheduled to be held in Rawalpindi only to be moved to Lahore due to political unrest in Pakistan, now await before a solitary Twenty20.

The results will factor into the World Super League, with Australia sitting in seventh place, three spots above Babar Azam's team.

Australia have only played four ODIs since December 2020, and the last of those was back in July against West Indies.

They are also without some key names. Steve Smith has been ruled out due to an elbow injury, while Kane Richardson has been left at home to nurse a hamstring issue. Test captain Pat Cummins will not feature, and neither will Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner or Glenn Maxwell.

On Monday, meanwhile, Finch was dealt a further blow by news of a hip injury for Mitchell Marsh, who will miss the first match, and that wicketkeeper Josh Inglis had tested positive for COVID-19. Yet the T20 World Cup-winning skipper was in no mood to make excuses.

"Our goal 100 per cent is to win this series," Finch told reporters.

"We still feel like we have a squad to do that even though it is inexperienced. At times that can be a blessing because you have guys who can play freely and express themselves.

"It's about trying to build the depth of the squad and build experience in players. It's a really good opportunity. With every decision we make there is one eye towards the 50-over World Cup and to tie everything back to that is really important."

 

Cameron Green, who impressed in the Tests but has played just one ODI, will replace Marsh in the first ODI, while Alex Carey is set to slot in behind the stumps.

"Cam will play and probably bat in that middle-order role," Finch said. "We've seen he's a super talented cricketer. He's someone who has been quite consistent in his Test career, his impact with the bat and ball can't be understated. Really excited for Cam to get that opportunity."

Finch closing in on Warner and Waugh

Finch has not been in the best of form as of late. He last played an ODI in December 2020, against India, while he only scored above 10 on two occasions in the five-match T20 series against Sri Lanka earlier in 2022.

However, the 35-year-old is only one century away from equalling Warner and Mark Waugh on 18 ODI tons, which would put him joint-second on Australia's all-time list, behind Ricky Ponting, who is way ahead on 29.

Finch at least heads into the series knowing Australia have a fine record against Pakistan in 50-over matches, having won 15 of their last 16 such meetings, including triumphing in their last nine on the bounce, with the sole defeat coming in January 2017.

Australia also like playing in Lahore, winning four of their seven ODIs at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Finch's hopes of improving his place in the Aussie record books are also boosted by the fact that Australian batters have scored nine ODI centuries since the start of 2020, which is second only to South Africa (10) in that timeframe.

 

Another milestone approaches for Babar 

Finch's counterpart Babar batted well in the Test series, scoring a brilliant 196 in the second match and amassing 122 runs across his two innings in the final game, albeit to no avail.

The Pakistan captain needs just 15 runs to become the 15th player from his country to register 4,000 in ODIs. Should he manage it in his next innings, he will become the second-fastest batter to reach the milestone (82 matches), after Hashim Amla (81).

Babar and Pakistan will have to watch Adam Zampa closely. The spinner is just three wickets away from becoming Australia's 18th bowler to take 100 in 50-over cricket, while his best figures against Pakistan were 4-43 in March 2019.

The hosts, too, are blooding new players. Uncapped duo Asif Afridi and Mohammad Harris have been called up, while Abdullah Shafique, who scored 397 runs across six innings in the Test series, is in line for his ODI debut.

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