Travis Head hit a blistering century and leg-spinner Adam Zampa grabbed 4-38 to lift Australia to an 88-run victory over Pakistan in the first ODI in Lahore on Tuesday.
Head hammered 101 off 72 balls and propelled Australia to an impressive 313-7 after they were left with only 13 fit players hours before the start of the three-match series.
Opening batter Imam-ul-Haq made 103 off 93 balls — his eighth ODI hundred — and captain Babar Azam labored for 72 deliveries to get 57 before second-string Australia bowled out Pakistan for 225 in 45.2 overs.
Imam and Babar struggled to pace the chase in a 96-run second wicket stand before leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson had him trapped leg before wicket in the 25th over. Babar became the second-fastest batter in ODIs to complete 4,000 runs, doing it in 82 innings, behind South African Hashim Amla (81 innings).
Zampa and Head, who picked up 2-35 with his off-spin bowling, then ran through the middle and lower order on a wicket which offered plenty of turn to the spinners.
Imam hit six boundaries and three sixes before he was clean bowled by debutant fast bowler Nathan Ellis in the 38th over as Zampa wrapped up the tail quickly through his sharp googlies and leg-spin.
With several leading Australian players being rested for the white-ball series in Pakistan, Ashton Agar was ruled out hours before the toss on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19. Josh Inglis had been ruled out Monday when the wicketkeeper-batter was also tested positive.
Head provided Australia a strong platform with his blistering hundred off 70 balls — the left-handed batter's second ODI century against Pakistan after Babar won the toss and opted to field.
Ben McDermott hit his maiden ODI half-century before he was run out for 55 off 70 balls while attempting a needless run off a misfield, but Head punished Pakistan fast bowlers after successfully overturning an lbw decision off debutant Mohammad Wasim's fourth delivery.
Australia's fast-emerging new all-rounder Cameron Green provided a late flourish to the innings with an unbeaten 40 off 33 balls as Pakistan hit back after claiming the key wicket of Head at the stroke of halfway mark.
Head had struggled in Australia's 1-0 historic win in the Test series against Pakistan but exhibited an array of shots against Pakistan fast bowlers early on by smashing 10 boundaries off his first 32 deliveries in his first ODI since November 2019.
Captain Aaron Finch struggled to get going during his 23-run knock in a 110-run Head-dominated opening stand with the left-hander playing some fluent drives — especially on the off side of the wicket.
Head tried to break the shackles and smashed debutant leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood for a big six in his first over before wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan grabbed an edge off Australia skipper on the second attempt to give Mahmood his first ODI wicket.
Head hit 12 fours and three sixes in his fastest ODI century for Australia against Pakistan before holing out at long off while attempting a lofted drive against off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed. Pakistan pegged back Australia in the later half of the innings through Haris Rauf (2-44) and Mahmood, who came back strongly after leaking 30 runs off his first three overs and finished with 2-59.