SHARJAH // Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, praised his side after they bounced back from their humbling in England to claim a 2-1 one-day international series win over Pakistan in Sharjah this morning.
The tourists defied sweltering heat and a four-pronged Pakistan spin attack to chase down a victory target of 245 with three wickets in hand in the decider.
Veteran Mike Hussey led the pursuit with a composed 65, while 23-year-old rookie Glenn Maxwell underlined his growing status with a fearless unbeaten 56, from 38 balls, to secure the win.
Maxwell, who was one of the few Australian batsmen to dominate mystery spinner Saeed Ajmal (three for 37), finished the game with a towering six after reaching his maiden half-century.
It meant Australia immediately got back to winning ways following their 4-0 reverse against England this summer, which saw them relinquish top spot in the ODI rankings.
"It's very special, obviously after our defeat in England," Clarke said.
"You know, we worked really hard before coming on this series. We were up in Darwin as a team and worked hard against spin bowling.
"I think we found conditions again so different to what we tried to prepare for up in Darwin, especially with the heat - I've never played in heat like this and humidity like this.
"What the most pleasing thing is - the whole series was won by the whole team, it wasn't one individual player that won tonight and that won us this series.
"It was a tough victory against a very good one-day team in Pakistan and you won't get the smile off this face, that's for sure."
The Australians were in trouble early in their run chase, after Ajmal bamboozled the top order and took three quick wickets.
But after a shaky start to his knock, man-of-the-match Hussey delivered when it mattered once again, making 65 to put his side on top, and Clarke paid tribute to the 37-year-old batsman.
"We don't win tonight and we don't win the series - so it's always a pleasure having him in the team and he continues to perform consistently," he said.
Clarke also hailed the efforts of paceman Mitchell Starc, whose four wickets in the third match earned him the man-of-the-series award following his five-wicket haul in the opener.
"He's had a great series and deserves man of the series. Conditions - there hasn't been much for fast bowlers at all," he said.
"As a batter, you'd look forward to facing fast bowlers at any opportunity.
"I think he deserves a lot of credit, Starcy. He's made the most of his opportunity."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq lamented his side's third straight series loss, insisting his players must pick up their game.
"We have to improve in every department," he said afterwards.
"We have to find ways of getting the right combination of fast bowlers and we have to improve our batting and fielding.
"At important stages we collapse and we mess up chances in fielding and we have to improve in those areas."
Meanwhile, young quick Alister McDermott is set to remain with the squad for the three-match Twenty20 series, which begins in Dubai tomorrow.
"The National Selection Panel have decided that Alister McDermott will remain in the UAE and be added to Australia's T20 squad for the three T20s on Australia's VB tour of the UAE," national selector John Inverarity said.
"Alister has acclimatised to the conditions and after some tight matches in very hot and humid conditions we feel it is worth keeping him with the group as an extra pace bowling option if required."
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