ABU DHABI – Skipper Aaron Finch fell 10 short of his third consecutive hundred but still took Australia to 266-6 in the third one-day international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
The right-handed opener scored 90 off 136 balls with five boundaries and a six to anchor Australia -- who won the toss and opted to bat -- after light rain delayed the start by 15 minutes at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Finch, who scored 116 and 153 not out in Australia's eight wicket wins in the first two matches -- could have been the first Australian to score three hundreds in as many ODIs.
Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara holds the record of most successive hundreds with four while nine other batsmen (none from Australia) have struck three consecutive hundreds in ODI cricket.
Glenn Maxwell (55-ball 71 with eight boundaries and a six) gave the total its final touches.
Finch holed out to leg-spinner Yasir Shah in the 42nd over but he had once again built the innings.
Australia started shakily and lost opener Usman Khawaja off just the fifth ball, bowled for nought by Usman Shinwari.
Junaid Khan dismissed Shaun Marsh for 14 to leave Australia struggling at 20-2 but Finch added 84 for the third wicket with Peter Handscomb (43-ball 47 with six boundaries) to help his team recover.
Finch added another 36 with Marcus Stoinis (10) and 48 for the fifth wicket with Maxwell.
Maxwell and Alex Carey (25 not out) put on quick 61 for the sixth wicket as Australia hit 90 in the last 10 overs.
Australia, who lead the five-match series 2-0, brought in fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff to replace injured Jhye Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Pakistan included Shinwari and Junaid in place of Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Abbas.AFP