‘‘It’s a bit surreal at the minute. It’s all moving a bit fast,’’ Abbott told Fox Sports at the innings break.
‘‘I’ve dreamt about it for a while. It’s been a long time but it’s just good to be back around the group.’’
Starc and Abbott bowled with intent in the opening overs as Pakistan captain Babar Azam looked the man mostly likely to bat the visitors to a big total.
In the third over Babar launched onto the front foot and hit Starc for four. There was fire in his eyes but the next ball he was gone as Starc’s in-swinger hit him in front of leg stump and he was out lbw.
A review was inconclusive so it went with the umpire’s decision.
It proved the turning point beginning and the next delivery was an unplayable yorker from Starc that clean bowled Muhammad Rizwan leaving the visitors at 2-15.
Abbott looked every bit the bowler who has starred in Big Bash in recent seasons and he forced Iman ul-Haq to sky one soon after and he was caught by Ben McDermott.
Abbott was elated and that energy was clearly transferring to his teammates as Kane Richardson, Ashton Agar and Billy Stanlake all left Pakistan bat themselves into trouble either with poor shots or missing the ball all together.
The exception was Iftikhar Ahmed who looked the one visitor comfortable in the conditions making 45 off 37 balls and giving his side a chance at a defendable total until he mistimed a pull shot and put it down Starc’s throat in the deep.
Richardson’s third wicket came after his relieved skipper Aaron Finch juggled the catch while Abbott was the beneficiary of some superb outfielding as Agar dove low to catch a shot from Imad Wasim.
Pakistan weren’t bowled out but they may as well have been as Richardson and Abbott’s disciplined bowling drew repeated miscues from the tail-enders with the innings finishing on 8-106.
Warner and fellow opener Finch both had scares in the first over as Warner chopped at a half volley from Mohammad Amir which went for six, but only because Hasnain ran off the boundary and had the ball go over his head.
Two balls later Ul-Haq’s diving effort caught the Australians off-guard but with both out of their crease he threw to the bowlers end and missed the stumps, giving Finch a life.
The pair batted out the innings to seal the game and the series.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.