Australia have strong grip in 2nd test match

KARACHI, Mar 14 (APP): Pakistan were struggling at the National Stadium as Australia put a stranglehold over the second Test of the three-Test Benaud-Qadir Trophy here on Monday.
When stumps were drawn on the third day’s play, Australia were 81 for one in their second innings after they had earlier declared their first innings at 556 for nine in 189 overs, Australia then took 53 overs to skittle out Pakistan for 148.
Usman Khawaja on 35 and Marnus Labuschagne on 37 will resume Australia’s second innings on Tuesday with the tourists enjoying a commanding 489 runs lead and eight second innings wickets in hand.
National Stadium was considered Pakistan’s happy hunting ground until the 34th Test when they suffered their first defeat by six wickets against England in 2000. Four Tests later in 2007, South Africa won the Test by 160 runs and now, 15 years and three Tests later, third defeat looms large for Pakistan.
Australia, after making Pakistan bowlers toil for the first two days, resumed on Monday at the overnight score of 505 for eight and added 51 runs in nine overs to declare at 556 for nine. Skipper Pat Cummins, who was yet to get off the mark, finished unbeaten with 34 on 36 balls with two fours and three sixes, while last-man Mitchell Swepson returned not out on 15.
Following an impressive batting display in Rawalpindi last week, Pakistan batters were expected to put up a strong performance on a placid track but their innings never got going. Average shot-selection and poor running between the wickets made batting suddenly look difficult as Australia bowled targeted the three sticks.
Rawalpindi Test centurions Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali made fatal errors that put pressure on the unexposed middle-order that ultimately resulted in the crumbling of the middle-order against a world-class and accurate bowling attack.
The fact that the last-wicket partnership of 30 runs was the highest of the innings tells a sorry tale of Pakistan’s innings.
Abdullah (13) was run-out after a mix-up with Imam (20) who gave Nathan Lyon his only wicket by holing out to Cummins at mid-on. Azhar Ali attempted a wide drive against Mitchell Starc delivery and ended up being caught in the second slips, a dismissal that opened all floodgates as Pakistan slipped from 60 for two to 102 for eight.
Fawad Alam earned a duck when he was pinned in front of the wickets off Starc while Mohammad Rizwan (six) was caught at the wicket off Cummins. Faheem Ashraf lasted 7 balls for his four before being trapped in front of the wickets while trying to play Cameron Green across the line. Sajid Khan got the finest of outside edges to be declared caught behind off Starc who ended with figures of three for 29.
Hasan Ali was caught napping and failed to beat Labuschagne’s throw to be run-out before Babar Azam gave debutant Mitchell Swepson his first Test wicket when the Pakistan captain was caught at long-off by Khawaja. Babar top scored with 36 from 79 balls with three fours.
With Pakistan 118 for nine, Nauman Ali (20 not out) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (19) added 30 runs to help the home side reach 148.
After securing 408 runs first innings lead, Australia decided against enforcing a follow-on and scored at a run-rate of 4.76 to complete a satisfying day at 81 for one.
With a lead of 489 runs already in the bag, Australia are expected to bat in the first session before pushing for victory by putting Pakistan into bat who can save their blushes by putting up an improved batting performance.

APP Services