Pak­istan knuckle down in fight to save pink-ball Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

BRIS­BANE: Pak­istan were in a backs-to-the-wall strug­gle to save the day-night first Test as Australia took a stran­gle-hold on the third day at the Gabba yes­ter­day. At the close, the tourists were hang­ing in at 70 for two with Azhar Ali not out 41 and 112-Test vet­eran You­nis Khan not off the mark af­ter fac­ing 19 balls. Pak­istan trailed by 419 runs.

Pak­istan made a much bet­ter fist of play­ing in the tricky twi­light ses­sion with the pink ball los­ing just two wick­ets af­ter their cat­a­strophic seven for 24 in the first in­nings on the pre­vi­ous evening. The open­ers lasted into the 12th over be­fore Starc got Sami As­lam to edge to Matt Ren­shaw at first slip for 15. Babar Azam fell to spin­ner Nathan Lyon in the fi­nal half-hour when he edged to Steve Smith at slip for 14.

It was slow go­ing but at least the tourists were not shed­ding wick­ets in clumps to keep the Aus­tralians at bay and still with two long days to play. “We have had some very good part­ner­ships and we are hope­ful of get­ting some more part­ner­ships,” Pak­istan bats­man Asad Shafiq said. “We are tak­ing this game step by step, hour by hour, and we are look­ing for the good bat­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties here.”

Australia will be press­ing hard on Sun­day’s fourth day to win the se­ries opener where they have yet to lose at the Gabba in 27 Tests stretch­ing back to 1988.

“We wanted to have a crack at them at night time,” se­nior bats­man Us­man Khawaja said, ex­plain­ing Australia’s de­ci­sion not to en­force the fol­low-on. “We wanted to try and get a big lead, give our bowlers another lit­tle rest, it’s tough for the bowlers to back up in the hot hu­mid con­di­tions. “We’ve got two days and they need to chase 400-odd, you al­ways want to be in this po­si­tion, but we’ve got to do a lot of hard work early to­mor­row.”

THWARTED BY TECH­NOL­OGY

The high­est win­ning run chase in the fourth in­nings at the Gabba stands at 236 for seven by Australia against the West Indies in 1951. But Pak­istan will have to go well be­yond the record high­est-ever Test run chase of 418 for seven set by the West Indies against Australia in An­tigua in 2003. Skip­per Smith chose not to en­force the fol­low-on af­ter Pak­istan were dis­missed for 142 in the first ses­sion, even though they were 287 runs in

front on the first in­nings. In­stead Australia amassed a for­mi­da­ble lead over the be­lea­guered tourists to set up a dec­la­ra­tion dur­ing the din­ner break to cap­i­talise on bowl­ing in the fi­nal twi­light ses­sion. Smith went af­ter the runs and brought up his 19th Test half-cen­tury off 59 balls with his eye on a dec­la­ra­tion.

But he was caught at long-on by Ra­hat Ali go­ing for a heave off leg-spin­ner Yasir Shah for 63 off 70 balls with 11 fours. Khawaja, out cheaply for four in the first in­nings, cracked 74 off 109 balls be­fore he was splen­didly caught by Mis­bah-ul-Haq off Ra­hat near­ing the din­ner break. Nic Maddin­son once again failed and was out for four off just three balls be­fore he was caught off Wa­hab Riaz.

Both the Aus­tralian open­ers were out be­fore tea. David Warner fell for 12 when he went to hit Mo­ham­mad Amir through mid­wicket only to mis­cue his pull shot to Wa­hab Riaz at mid-on, while Matthew Ren­shaw was caught at sec­ond slip off Ra­hat Ali for six.

Ear­lier Pak­istan’s last two part­ner­ships bat­tled for al­most an hour be­fore they were all out for 142. Wick­et­keeper Sar­fraz Ahmed top scored with a fight­ing un­beaten 59 off 64 balls as the tourists added 45 runs to their overnight to­tal 97 for eight. Sar­fraz and Mo­ham­mad Amir put on a stub­born 54 runs for the ninth wicket be­fore Amir was ad­ju­di­cated caught be­hind off a faint edge, de­tected by Hot Spot.

Tech­nol­ogy again thwarted Pak­istan when af­ter re­peated re­plays Ra­hat Ali was given run out by Warner for four. Re­plays showed that Ra­hat’s bat was mil­lime­tres off the ground when the bails were dis­lodged by Warner’s throw from mid-off.

— AFP

BRIS­BANE: Pak­istan’s spin bowler Yasir Shah (R) dives to filed a ball played by Australia’s bats­man Steven Smith (C) dur­ing the third day-night cricket Test match be­tween Australia and Pak­istan in Bris­bane yes­ter­day.

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