Cricket News

Pakistan reeling at 87-8 in reply to Australia's 429​

Skipper Steve Smith and rookie Peter Handscomb posted centuries to set a platform before the pacemen went to work under lights.

Published: 16th December 2016 01:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2016 06:52 PM   |  A+A-

By Associated Press

BRISBANE: Skipper Steve Smith and rookie Peter Handscomb posted centuries to set a platform before the pacemen went to work under lights, having Pakistan reeling at 97-8 and setting Australia on course for a big first-innings lead in the first day-night test at the Gabba.

A total of 15 wickets fell on Friday after Australia resumed the second day at 288-3.

Handscomb (105) produced his maiden test century, Smith scored 130 and the last-wicket pair of Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird added 49 to lift the total to 429 in a partnership that frustrated the Pakistan bowling attack.

In the last 40 minutes of the middle session, Mitchell Starc (3-45) dismissed opener Azhar Ali (5) as Pakistan endured a difficult start to the innings in fading light.

Sami Aslam (22) and Babar Azam (19) combined to get the total up to 43-1 before Josh Hazlewood (3-19) struck twice on consecutive balls to trigger the collapse. Pakistan then lost 7-24 before Sarfraz Ahmed (31) and Mohammad Amir (8) combined in an unbroken 30-run stand to ensure the visitors batted until stumps.

Hazlewood removed Azam with the third-last ball of the 20th over, caught by Smith at second slip, and had Younis Khan (0) caught behind with the next. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (4) survived the hat-trick ball but was out six overs later when he edged Bird to slip, ensuring all Australia's fast bowlers chipped in.

Starc returned to dismiss Asad Shafiq and Aslam's gritty defiance ended in the next over when Bird, during a nine-over spell that netted two wickets for seven runs, had him caught behind to make the total 56-6.

Hazlewood took a return catch to remove Wahab Riaz and Starc took the last wicket of the day, getting Yasir Shah caught by Usman Khawaja at third slip.

The Australian fielding was almost flawless, with Khawaja at third slip, Smith at second and Matt Renshaw at first holding some sharp catches, a contrast to the error-riddled fielding performance from the Pakistan lineup which put down at least three regulation chances — two against Smith.

The only blemish on the Australian fielding was a missed stumping chance by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade in the next-to-last over.

Handscomb said the difference between the first and second nights of the test was the way the Australian fast bowlers combined to produce seam, swing and a nagging line and length.

Wahab, meanwhile, said the dropped fielding — particularly the dropped catches when Smith was on 53 and the failure to appeal when the Australian captain edged one from Amir on 97 — had been costly.

Amir and Wahab ended up taking four wickets apiece, and were on top of the Australian batsmen for a period of the second day when six wickets fell for 57. But the tailenders batted for long enough to ensure Pakistan wouldn't get a long period in the daylight to prepare for their first session facing the pink ball under lights in Australia.

The Australians haven't lost a test at the Brisbane ground since 1988, while Pakistan has never won a test at the venue. After two days, the match appears to be going with traditional form.

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