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PAK V AUS TEST: Australia’s fight on rain-hit Day 1

PAK V AUS TEST: Australia's fight on rain-hit Day 1

PAK V AUS TEST: Australia’s fight on rain-hit Day 1:

Marnus Liebschen scored an unbeaten 44 off 120 balls to give a rain-hit Australia the lead on the first day of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. As the overheads decided to alternate between bright sunshine and gloom, the inconsistency of Pakistan’s bowlers cost them dearly as they managed just three wickets at stumps, with 187 runs on the board for Australia. PAK V AUS TEST

PAK V AUS TEST Toss:

Shaun Masood’s success in the toss allowed Australia to bat first. But much to the visitors’ chagrin, the sun soon shone as overcast conditions greeted both captains in the toss. Pakistan still had an early window of opportunity with the new ball moving around but was unable to capitalize on it as they squandered a straightforward chance that came early in the third over. David Warner was expertly squared by Shaheen Afridi but Abdullah Shafiq dropped a setter at slip. The gray clouds parted and the two Australian openers became quite comfortable and started scoring runs quickly after the drinks break.

Agha Salman forced Warner:

They were all set to head to lunch unscathed when, against the run of play, Agha Salman forced Warner to slip. This time there was no stopping as Babar Azam completed the catch. When play resumed after lunch, the desperate conditions returned and batting became a struggle. With Khawaja departing early in the second session, Australia had two of its best grafters during such adversities – Libeschen and Steve Smith – to get through a period where the ball was constantly swinging and the game was crowded. She used to bring a slip cordon.

Shaheen Afridi:

Shaheen Afridi kept both the batsmen on their toes but neither buckled down and succumbed to the pressure of the passing game, which scored just six runs from 57 balls since Khawaja’s dismissal. It looked like the reward for their hard bowling was just around the corner for Pakistan, but instead rain brought an early end to the session, with just 15.3 overs played.

PAK V AUS TEST Final Session:

When the action finally resumed for the final session, Pakistan’s quicks were back in the game as they continued to pound the outside edge of Smith’s bat. The former captain struggled as Amir Jamal continuously invited him to drive, testing his resolve along the outside off-stump line. Smith’s wicket-taking ball was close to the off-stump as the Australian batsman looked to defend it after defending it. There wasn’t much appeal from the keeper but Jamal was convinced and pushed Masood to take the review. It proved to be an excellent decision as replays showed a faint spike on the speedometer, leaving Smith with 26 off 75 balls.

PAK V AUS TEST three wickets:

Travis Head took a full toss over his shoulder from Afridi and a ball – just next – that cut it in half and almost took it out over the off-stump but the left-hander survived. He kept Labuschagne company at stumps for the next 8.1 overs. It was a day of missed opportunities for Pakistan as the inconsistency of their pacers meant they had just three wickets to show for it at the end.

Brief Scores: Australia 187/3 (Marins Libeschen 44*, Usman Khawaja 42, David Warner 38; Agha Salman 1-2) v Pakistan

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