Pakistan leads 1st test by 189 after 3 days
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan stretched its lead to a commanding 189 runs after inexperienced spinners Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar dismissed Australia for 303 on the third day of the first test on Friday.
Opening batsmen Ahmed Shehzad, 22 not out, and Azhar Ali, 16 not out, guided the home team to 38 without loss at stumps, after Pakistan pushed Australia into a tight corner with a solid 151-run, first-innings lead.
Legspinner Shah, playing his first test, chipped in with 3-66 while left-arm spinner Babar claimed 2-81 in only his third test as they predictably exposed Australia’s vulnerability on a subcontinent-like slow pitch.
“We know Australians always play an attacking game, but we contained them by bowling in the right areas and got the wickets,” Babar said.
“The fourth innings will be very difficult on this wicket, as the odd ball is doing a lot from rough patches on both sides of the wicket.”
Opening batsman David Warner thwarted the spinners for well over 4 1/2 hours in scoring 133, his third successive test century, but Australia stumbled from a healthy 128-0 in the morning to lose 10 wickets for 175 runs.
No. 8 batsman Mitchell Johnson, with 37, boosted Australia’s total with the third best score before holing out in the deep off Rahat Ali, who took 2-55. Shah wrapped up the innings by taking the last wicket of Steve O’Keefe.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight 113-0, Australia lost four wickets before lunch and another four in the second session as Pakistan’s bowlers never allowed the batsmen to settle down.
Shah removed Steven Smith for 22 just before lunch, and clean-bowled Warner with a sharp turner in the first over after lunch.
Warner scored centuries at Cape Town in his last test against South Africa in March, but was more circumspect as the wickets started falling around him.
He faced 174 balls, hitting 11 fours and two sixes before Shah made the ball turn through the rough while bowling round the wicket.
Pakistan’s other debutant, fast bowler Imran Khan, was rewarded with his first wicket when he knocked back Brad Haddin’s offstump in his first over with the second new ball as Australia plunged to 249-6.
Mitchell Marsh’s father, Geoff, who also played international cricket for Australia, cheered from the stands when he saw his son successfully overturn a caught behind decision on 26 off fast bowler Ali, but was not lucky a run later when Babar won an lbw decision through the Decision Review System.
Peter Siddle was next to go, lbw to Mohammad Hafeez’s offspin for a four-ball duck at 267-8. Hafeez later walked off the field when he twisted his right ankle while fielding off his own bowling, and Ali opened Pakistan’s second innings.
In the absence of suspended star Saeed Ajmal, the spinners tied down the Australians, and even the free-flowing Warner in an extended first session.
Warner completed his century off 128 balls with eight fours and a six when he hit his first boundary of the day in the 18th over by driving Khan through extra cover.
Alex Doolan took 16 deliveries to score his first run before his shaky 34-ball innings for 5 ended when he failed to beat Ali’s direct throw from mid on and was just short of his crease at the non-striker’s end.
Babar cut short Michael Clarke’s return to international cricket from a hamstring injury, as he set a leg trap for the Australia captain and had him caught bat and pad on 2. Australia slipped to 3-158.
Warner cut loose briefly and raised Australia’s 200 by driving and cutting Hafeez for two successive boundaries, then Shah struck in the penultimate over before lunch.
Smith was shaping up well but chased a wide Shah delivery to be comfortably caught by Hafeez at point.