Pakistan’s spinners chip away but Australia cross 400 to hold the aces


Usman Khawaja’s marathon innings was lastly ended on 160 because the spinners began to have an effect

Tea Australia 407 for 7 (Carey 26*, Starc 1*) vs Pakistan

Usman Khawaja’s marathon knock lastly ended on 160, however Australia moved previous 400 of their first innings to stay within the driver’s seat towards Pakistan on a pitch in Karachi beginning to play tips on day two of the second Take a look at.

Australia reached tea at 407 for 7 with Alex Carey unbeaten on 26 and Mitchell Starc on 1. With batting having completely dominated the collection to this point amid sedate situations, Pakistan threatened on a pitch coming to life however Australia continued to have a agency grip after Khawaja’s indefatigable 369-ball innings.

His eleventh Take a look at century – and first within the nation of his start – was marked by unwavering focus, the place Khawaja blunted Pakistan’s assault however he may solely rating 33 runs off 103 balls on day two underlining the altering nature of the pitch, which is anticipated to additional deteriorate.

Khawaja’s innings ended halfway by way of the second session when he was bowled by a cracker of a supply from offspinner Sajid Khan, who produced drift and sharp flip to hit the highest of off stump.

In his first innings within the metropolis his household hails from, Khawaja fell simply wanting his highest Take a look at rating of 174 towards New Zealand on the Gabba in 2015. However he departed to a standing ovation from a boisterous crowd after turning into the primary Australian Take a look at centurion in Pakistan since Mark Waugh’s 117 within the third Take a look at in 1998.

It was left to Carey and Cameron Inexperienced to navigate Australia to tea in a session the place they resisted the temptation of accelerating. Having gone 10 overs with no boundary, Australia broke the shackles when Carey hit Sajid for a straight six and Inexperienced began to look extra comfy earlier than he fell on the stroke of tea after being bowled by a pointy supply from left-arm spinner Nauman Ali.

With a platform constructed attributable to Khawaja’s heroics, there had been intrigue at lunch over whether or not Australia would put the foot down in a distinction to Pakistan’s measured batting when in an identical place within the first Take a look at en path to a stale draw. However Australia was unable to towards probing bowling on a pitch displaying the primary indicators of encouragement for bowlers seven days into the collection.

Not like the lifeless Rawalpindi pitch within the first Take a look at, variable bounce and reverse swing was evident whereas Sajid menaced with flight and faster deliveries to bounce again after notably struggling on the opening day the place he pursued a defensive position of bowling earlier than and after tea.

Having been inconsistent all through the match, in a letdown following his standout effort in Rawalpindi, fast Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled a terrific spell after lunch with a succession of nasty reverse swinging yorkers solely to be thwarted by Khawaja’s broad defensive bat.

The short shaped a pleasant tandem with Sajid, who was rewarded for a superb spell both facet of lunch by trapping Travis Head lbw for 23 with a tossed up supply that straightened. After unsuccessfully reviewing, participant of the Ashes Head has solely managed 31 runs throughout two innings in a gradual begin to the collection.

With Australia resuming day two at 251 for 3, Khawaja was largely a bystander within the first hour as he took a again seat to nightwatchman Nathan Lyon who dominated a 54-run partnership with a pretty 38.

Lyon rode some success and annoyed Pakistan by counterattacking Shaheen’s bumper barrage. In trademark cavalier trend, Lyon was unperturbed by the stacked leg slide area as he swiftly elevated the run price, which had crawled for Australia within the again half of the opening day attributable to unfavourable bowling from Pakistan.

However his hopes of lastly notching a maiden Take a look at half-century had been dashed when Lyon was comprehensively bowled by allrounder Faheem Ashraf in Pakistan’s solely success within the morning session.

Pakistan rebounded strongly within the second session, however remained on the again foot amid scorching situations of their fortress of Karachi, the place the temperature once more hovers within the mid-30s.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist primarily based in Perth

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