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International Test Cricket

 

Pakistani batsmen pound Aussie bowlers

RAWALPINDI--Bruising hitting by the top of the Pakistani order was much too much for Australia, which lost the opening test match of the current series by 10 wickets.

The home side needed only 12 runs in its second innings to take the win, a feat accomplished in six overs in the last hour of the fourth day.

The match turned on the morning of the second day. On day one, the Aussies were retired with 304 runs and Pakistan responded with 24 for 0 before stumps. Highlight of the Australian day was Steve Waugh carding 65 runs, while Mohammad Hussain took four wickets for 81 runs.

Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail continued their attack on Australia's bowlers throughout the first session of day two, reaching lunch with 146 runs without loss. In the third over after lunch, Stuart MacGill finally got an LBW call against Anwar, who left with 91 runs to his account and 156 runs on the board.

Sohail stood at 62 as Saleem Malik joined him, and the new man quickly made like Anwar, boosting the team's total to 249 before Sohail was bowled by Steve Waugh with 105 runs in his wallet. In came Inzamam-ul-Haq, who teamed with Malik for another 78 runs until Malik was caught by Mark Waugh off Damian Fleming, finishing at 82.

By this time, it was 327 for 3, and the second day finished with the Pakistanis at 393 for 4. They finished with 520 runs, six batsmen scoring 45 runs or more and four partnerships of 70 or more runs; Azhar Mahmood tacked on another 68 runs late in the order. Aussie bowling struggled. Fleming took 4/110, MacGill ended with 3/120 and Glenn McGrath was bruised with 1/106. Ouch.

Trailing by 216 runs, the Aussies needed a good start in its second turn, and they got it from one of their openers. But the duck quacked for Mark Taylor on the fifth ball of the innings, bowled by Wasim Akram. He quickly had company: Steve Waugh left with 8, Mark Waugh with 24, Darren Lehman for 18, and Colin Miller for a duck. The third day finished with the Aussies at 150 for 5.

The lone bright spot was Michael Slater, who stepped onto the pitch and, while partners came and went, swatted 109 runs, including 13 boundaries. When he was finally caught and bowled by Wasim, his team stood at 192 for 7 and the end was near.

After the Aussies scored their 216th run to avoid an innings defeat, the Pakistanis bowled five consecutive maiden overs and surrendered only 11 more runs the rest of the way. Hussain collected the final three wickets to finish with 5/38 in the innings, 9/119 in the match. Wasim ably handled the Aussies, taking 4/46 in the innings, 6/92 in total.

Report by Peter Nocerini.

Revised: Saturday, 16 March 2013.
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