Australia’s pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird tore through Pakistan’s batting line-up in the final session of the second day at the Gabba, reducing the visiting team to 97 for 8 in 43 overs on Friday (December 16).
A handsome maiden Test hundred by Peter Handscomb had earlier driven Australia to a sizeable first-innings total of 429, and with Pakistan losing seven wickets after the dinner break, the second day of the first Test ended with 332 runs the difference between the two sides.
Starc (3-45), Hazlewood (3-19) and Bird (2-7) shared the spoils, and had reduced Pakistan to 67 for 8 at one stage. But Sarfraz Ahmed held firm with a run-a-ball 31 with Mohammad Amir (eight) for company – the duo having put on 30 runs to keep up their team’s hopes of avoiding being bowled out for under 100.
Starc made the first strike, having Azhar Ali caught by a diving Usman Khawaja at third slip in the fifth over. Pakistan went into the dinner break on 20 for 1, and for a while Babar Azam (19) and Sami Aslam (22) – the only men apart from Sarfraz to hit double figures – seemed like they would steady the ship.
But once Steven Smith caught Azam at second slip off Hazlewood, Pakistan unravelled. From 43 for 1, it lost seven wickets in 14.4 overs for the addition of a meagre 24 runs as Australia’s pacers held sway.
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