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November 25, 2019

Babar ton in vain as Australia crush Pakistan in first Test


November 25, 2019

BRISBANE: Australia went one up in their two-Test series against Pakistan when they won the first Test by an innings and five runs at the Gabba in Brisbane on Sunday.

After beginning their second innings 340 runs behind Australia and then losing three cheap wickets in the afternoon session on Saturday, the Pakistanis put up stern resistance Sunday before finally succumbing late in the final session.

Babar Azam scored a magnificent century and Mohammad Rizwan fell five runs short of his first as Pakistan were dismissed for 335 late on the fourth day. Leg-spinner Yasir Shah also made his highest Test score with a fighting 42.

But there was to be no denying an Australian attack on Sunday which probed and struck at vital moments, whenever Pakistan seemed to be getting the upper hand. Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 4-63, while Mitchell Starc took 3-73, Pat Cummins 2-69 and Nathan Lyon 1-74.

Earlier, Azam reached his second Test century — and his first in Australia — with an impressive knock. The elegant right-hander had been in excellent form in the lead-up games, but was out to a disappointing shot in the first innings for just one.

He was a different player in the second innings, however, and never looked in trouble until he edged Nathan Lyon to wicketkeeper Tim Paine to fall for 104. He shared partnerships of 68 with Shan Masood and 132 with Rizwan as Pakistan battled hard throughout the first two sessions.

Rizwan, playing just his second Test, brought up his first half-century off 86 balls with nine boundaries. He batted with real commitment and looked certain to bring up his maiden Test century until on 95 he tried to upper cut a Hazlewood short ball only to steer it straight to Nathan Lyon at third man.

Yasir Shah continued to hit out, but with only the fast bowlers for company it was only a matter of time before the Australians wrapped up the win. Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said his team had been on the back foot early and not been able to recover.

“When we won the toss, we wanted to score big in the first innings, but I think on the first day we won two sessions but we lost one very badly,” he said. But he said he was proud of the way they had fought back. “I’d have to say the way we batted in the second innings, particularly the way Babar and Rizwan batted, they really showed great fight,” he said.

Pakistan won toss

Pakistan 1st Innings 240 all out (Asad Shafiq 76; M Starc 4-52)

Australia 1st Innings 580 all out (M Labuschagne 185, D Warner 154; Yasir 4-205)

Pakistan 2nd Innings (overnight 64-3)

Shan Masood c Paine b Cummins 42

*Azhar Ali lbw Starc 5

Haris Sohail c Paine b Starc 8

Asad Shafiq c Smith b Cummins 0

Babar Azam c Paine b Lyon 104

Iftikhar Ahmed c Paine b Hazlewood 0

Mohammad Rizwan c Lyon b Hazlewood 95

Yasir Shah c Wade b Hazlewood 42

Shaheen Afridi c Cummins b Hazlewood 10

Imran Khan c Wade b Starc 5

Naseem Shah not out 0

Extras (b 9, lb 9, nb 1, w 5) 24

Total (all out; 84.2 overs) 335

Fall: 1-13, 2-25, 3-25, 4-93, 5-94, 6-226, 7-305, 8-324, 9-331, 10-335

Bowling: Starc 16.2-1-73-3 (1 nb); Cummins 21-6-69-2 (5 w); Hazlewood 21-3-63-4; Lyon 21-3-74-1; Labuschagne 5-0-38-0

Result: Australia won by an innings and five runs

Man of the Match: Marnus Labuschagne (Australia)

Umpires: Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough (England). TV umpire: Michael Gough (England). Match referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand)