After a strong batting display under lights on Day 1 and complete domination led by pace bowlers on Day 2, the Aussies are in complete control against Pakistan at Gabba. It has come to point where it appears to be a matter when, not if, the hosts will go one-nil up in this series.
Australia resumed their batting with Captain Smith and Peter Handscomb at the crease, with Smith only managing to add 19 runs to his overnight tally before handing a straight forward catch to long-off.
The tumbling of wickets at the other end didn’t bother the second-gamer—Peter Handscomb—who continued his fighting spirit from the last night, flourishing his side to a convincing total. His confidence and body language was that of a veteran as he lifted Yasir Shah over long-on fence, and punched through cover-point almost effortlessly, to complete his ton with a yell, and a fist pump.
Another second-gamer, Nic Maddinson, who made a duck in his debut match, was not confronted with pink cherry under lights or a wobbling ball, but the extra zip off the surface from Wahab did him where he failed to draw a clear judgement—ended up flirting with a ball he could have let go, offering a very much routine catch to Sarfraz Ahmad.
Shaun Marsh, who is fit again, may find his place in the side, and Nic Maddinson seems to be the most obvious man who would make a way.
Later, the Gabba crowd was put to life again when Nathon Lyon (29) and Jackson Bird (19) put on another 49 runs stand, striking quite a few lusty blows including that of hooking Mohammad Amir into the crowd over fine-leg boundary.
Australia finished their first innings total on 429—one of the highest first innings score posted in the brief history of day-night matches.
Soon after the dinner break, the same old story of Pakistani ‘Batting Collapse’ in Australia began to come true. One after another, Pakistani batters pushed at deliveries pitched at just outside the off-stump, offering regulation catches to the slip cordon and exposing their technical flaws to Australia only to give them plenty of work heading into the second innings.
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood put on a ‘superb’ display of fast bowling; they kept bowling the right channel, enticing batters just enough to look for that extravagant drives, and in the process, inducing those outside edges through to the slip cordon. Jackson Bird also chipped in with 2 crucial wickets.
There were no demons on this wicket—it is the same wicket where Pakistan failed to claim any break-throughs in Thursday night’s session—rather Australian act was a combination of enticing lengths, well-directed bouncers, and technical shortcomings.
Only players who managed a double-figure score were opener Sami Aslam(22), number-three Babar Azam(19), and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmad(31*).
Pakistan’s veterans—Yonus Khan and Misbah-ul-haq—failed to offer any resistance as they got out cheaply. The senior pair, whom Pakistani batting has a heavy reliance upon, failed miserably. The former was caught behind for a first-ball duck off Hazlewood (now managed just 16 runs from his past six matches), and the latter fell into the trap set up by Bird for 4 (now has passed 50 only twice in past 7 and a half matches) leaving the team’s score 67/8 at one stage.
Second day’s proceedings finished with Pakistan reeling at 97/8, requiring another 133 runs to avoid being forced to follow-on—which seems very unlikely at this stage.
Read the complete story of Day 1 proceedings.
(photo credit: RaeAllen IMGP7428 via photopin)