Pakistan v Australia: Azam misses out on maiden Test ton as hosts earn A

Denzil Pinto 18:19 18/10/2018
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It was another dominant day for Pakistan

Pakistan need only nine more wickets over the next two days to win the second Test and seal the series after another dominant display against Australia on Thursday.

Resuming on 144-2, the ‘hosts’ declared on 400-9 with Babar Azam falling one run short of his maiden Test century. The 24-year-old was trapped by Mitchell Marsh after facing 117 deliveries. He had earlier shared a 133-run sixth-wicket stand with Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who hit 81 – his second consecutive fifty in this match.

The hosts’ total meant the Aussies faced a target of 538 and their chase got off to the worst possible start when Marsh was out for 4 by Mir Hamza. The Baggy Greens reached stumps on 47-1 with Aaron Finch (24) and Travis Head (17) unbeaten. They trail by 491 runs.

THE GOOD: 

AZAM’S KNOCK

The 24-year-old has seen himself bat lower down the batting order in recent times. After scores of 4 and 28 in the first Test in Dubai, the number six batsman showed why he is highly-rated with a fine knock in the UAE capital. Facing 171 deliveries, he was denied his first Test century when he fell one run short after being trapped lbw by Mitchell Marsh. It was an unfortunate ending to what was a remarkable innings. Patient at the crease, he wasn’t afraid to attack any loose balls that came his way, hitting back-to-back boundaries off Marsh as well as smashing two maximums off the impressive Nathan Lyon on his way to his highest Test score in just his 15th match.

1810 babar azam

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE FOR AUSTRALIAN SPINNERS

Lyon and Marnus Labuschagne had both taken wickets earlier in the day but like the rest of the Australian bowlers were frustrated for large spells by Pakistan’s stern batting. But despite their attempts to find the breakthrough the pair were finally rewarded. With the pitch turning, Lyon and Labuschagne took the last three wickets for 10 runs. It came too little too late but the pair did a job that was required of them.

THE BAD

AZHAR ALI’S BIZARRE RUN-OUT

A prime example of how not to be run-out. The experienced batsman thought he scored his fifth boundary of the innings when he edged Peter Siddle’s delivery at gully. So confident he thought he reached the ropes, he chatted with Asad Shafiq at the middle. But the ball stopped just a metre before the ropes allowing Starc to throw back to Tim Paine for an easy run-out, with Azhar nowhere near the picture. He only had himself to blame for the comical dismissal which will be remembered for many years.

DROPPED CHANCES OF SHAFIQ

Labuschagne was guilty of two dropped catches – both of which could have seen Asad Shafiq dismissed. The batsmen was first dropped at short leg on four after the part-time spinner had initially snatched the ball with one hand, only to let it slip. He was again the culprit when Shafiq was on 18 but although it went behind him, he couldn’t hold on to it. Either way, Shafiq went on to score 44, leaving Australia thinking what could have been had Shafiq been dismissed early.

KEY MOMENTS

52.3: AZHAR RUN-OUT

Azhar edges at drive off Peter Siddle with the batsman thinking it has hit the ropes. Chatting with Shafiq in the middle, Paine whips off the stumps before Azhar realises it.

67.3 – REVIEW LOST

Australia have no more reviews after Lyon’s delivery is turning too much and misses leg stump off Babar Azam.

96.1 – FIFTY FOR SARFRAZ

The Pakistan skipper brings up his half-century with a single off Holland. His second fifty in this Test match.

109.5 – AZAM FALLS FOR 99

Mitchell Marsh traps Azam with the batsman reviewing the decision. It goes against him and departs one run short of his maiden Test century.

118.2 – SKIPPER DEPARTS

Sarfraz’s innings is over on 81 after being trapped by Labuschagne.

119.6 – DECLARATION

Sarfraz declares on 400-9 after almost 120 overs.

AUSTRALIA INNINGS

1.3 – SHAUN DEPARTS

Mir Hamza rattles the stumps of the Australian in the second over.

KEY TURNING POINT

The 133-run stand between Sarfraz and Azam was Pakistan’s biggest of the day but it was the partnership before that which was pivotal for registering a huge lead after a rocky start. After losing Haris Sohail and Azhar Ali in the first nine overs, the hosts already had a 304-run lead but any hopes of Australia chasing less than 400 were extinguished with Asad Shafiq and Azam’s 75-run stand for the fifth wicket.

VERDICT

PAKISTAN: A

Another dominant display from the hosts. It’s only a matter of time before Pakistan wrap up the victory whether it is on Friday or Saturday. Their batsmen did their part and now it’s up to the bowlers to seal the win.

AUSTRALIA: D

After taking two early wickets in the day, the Baggy Greens struggled as Pakistan took charge. Needs a miracle to salvage anything from this Test given how dangerous Pakistan bowlers have been.

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