Australia vs Pakistan: Asad Shafiq's fighting knock leads Pakistan to 240 in first innings

Adithya Sundar 13:50 21/11/2019
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Australia seized the advantage on the opening day of the first Test when they bowled Pakistan out for 240 just before stumps at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday.

After the visitors resisted stubbornly in the first session, reaching 57 for no wicket at lunch, pace trio Mitchell Starc (4-52), Josh Hazlewood (2-46) and Pat Cummins (3-60) tore through the Pakistan batting order to put the hosts in charge at the close of play.

Patient Openers provide a good start

Azhar Ali, leading the Pakistan team for only the second time in his career, won the toss and opted to bat on a pacy Gabba surface.

Ali opened the batting alongside southpaw Shan Masood and the duo were able to tough it out in the first session against Australia’s formidable new ball attack.

While the length bowled by the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Jos Hazlewood and Pat Cummins was a tad short, the openers showed restraint and let off deliveries outside the off-stump with confidence.

They were stoic in their defence during the first hour and, as the little swing diminished for the pacers, they opened up to score a few boundaries.

The duo achieved the highest opening partnership by an opposition pair in first innings at the Gabba.

The post-Lunch collapse

Ali and Masood fell in quick succession in the second session to undo all their good work before lunch.

Cummins claimed the first wicket as Masood edged a short of length delivery to Steve Smith at second slip. His partner followed a couple of deliveries later, falling to Hazlewood’s nagging line outside the off-stump.

Starc joined the wicket-takers when he had Haris Sohail caught behind in the first over of his third spell.

Hazlewood got the big wicket of Babar Azam when the Pakistan star batsman edged a wide delivery to first slip and gifted his wicket away.

From 75 for no loss, Pakistan slipped to  78 for four in just 33 deliveries. Soon they fell further to 94 for five when Iftikhar Ahmed was caught at short-leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

Shafiq’s  love affair at Gabba continues

Asad Shafiq achieved his highest Test score at the Gabba in 2016 with a fighting century.

Three years later, he was at it again as he staged another rescue act to frustrate the hosts.

Pakistan started the final session rapidly, scoring 49 runs in nine overs.

Mohammad Rizwan counter-attacked, smashing seven boundaries in his 34-ball stay.

His strong innings was cut short when he too feathered a length ball through to Tim Paine. However, he was unlucky to be deemed out as Cummins had clearly overstepped in his delivery stride.

Shafiq then took control of the innings as he found an unlikely partner in tail-ender Yasir Shah. Together, the duo added 84 valuable runs as Pakistan laboured past the 200-run mark.

Shafiq displayed excellent temperament and brought up his 24th Test fifty. It was an assured knock from the 33-year-old as he wore the pacers down and put away the bad deliveries on offer.

New Ball fury

The frustrated Aussies took the second new ball as soon as it was available and their pacers produced another burst towards the end of the day.

Mitchell Starc took two wickets in an over, castling Shah with a yorker and having Shaheen Afridi caught behind.

Pat Cummins then sent Shafiq’s stumps cartwheeling with an inswinger in the subsequent over.

Teenager Naseem Shah and veteran Imran Khan’s brief resistance meant that there wasn’t enough time left for Australia to bat under fading light after the final wicket fell.

Naseem Shah – Youngest debutant on Australian soil

Teenage sensation Naseem Shah received his maiden Test cap at the Gabba to become the youngest player to play a maiden Test on Australian soil.

He was handed the cap by bowling coach Waqar Younis before the start of the day’s play.

The youngster was seen crying with delight as his teammates congratulated him on making his first Test display.

Brief scores:

Day 1-Stumps

Pakistan 240 all out (Shafiq 76; Starc 4-52)

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