Dhaka, Bangladesh
Australia take honours on see-saw day

Australia vs Pakistan 1st Test

Australia take honours on see-saw day

BRISBANE, Australia, Nov 21: Pakistan resisted a sprightly Australian pace attack led by an obstinate Asad Shafiq until the second new ball caused havoc enough to have Pakistan bowled out for 240. Pakistan were struggling after the second session on the opening day of the first Test of the Australian summer that over 13,500 spectators had gathered at the Gabba to witness, reports Cricbuzz. With Pakistan reduced to 78/4 at one stage, Shafiq led a spectacular fightback as the middle and lower order came together to take their side over the 200-run mark. However, in the last half-hour of the day, Australia struck back with quick wickets to end Pakistan's defiance when stumps were drawn on Thursday. It was a typical day of Test cricket where fortunes shuffled between the sides regularly. If Pakistan started strong after opting to bat leaving Australia wicketless in the opening session, the hosts struck back hard with five wickets in the second session, as the visitors lived up to their preceding reputation of being 'mercurial'. It was in the third session, however, that Pakistan dented Australia's built-up confidence with an 84-run stand for the seventh wicket, before Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins wrapped up the tail in 6.3 overs with the second new ball, with the former returning a four-wicket haul. Runs came quickly after Tea, with Mohammad Rizwan going after the bowlers, striking boundaries at will, throwing his bat at everything. It seemed only a matter of time that he would be undone, and he got an edge off Cummins subsequently that carried to Paine. He would've survived, keeping intact his handy stand with Shafiq that resisted Australia's attack, but he was hard done by a controversial decision when the benefit of the doubt was given to the bowler after no part of Cummins's foot was visibly behind the line. Shafiq, however, wasn't deterred, and with Yasir Shah stitched together a stand of 84 that frustrated Australia as the ball got softer and batting got easier. Yasir played his part well, holding his end, while Shafiq had the scoreboard ticking. Australia's persistence with aggressive fields means more spaces in the outfields and runs for the taking which Pakistan didn't mind. The pair played Nathan Lyon, in particular, very well, as spin was operating from both ends. Marnus Labuschagne got some spin and turn, but the duo used their feet well against the two as Australia seemed like they were looking to run through their overs to get the new ball. Shafiq reached a very resilient fifty, tackling both the spinners and the pacers adroitly, punishing anything with the slightest width, and more importantly, kept Australia at bay. Starc charged in towards the end of the day and knocked over Yasir immediately. Shaheen Afridi got a feather that Australia reviewed to have changed in their favour. The 16-year-old debutant saw off Starc's hat-trick ball, while Cummins knocked over Shafiq for 76 at the other end. They were a number of plays-and-misses towards the end, Labuschagne spilled one in the slips even, but Naseem spooned one back to Starc as Australia ended the day on a high. Pakistan, earlier, were the first visiting team since 2001 that didn't lose a wicket in the opening session at the Gabba. Azhar Ali and Shan Masood even staged the highest first-innings opening stand against Australia at the venue having added 75, keeping Australia's bowlers at bay. Pakistan, however, conceded their position of advantage in remarkable fashion after lunch. Having had bowled too short and wide in the opening session, Australia paid the price for the lack of consistently attacking the stumps. BRIEF SCORES: Pakistan 240 (Azhar Ali 39, Shaan Masood 27, Asad Shafiq 76; Mitchell Stars 4-52, Josh Hazlewood 2-46, Pat Cummins 3-60) vs Australia. That changed after Lunch as Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were in between a hostile spell, bowling short, better lengths, attacking the stumps more regularly, the energy was up and they were creating chances. The edges fell short and a wicket seemed around the corner. Cummins struck with a shorter ball angling in to get Masood, while seam movement undid Azhar in the following over to get an edge as the openers were sent back in successive overs. Starc built on the pressure created as Haris Sohail fell to a nothing shot. Babar Azam's woes in Test cricket continued as Pakistan were forced further down the mire. Lyon got Iftikhar Ahmed soon after, and just when it looked like Australia were tightening the noose on Pakistan, Shafiq and Rizwan staged a fightback.

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