Sport Cricket Australian pacemen destroy Pakistan

Australian pacemen destroy Pakistan

Victorian batsman Peter Handscomb returns to the Test team. Photo: Getty
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Australia’s pace attack dismantled Pakistan’s batsmen to the point where the tourists will almost certainly have to follow-on and seek to avoid the embarrassment of a three-day Test in Brisbane.

The Pakistanis crumbled from 1/43 to lose their next seven wickets for just 24 runs, and at stumps on day two were 8/97 – still 332 runs behind Australia’s first-innings total of 429.

On a day when 15 wickets fell, the highlights for Australia were Peter Handscomb’s maiden Test century, a final-wicket stand of 49 runs between Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird, and a masterful fast-bowling display with the pink ball.

The tourists were ruthlessly dismantled by the probing seam and bounce of Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Bird.

Hazlewood finished with astonishing figures of 3-19 from 11 overs. The right-armer, who started the match needing six wickets to register his 100th Test scalp, was on a hat-trick after he had Babar Azam and Younis Khan out edging in the 20th over.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq survived the hat-trick delivery but Hazlewood returned later to take a third scalp when he had Wahab Riaz caught and bowled.

He also helped intimidate the Pakistan batsmen, twice striking opener Sami Aslam on the helmet.

“He’s able to land it on a five-cent coin pretty much all the time,” Handscomb said of Hazlewood after the day’s play.

While the evening session of this Gabba day-night Test was dominated by the quicks, though, the first two sessions of the day largely belonged to Handscomb.

The Victorian batsman showed watchfulness, poise and patience in reaching a maiden Test century in just his second appearance for his country.

His footwork was outstanding: he has the unconventional technique of batting unusually deep in his crease against the seamers and frequently dancing down the pitch to the slow bowlers.

It certainly worked, with a chanceless 105 runs from 240 deliveries.

 

After dominating on day one, Handscomb and captain Steve Smith restarted their innings on Friday, but things did not exactly go to plan when Australia lost seven wickets inside the first two sessions.

When Smith was caught behind for 131 it brought Nic Maddinson, coming off a duck on debut, to the crease. His stay was as brief as it was uncomfortable when he was caught behind for just 1.

When Matthew Wade (7), Starc (10) and Hazlewood (8) came and went, Handscomb looked to be running out of partners, prompting him to motor through the nineties before hitting a crisp drive through the covers to bring up his ton.

Pakistan would be frustrated further by a major wag in the tail as Nathan Lyon (29) and Bird (19 not out) combined for a 49-run partnership for the final wicket.

Lyon looked to be swatting fours at will, while Bird summed up Pakistan’s anguish with a big six over square leg.

The momentum of their partnership was only interrupted when a member of the crowd charged onto the Gabba, only to be apprehended by a member of the security staff, leaving him well short of the players and $8000 out of pocket.

Pitch invader Gabba cricket test
A pitch invader didn’t get far before being apprehended by security staff.

Australia’s innings only came to a close when Lyon finally spooned a catch to midwicket off Yasir Shah’s bowling (2-129)

 

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