Australia’s famed pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood enhanced their reputation as world’s most fearsome bowling combination as the hosts bowled out Pakistan for 240 on Day 1 of the first Test at The Gabba on Thursday. The trio of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood took nine wickets between them to deny Pakistan any advantage on an opening day.
Left-armer Starc (4/52), was the main wrecker-in-chief for as he claimed a sensational four-for to break the back of Pakistan’s batting unit. He was ably supported Australia’s bowling spearhead – Cummins (3/60), who further stamped his class as world’s number one Test bowler. Cummins scalped three, while Josh Hazlewood picked two wickets and the remaining wicket went to veteran spinner Nathon Lyon.
The visitors enjoyed a solid but slow start as the openers Shan Masood and Azhar Ali saw off the first session unscathed with 57 runs on the board. The duo knitted a crucial stand of 75 before Cummins Masood’s 97-ball stay for 27, with a sharp outswinger that took the leading edge en route to Steve Smith at second slip.
The wicket opened the floodgates for the touring side as skipper Ali (39) was dismissed in the very next over, nicking one at first slip off Hazlewood, on 39. Joining the wagon, Starc replaced Cummins in the attack and struck on the third ball of his new spell as Harris Sohail (1) took a long walk back to the pavilion.
The biggest disappointment of the day came in the form of Babar Azam, who played a reckless shot against Hazlewood and fell to the pacer for the fifth time in seven innings. Lyon later removed Iftikhar Ahmed (7) as Pakistan slipped from 75/0 to 95/5.
Unfazed by all the drama at the other end, Asad Shafiq played a brilliant knock and continued his glorious form in the whites. During the course, he completed his 24th Test half-century. He found able support in wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan (37) . Rizwan counterattacked his way to 37 and started to get Pakistan back in the game, but his controversial dismissal dented them further.
However, Shafiq and Yasir Shah then stitched a crucial partnership of 84 runs for the seventh wicket in which the latter contributed with 26. They were also helped by the hosts that wanted to make up for the over-rate rather than go for the kill.
However, the second new ball did the trick as they picked up the last four wickets for 13 runs and bowled out Pakistan for 240 before the umpires called the end of the day’s play.
Brief scores: Pakistan 240 all out (Asad Shafiq 76, Shan Masood 39; Mitchell Starc 4/52)