David Warner leads Australia's reply against Pakistan; hosts trail by 312 at tea, Day 3

David Warner leads Australia's reply against Pakistan; hosts trail by 312 at tea, Day 3

Australia lost Matthew Renshaw after making a steady start to their first innings, in reply to Pakistan s 443 for 9 declared, on the third day in the ongoing Melbourne Test.

Updated: December 28, 2016 12:20 PM IST | Edited By: Devarchit Varma

David Warner slammed his 23rd half-century, but Australia lost Matthew Renshaw after making a steady start to their first innings, in reply to Pakistan s 443 for 9 declared, on the third day of the ongoing Melbourne Test. At tea, Australia reached 131 for 1 with David Warner batting on 77 not out and Usman Khawaja 39 not out. Warner and Khawaja steadied the Australian ship with their 89-run stand for the second wicket. Australia trail by another 312 runs in the first innings. They will need a strong batting performance to fend off the threat thrown in their way by Pakistan, who were led by a brilliant unbeaten 205 by Azhar Ali. The only wicket of the Australian innings was claimed by Yasir Shah.

It has been a game, which has so far belonged to Pakistan and Azhar in particular. The opening batsman missed out two big achievements, but nevertheless, his name has been etched in the history books. Pakistan declared their first innings at 443 for 9 shortly after the lunch break, leaving Azhar on 205 not out. Had Pakistan wished to bat on till the last wicket, Azhar would have stood a chance to carry his bat through the innings. Most importantly, Pakistan were perhaps not aware that another 4 runs would have made Azhar s innings as the best performance at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by a visiting batsman.

Live cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 2nd Test at Melbourne

With that erroneous declaration, Pakistan ensured that Sir Vivian Richards 208 scored in December 1984 will remain intact for, god knows, how many years to come.

However, it was Azhar who has owned the game so far. He became only the fourth overseas batsman to score a double century at MCG. His score of 205 not out is the first double-century by a Pakistani batsman in Australia and obviously the highest score by any from their country at the MCG.

Azhar broke Majid Khan s record of 158 the previous highest individual best by a batsman at MCG and in Australia which was set in December 1972. Azhar faced 364 balls, which is the third longest innings in terms of balls faced by any Pakistani batsman ever during his innings.

Had Azhar continued for a little longer or had he scored at a slightly higher run rate throughout his innings, he would have bettered Saleem Malik s record score of 231 at Rawalpindi in October 1994 the highest individual score by a Pakistani versus Australia.

Nevertheless, Australia had to start off well, and they did so. Though the new-ball bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Sohail Khan managed to beat outside edges quite often, Pakistan failed to take a wicket until Yasir came along. Renshaw decided to go for an uncharacteristic slog-sweep and paid the heavy price. The ball passed under his bat and crashed into the wickets.

Warner has had an ordinary time so far in Test cricket, but apart from being beaten a few times, there was hardly anything which he did was wrong. Warner punched the ball nicely to score boundaries at the huge MCG and reached 77 not out off 78 balls, studded with 10 boundaries. Khawaja also got off to an uncluttered start, reaching 39 not out. In the process, he completed his 5,000 runs in Test cricket.

Australia, who are 1-0 ahead in the three-Test series, need another 112 runs to avoid follow-on. They trail by 312 in the first innings.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 443 for 9 decl. (Azhar Ali 205*, Asad Shafiq 50, Sohail Khan 65; Josh Hazlewood 3 for 50, Jackson Bird 3 for 113) lead Australia 131 for 1 (David Warner 77*, Usman Khawaja 39; Yasir Shah 1 for 47) by 312 runs

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