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Australia’s bowlers wreaked havoc of Pakistan to keep them struggling on Day 2 AFP

Day Two of the first Test between Pakistan and Australia was completely dominated by the hosts. Resuming at 288 for 3, Australia began Day Two eyeing a big first-innings total. Riding on the back of a steady century from skipper Steven Smith, hosts were already in a comfortable position to push their total in excess of 500. Nonetheless, they eventually folded for a healthy 429, with Peter Handscomb getting his maiden Test ton and the 10th-wicket pair adding 49. Towards the end, Australian bowlers tightened screws with Pakistan hobbling to 97 for 8, trailing by another 332. The hosts thus have a chance to inflict an innings defeat.

Taking Day One’s honours at The Gabba, Australia started off with a big total in first innings in their sight. . Smith and Handscomb had already added an unbeaten 137-run stand for the fourth wicket, and looked to carry on in the same manner. The duo added another 35 to the overnight score before Smith departed, nicking one behind the stumps off Wahab Riaz. Pakistan continued to miss half chances but Riaz’s early spell kept his side in the hunt. After Smith’s departure, visitors had a realistic chance of dismissing the hosts under 400 with not much experience in the lower-order.

Full cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 1st day-night Test at Brisbane

Nonetheless, Handscomb held one end and went onto register his maiden hundred. He looked much comfortable on second day and was fluent with his strokes. He played with a dead bat and smartly adjusted to the length of the ball. Pakistan, on the other hand, kept coming back hard and churned out a few quick wickets. Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood could not survive for long but the last wicket pair of Nathan Lyon and Jackson Bird saw them past 400. The pair added 49 with Pakistan being sloppy in the field.

They dropped Smith thrice in his innings and could not convert half-chances in their favour. Hosts eventually folded for 429 with Riaz and Mohammad Aamer finishing with four scalps each. What followed thereafter was disheartening for Pakistan fans as their batting let them down disastrously. Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam opened with the former departing for 5 off 10 balls. He was the victim of Starc’s delivery giving a simple catch to Usman Khawaja.

Azhar’s wicket brought the young and promising pair of Aslam and Babar Azam in the middle. The duo added 37 for the second wicket but the latter’s dismissal triggered a collapse. Azam fell off Hazlewood which brought in the 39-year-old Younis Khan to the crease. The veteran fell for a golden duck before their Mr. Dependable; Misbah-ul-Haq went back scoring 4.

Pakistan were in further trouble as they were reduced to 66 for 7 with Asad Shafiq and Riaz heading back to the hut. Nonetheless, the visitors somehow managed to get past their lowest score of 62 versus Australia in their backyard. They are, however, 3 runs away from reaching three figures and if they fold before 100, this will be their third lowest score in the Kangaroo land.

Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman, Sarfraz Ahmed is batting along with Aamer and will like to add as much as they can on Day Three to reduce the deficit in hand. However, the damage has been done by the fiery Australian trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Bird. Starc finished the day with three scalps whereas Hazlewood displayed pace and bounce and ended Day Two with equal number of wickets. Bird was also not far behind with two dismissals to keep the visitors on the mat.

Pakistan may have well and truly handed over the Test to Australia until and unless they pull off a remarkable fightback. Conceding easy runs, being reckless in the field and looking out-of-sorts with the blade, they only have themselves to blame for their current misery.

Brief scores:

Australia 429 (Matt Renshaw 71, Steven Smith 130, Peter Handscomb 105; Wahab Riaz 4 for 129, Mohammad Aamer 4 for 97) lead Pakistan 97 for 8 (Sami Aslam 22, Babar Azam 19, Sarfraz Ahmed 31*, Mitchell Starc 3 for 45, Josh Hazlewood 3 for 19) by 332 runs.

(Aditya Sahay is a journalist with CricketCountry who is completely into sports and loves writing about cricket in general. He can be followed on Twitter at adisahay7)