Pakistan stare at innings defeat despite Yasir maiden century

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01 Dec 2019 | 12:09 PM
authorAshish Pant

Pakistan stare at innings defeat despite Yasir maiden century

Starc six-for helped Australia take a 287-run lead before the hosts having enforced the follow-on reduced Pakistan to 39/3 at stumps

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Mitchell Starc headlined another strong outing for Australia with the fast bowler returning 6/66 but the day firmly and squarely belonged to Yasir Shah, who stroked his maiden first-class century. 

It still might not be enough but Yasir’s 213-ball 113 helped Pakistan gain some lost ground to recover from 89/6 to eventually post 302. The Australians, leading by 287 runs then enforced the follow-on and the pacers duly obliged as they reduced Pakistan to 39/3 before rain brought about an early close of play. 

At the end of day 3, Pakistan were still 248 runs away to make Australia bat again with seven wickets in hand. Asad Shafiq was unbeaten on 8 while Shan Masood remained 14 not out. 

Resuming on 96/6, Babar Azam and Yasir found the going easy with the pink ball not doing anywhere as much as it was on Saturday evening. Runs came thick and fast in the extended first session with both Babar and Yasir finding the boundaries rather easily. 

The duo brought up their 100-run stand in the 64th over with Babar looking set to score his second century of the series. But Starc pounced again, with the 25-year-old edging an attempted drive to Paine behind the stumps on 97 for his fifth wicket of the innings. It was a loose shot as he went about chasing a wide ball outside off and left the field dejected. 

The very next ball Starc grabbed his sixth trapping Shaheen Afridi plumb lbw before Mohammad Abbas fended off the hat-trick ball. Starc is the leading wicket-taker in day-night Tests with 32 scalps in 11 innings and he showed his experience. 

Yasir, on the other end, had a few strokes of luck but kept his composure well. He first had a near-miss off the bowling of Marnus Labuschagne on 33. Steve Smith believed he caught him at slip and made a big appeal, but replays showed the ball fell just short of his fingertips.

Yasir was then dropped by Labuschagne off his own bowling on 43 and once more after he crossed a ton. However, he carried on with Pakistan reaching 213/8 at the tea interval. 

The hosts would have harboured hopes of a quick wrap up post the break but they were denied by some astute doggedness from Abbas and Yasir. The duo stitched a crucial 87-run stand for the ninth wicket frustrating the Australians to no end. 

Yasir, who hadn’t crossed 42 previously in his Test career brought up his half-century with a push to mid-off and was in no mood to stop. He stroked Nathan Lyon for two back to back fours before punishing Steve Smith wide of mid-on for another four. 

Abbas too brought the long handle out thumping Lyon over the deep midwicket fence. Paine threw everything at the pair including the new ball but to no effect. 

Yasir, who had a few nervous moments on 99 then flicked Josh Hazlewood just over mid-on’s head to complete a stupendous century. He brought up the milestone off 193 balls clattering 12 fours during his knock. 

Abbas made a gutsy 29 before he was undone by a Pat Cummins bouncer, caught at gully by Warner. With Abbas’ wicket, Cummins also completed 50 wickets this calendar year. He is the highest wicket-taker in Tests in 2019. Yasir was the last man to be dismissed caught by Lyon at deep midwicket but not before salvaging some sort of pride for Pakistan. 

Australia despite bowling 94.4 overs decided to enforce the follow-on and the decision bore fruit. Imam-ul-Haq  was dismissed in the last over before the dinner break out lbw for a duck to Hazlewood as Pakistan went into the break on 2/1.

It was quickly 11/2 with Starc tempting skipper Azhar Ali into a thick outside edge and Steve Smith taking a quality catch just seconds before a shower forced them off.

The rain had been threatening all day and when they returned after 30 minutes Hazlewood bagged the key wicket of dangerman Azam for 2, caught behind by Paine.

But more rain soon blew in, to Australia’s frustration, and the umpires called it a day.  

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Mitchell StarcYasir ShahAustraliaPakistan in AustraliaAustralia v Pakistan 2019

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