Aus vs Pak, 2nd Test: Khawaja, Labuschagne put Australia in driver’s seat (Stumps, Day 1) | Cricket


Melbourne [Australia], December 26 (ANI): Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja’s knocks helped Australia reach 187/3 at the time of stumps of the opening day while Pakistan toiled hard through the day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with only three wickets to show in the second Test on Tuesday.

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At the time of stumps, Australia’s score read 187/3 in 66 overs with Marnus Labuschagne (44) and Travis Head (9) unbeaten at the crease.

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Australia can be content with a stumps total of 187/3 on a rainy Melbourne day that saw nearly a session lost to rain.

Play resumed over three hours later. After the Tea break, frustrated Pakistan finally got a breakthrough as Aamer Jamal removed Steve Smith for 26 in the 57.5 over.

Steve Smith was ruled out LBW on 19 off Shaheen Afridi’s bowling, but the former captain successfully appealed the judgement because replays revealed the ball was heading over the stumps.

Smith was then ruled not out after a caught-behind appeal from Aamir Jamal, but Pakistan successfully appealed the judgement as replays revealed a slight edge. Batter Travis Head was unbeaten on nine at stumps and will be joined in the crease by Labuschagne when play resumes on Wednesday.

Earlier, Usman Khawaja and David Warner’s opening partnership put Australia in a strong position against Pakistan at the time of Tea.

At the time of Tea, Australia’s score read 114/2 in 42.4 overs with Marnus Labuschagne (14) and Steve Smith (2) unbeaten at the crease.

Pakistan captain Shan Masood won the toss and opted to bowl in the second Test. The batting pair of Usman Khawaja and David Warner were decisive in their approach and made the Pakistan bowlers toil hard in excellent batting conditions.

Pakistan started with pace from both ends with Shaheen Afridi and Mir Hamza bowling in tandem but failed to get any purchase from the wicket.

Afridi and Mir Hamza got the new ball swinging but Warner and Khawaja got through the first 10 overs unscathed.

Afridi produced a fantastic delivery in the channel that angled in and then nipped away, squaring up Warner on the final ball of the third over. The ball was nicked by the Australian opener, who was batting on two, and the edge flew at a comfortable height and pace to Abdullah Shafique at first slip, only for the fielder to drop the easiest of opportunities.

Afridi couldn’t believe his terrible luck and walked back to his bowling run-up with his hands on his head for a few moments. Pakistan paid a high price for the let-off, as Australia’s openers added 90 runs for the first wicket.

Pakistan struck at the stroke of lunch as Agha Salman removed Warner for 38. Warner struck three fours in the innings before being dismissed.

Australia went to lunch on Day 1 of the MCG Test at 90/1. Pakistan bowlers were relentless after the first break and just 22 runs conceded right after lunch.

Pacer Hasan Ali then removed Khawaja for 42 runs in the 33.1 over. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith then tried to lead the charge of the Australian team. After 42.4 over Rain interrupted play on Day 1 and tea was taken in a shortened second session at the MCG.

Brief score: Australia 187/3 (66) (Usman Khawaja 42, Marnus Labuschagne 44*; Agha Salman 1-5) vs Pakistan. (ANI)

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