Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith extended Australia’s lead and won the first Test against Pakistan on Saturday as veteran spinner Nathan Lyon came within one wicket of 500. On day three in Perth, the hosts reached stumps at 84-2, expanding their lead to 300 after bowling out the visitors for 271 in reply to their first innings total of 487. The top bowler was veteran spinner Lyon with 3-66, but he had to wait to attain a milestone that would place him in elite company with only seven others.
Pakistan’s first Test aspirations dwindle as Australia leads large
Pakistan lost their chance of a first Test win in Australia since 1995 with Khawaja on 34 and Smith on 43. The host team started poorly, with first-innings century-maker David Warner down for a duck. After his brave 164, the 37-year-old mistimed a Khurram Shahzad pull shot and lobbed to Imam-ul-Haq for a simple catch at mid-wicket. Marnus Labuschagne fell for two on an uneven pitch, with Shahzad again luring wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed to take a massive edge.
Australia fell to 2-5. With an undefeated 79-run partnership coming into day four and a possible declaration, Khawaja and Smith stabilized the ship. Chipping away Pakistan resumed on 132-2 after a decent run chase, but Australia’s top-class assault was too strong. Stoic opener Haq started on 38 and nightwatchman Shahzad on 7. On his debut, Shahzad lasted two balls before Pat Cummins struck his middle stump with a full and straight delivery in the first over.
In his 50th Test, dangerman Babar Azam approached the crease gingerly and faced 13 deliveries before hitting Cummins with a cover drive to the ropes. He hit another in Cummins’ next over to keep the scoreboard ticking against a seam attack that bounced and sped up on a sun-drenched pitch. Haq scored his ninth Test 50 and first in Australia off 161 balls with a Lyon single. Mitchell Marsh was introduced and promptly removed Azam for 21, with the former skipper edging to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Haq was stumped for 62 when Lyon returned, rushing down the wicket in a lack of focus and Carey snapping out the bails. Mitchell Starc’s swinging delivery sent the stumps flying, limiting Sarfaraz Ahmed to six balls. After lunch, Josh Hazlewood bowled a good bouncer that Saud Shakeel tried to block but threw to Warner at slip. Khawaja caught Faheem Ashraf low at square leg off Cummins for nine after he left for 28. Lyon claimed his 499th wicket, Carey stumped Aamer Jamal, and Travis Head’s part-time spin bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi.