Pakistan dig in as Australia's Nathan Lyon edges closer to 500 Test wickets

Abdullah Shafique was the first to fall in reply, getting a big inside edge from Lyon to Warner at leg slip after grinding to 42

By AFP

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 2:37 PM

Australian spin king Nathan Lyon moved to within three wickets of joining the elite 500 club Friday as Pakistan dug deep to stay in touch on day two of the opening Test in Perth.

At stumps, the visitors were 132-2, trailing by 355, with a dogged Imam-ul-Haq not out 38 and nightwatchman Khurram Shahzad on seven after they lost skipper Shan Masood late on.

But it was a slow grind with their runs coming off 53 overs after Aamer Jamal took 6-111 on debut to help dismiss the hosts for 487.

Mitchell Marsh starred with 90 after David Warner's defiant 164 on day one.

Abdullah Shafique was the first to fall in reply, getting a big inside edge from Lyon to Warner at leg slip after grinding to 42.

It was the veteran's 497th Test wicket as he closes in on 500 to join a group of just seven other players.

At the other end, Haq was stoic, weathering a fiery bowling blitz from Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins on a pitch that still had some zip.

It took him 85 deliveries before his first boundary, guiding one fine off his hip.

Aggressive skipper Shan Masood made 30 before his stay ended 10 minutes before close, caught behind by Alex Carey off Starc on review.

Shan had earlier taken a nasty blow to the back when he turned to avoid a Haq drive, but was able to continue after treatment.

The visitors kept themselves in the hunt for a first Test win in the country since 1995 by dismissing Australia early in the second session, after the home side went to lunch at 476-7.

Marsh was bowled by paceman Shahzad for 90 on the first ball back and the tail collapsed with impressive speedster Jamal in the thick of the action.

Australia had resumed on 346-5 after dominating the opening day with Warner hitting 164 to silence his critics.

Marsh began on 16 and Carey 15 with Pakistan desperate for an early breakthrough.

But on another scorching day, the tourists struggled to make an impact with some pedestrian bowling before Jamal was introduced.

Hometown hero Marsh, Australia's T20 captain, smacked consecutive boundaries off the first over he faced from Shahzad to set the tone.

Preferred to Cameron Green as the team's all-rounder, he brought up a 66-ball 50 — his fifth in 36 Tests — with a classy pull to the ropes and looked destined to reach three figures.

But Shahzad shattered his hopes after lunch, knocking over his stumps as he attempted a big drive.

Jamal then quickly removed Cummins and Lyon, both caught by Agha Salman.

He earlier trapped wicketkeeper-batsman Carey, eager to make runs to cement his Test spot after losing his place in Australia's one-day team to Josh Inglis.

Carey survived a big lbw call from Shaheen Shah Afridi on the second ball of the day, but he had no answer to a lightning-quick Jamal delivery that rattled his off stump.

He departed for 34, ending a dangerous 90-run partnership with Marsh.

Starc also fell victim to Jamal, getting an edge to another pacy ball that removed the bails.

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