Sports & Games

Pakistan Collapse to 89, Lose First Test to Australia

Australia secured a comprehensive victory over Pakistan in the first Test match of the series, winning by 360 runs on the fourth day at Perth Stadium. The hosts set a mammoth target of 450 runs for Pakistan, who were bowled out for a paltry 89 runs in their second innings.

The match was marked by Australia’s superior bowling and batting performance, as well as Nathan Lyon’s milestone of 500 Test wickets. The spinner achieved this feat when he dismissed Pakistan’s Faheem Ashraf lbw in the second innings. He also removed Aamer Jamal in the same over, joining an elite group of only seven other players who have reached this landmark.

Australia declared their second innings at 233-5, after Pakistan were dismissed for 271 in their first innings, trailing by 216 runs. Opener Usman Khawaja top-scored with 90 runs, while Mitchell Marsh contributed 63 not out. The pair added 126 runs for the fifth wicket, after Pakistan had removed Steve Smith and Travis Head early in the day.

Pakistan’s chase got off to a disastrous start, losing Abdullah Shafique for two in the first over. Captain Shan Masood, who was leading his first Test, followed soon after, edging to wicketkeeper Alex Carey off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling. Mitchell Starc also claimed the wicket of Imam-ul-Haq, trapping him lbw for 10.

Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel offered some resistance, but their partnership was broken when Azam edged a delivery from Pat Cummins to Carey on 14. After the tea break, Sarfaraz Ahmed was caught by Marsh at gully off Starc’s bowling, and Agha Salman was run out needlessly. Lyon then weaved his magic, and Hazlewood cleaned up the tail.

Australia had resumed their second innings at 84-2, with Khawaja on 34 and Smith on 43. The pitch was showing signs of deterioration, with cracks appearing and causing problems for the batsmen. Pakistan’s debutant Khurram Shahzad made a breakthrough, trapping Smith lbw for 45 with a ball that nipped back.

Travis Head came in with an aggressive intent, hitting a boundary off the second ball he faced. But he played a rash shot off Aamer Jamal and was caught by Haq at cover for 14. Both Marsh and Khawaja survived reviews in the same over, as Pakistan ratcheted up the pressure.

Marsh hit sixes off Jamal and spinner Salman to keep the scoreboard moving, before getting a reprieve on 23 when Masood dropped a sitter at mid-off. Khawaja reached his 25th Test half-century off 151 balls, and then accelerated his scoring. Marsh also brought up his second 50 of the match, as both men attacked the bowling after lunch.

Khawaja fell for 90, trying to hit another big shot, and was caught by Azam off Shaheen Shah Afridi. This prompted the declaration, setting Pakistan a daunting target.

The teams will now head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test, before the series concludes in Sydney. This match has set a high benchmark for the rest of the series, and Pakistan will have to improve their performance in all departments to challenge Australia.

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