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257310

By Abdullah Ansari (6th January, 2017)

Toss: Australia won the toss, Steve Smith opted to bat first.

Teams

Australia: MT Renshaw, DA Warner, UT Khawaja, SPD Smith (c), PSP Handscomb, HWR Cartwright, MS Wade (wk), MA Starc, SNJ O'Keefe, JR Hazlewood, NM Lyon.

Pakistan: Sharjeel Khan, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan.

After another lengthy rain delay, Pakistan finally resumed the innings with an obvious plan revolving around Younis consuming most of the strike, as he refused easy singles until the fourth ball of the over. Starc had the batsman edging one in his first over of the day but Wade shelled the catch with Younis on 141. The veteran brought up his 150 with a huge 108m six off Lyon. Yasir continued to survive whatever the Australians could throw at him while Younis moved to 175 with another six, this time off O'Keefe. However, Hazlewood struck to remove Yasir with a full delivery that the batsman edged behind after making 10 off 41 balls. Imran fell on the second ball he faced, cleaned up by Hazlewood as Pakistan were bowled out for 315.

Australia opted to bat again with a lead of 223 and they got off to the ideal start as Warner smacked Imran for a four. Amir did not take the field as he went to the hospital with a suspected side strain, and Yasir opened the bowling. Warner took a liking to this plan, taking his second over for 22 runs - a couple of overs later, he took Imran for four consecutive fours. He brought up a 23 ball fifty with a big six off Yasir, the second fastest in Tests. Wahab brought an end to his innings with a good length ball which he missed, getting bowled for 55. With Renshaw ruled out of the match due to a concussion, Khawaja had opened the innings and he continued with Smith. They were cautious for a few overs and then let loose - Sarfraz once again missed a stumping off Yasir's bowling. Tea was taken with Australia 117/2 in 18 overs.

The batsman continued in a similar manner with the innings gathering pace as time went on. Khawaja went after Yasir as well, taking him for three fours to get to his fifty. Smith also got to his fifty soon but was dismissed on review, caught down the legside off Yasir for 59. Handscomb straight away played his shots as the Pakistan bowlers and fielders seemed to be in a state of despair, waiting for a declaration. With Yasir and Azhar having been smashed to all corners of the ground, Smith finally declared at 241/2 with Khawaja on 79*, Handscomb on 40*.

Pakistan were set a target of 465 and had to survive 16 overs on the day. Azhar began in his usual, stodgy manner while Sharjeel went after the bowlers after a couple of overs. He took advantage of a couple of loose balls from Starc then hammered Lyon in his first over. He continued to play shots when given the opportunity but then went for one shot too many off Lyon's bowling, trying to loft him over the leg-side - he was caught after making 40. Yasir came as the nightwatchman and he and Azhar made it through the rest of the day unscathed with Pakistan 55/1 - they need to make 410 more runs or survive 98 overs on Day 5.

Summary: A dismal day for Pakistan despite decent efforts with the bat. Conceding 241 runs at 7.5 an over knocked the stuffing out of an already struggling bowling attack and the visitors seemed to be waiting for a declaration for much of the innings. It was almost a relief when it came, but with such a huge target, a win was pretty much ruled out. Sharjeel batted positively but the dismissal was avoidable, while Younis played an almost flawless innings earlier in the day to minimise the deficit - he is only 36 runs away from the coveted 10,000 run mark. An uphill struggle awaits the visitors on Day 5.

Fall of wickets:

9-315 (Yasir Shah, 110.1 ov)
10-315 (Imran Khan, 110.3 ov)

1-71 (Warner, 8.4 ov)
2-174 (Smith, 24.6 ov)

1-51 (Sharjeel Khan, 11.6 ov)

Discuss!