- By B.V.Swagath
Day 4 Report
Australia won the 1st Test at Lord's by 150 runs to lead the neutral 2-Test Series 1-0. It's the 13th Test win in a row for Australia against Pakistan which is a new record it seems. Well Pakistan batting was not good enough really while Australia really fought back in adverse conditions to deservingly win this match! If Shane Watson was the surprise taking a five-wicket haul in the first innings, then this time it was Marcus North becoming the unlikely hero with the ball clinching a 6-wicket haul out of nowhere with his floaty off breaks. Pakistan batting was below par on what was a flat track devoid of any real assistance to the bowlers.
When Salman Butt and Azhar Ali, the overnight pair resumed play on the fourth day, it looked like wickets would be difficult to take and in the process Pakistan was starting to challenge the target of 440. Ben Hilfenhaus provided the much needed break when he had debutant Azhar Ali (42) pushing hard at an outswinger to break a 102-run stand for the 2nd wicket. The turning point of the day's play came in the 56th over when a well set Salman Butt on 92 (with 15 fours) not only lost his concentration but also his balance in a flick shot way down the legside to what was the first ever ball bowled by the innocuous Marcus North in the Test Match!
After Butt's exit, the floodgates opened up and it was just too easy for the Aussies as they wrapped up the Pakistani innings in 91.1 overs. Just a semblance of resistance was offered by Umar Amin (33) and Kamran Akmal (46). Leg Spinner Steven Smith also got amongst the wickets taking three, the biggest one being Kamran Akmal who was foxed by a flipper. The Man of the Match award was interestingly shared by Simon Katich and Salman Butt.
Day 3 Report
Australia have been made to work hard by Pakistan as they finished Day 3 with a solid fightback at 114 for 1 in 37 overs after being set a daunting target of 440. Salman Butt came good for the second time just like Simon Katich and barring few loose moments is otherwise looking determined in an unbeaten knock of 58 from 118 balls (with 9 fours). Giving him company is debutant Azhar Ali who has collected an unbeaten 28 from 58 balls. The only man to be dismissed was Imran Farhat caught pulling debutant leg spinner Steven Smith to mid wicket. It was a maiden wicket for Smith who didn't quite show his mettle as a test match spinner.
The pitch has flattened out under the sun and the only chance that the Aussies have in taking quick wickets on the fourth day is if there is any cloud cover that assists in the ball to dart around.
End of Australia's 2nd Innings Report
Pakistan have been set a highly difficult target of 440 to win the opening Test at Lord's. Australia despite shaken up at 100 for 4 at the start of the third day's play went on to stretch their second innings total to 334 while batting out 91 overs. Besides the rock solid Katich who made 83 (from 174 balls with 10 fours), the surprise package came from debutant Wicket Keeper - Tim Paine (47 from 85 balls) along with no.10 Ben Hilfenhaus who finished on an unbeaten 56! It was a maiden half century for the fast bowler.
Day 2 Report
Australia have gained almost total control over the weather interrupted Lord's Test though Pakistan rattled them up with some quick wickets towards the end of Day 2. It was an action packed second day that saw as many as 15 wickets tumbling down! The Aussies are shaken up at 100 for 4 in their second innings but with a first innings lead of 105 are sitting absolutely pretty in this match given the fact that they are against an ordinary batting line up of Pakistan!
Earlier in the day, a useful 31-run partnership for the last wicket between Michael Hussey (56* from 100 balls) with Doug Bollinger (4 from 28 balls) helped Australia's first innings total to 253. Mohammad Aamer finished the innings with a yorker to clinch 4 for 72. Pakistan in reply just didn't have the class in their batting with the sole exception of Salman Butt, who scored a fluent 63 from 94 balls with 12 fours. Butt fell short of partners and was the second last batsman to be dismissed, foxed by a swinging yorker from Watson. The innings folded in just 40.5 overs with Pakistan all out for 148.
There was just a tiny fightback with the bat from Pakistan when Skipper Shahid Afridi got into the Twenty20 mould but could only score 31 (from 15 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes). Shane Watson surprised himself as he finished with a career best of 5 for 40 in just 7.5 overs. It was a perfect spell of swing bowling that rewarded him. Hilfenhaus and Bollinger did considerable damage taking two wickets each.
In their second innings, Australia got off to a flier with Shane Watson batting freely but an overconfident drive saw him caught in the slips to cut short his innings at 31. Asif, who got that wicket had Ponting padding up cluelessly to an inswinger to get out lbw for a duck. Michael Clarke too failed to read an inswinger to be bowled for a duck, the bowler this time being Umar Gul. It was two wickets in two balls with next man Michael Hussey jabbing a jaffa from Gul to slip. The lean fast bowler missed out on a hat-trick though. Australia are very much in control of the game with an overall lead of 205 runs. Simon Katich is battling it out on 49 (from 93 balls with 9 fours). This match could be all over on the third day itself given the vulnerability of the raw Pakistani batting line-up..
Day 1 Report.
Australia have been reduced to 229 for 9 in a shortened first day's play of the 1st Test against Pakistan at Lord's. Seamers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif picked up three wickets each to trigger a dramatic collapse for the Aussies just when they started to build the innings through a century stand between Simon Katich and Michael Clarke. Katich worked his way to 80 (from 138 balls with 9 fours) before losing his wicket in quick succession along with Clarke and North. Michael Clarke has scored 47 before Asif got an inswinger to beat his drive and have him lbw. Katich was next to go also removed by Asif who got the left hander nicking behind. The next man Marcus North has his stumps knocked off by the same bowler to be dismissed for a duck.
This was after the Aussies were put to bat first under cloudy conditions at Lord's. The match was off to a delayed start due to rain and bad light. Only 70 overs were possible in the day's play which was full of action. Aamer, the other new ball bowler provided the inroads by removing Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting at the top. Towards the end, only Michael Hussey has survived amongst the batsmen and is batting on 39 with only Doug Bollinger able to give him any company. There are as many as four debutants in this match, two from each side - Wicket Keeper Tim Paine and Steven Smith for Australia and Azhar Ali and Umar Amin for Pakistan.