WTC: Khwaja ton sets the tone for Australia
Usman Khawaja's unbeaten century and Steve Smith's fifty put Australia in command on the first day of the second Test in Karachi
KARACHI: Usman Khawaja's unbeaten century and Steve Smith's fifty put Australia in command on the first day of the second Test in Karachi.
In Karachi, Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. After weathering a challenging first spell from Pakistan pacers, David Warner and Usman Khawaja dominated with the bat, making full use of the new pitch in the first half of the opening session.
Pakistan's best bowler from the Rawalpindi Test, Shaheen Shah Afridi, started impressively against the two left-handers, occasionally asking them problems with swinging full-length deliveries. Hasan Ali, who made his comeback into the Pakistan XI, was very precise with Shaheen in the opening stint and tormented the batsmen with his tight outside off-stump line. Warner, who had a rocky start, survived two tight leg-before-wicket calls from Hasan but then looked in great form.
Pakistan used spin early on since they had two left-handers at the crease. Warner and Khawaja's aggressive response to Sajid Khan's bowling, on the other hand, emphasized the openers' approach. Warner glided down the track and smashed him for a six over long-off in Sajid's first over, bringing up the half-century opening partnership. The openers remained steady in the middle, as Khawaja danced down the track to knock a six off Sajid in the 17th over, which was followed by another six from Warner in the same over.
It appeared that Khawaja and Warner might gallop to a century in the first stand but Faheem Ashraf broke through to halt it on 82. Working his way around the wicket, Ashraf was able to get a nick off Warner's bat straight into the hands of wicketkeeper Rizwan, dismissing him on 36.
Khawaja completed his second consecutive half-century of the series with a boundary down to the third man, shortly after losing his opening partner. Labuschagne, on the other hand, was unlucky to have to return to the pavilion for a duck. In an attempt to get things started, Labuschagne attempted a daring single, but a direct hit from Sajid left him short at the non-end. striker's
As Australia went to lunch at 100/2, Khawaja and Steve Smith ensured that no more wickets were lost.
After the break, Khawaja and Smith continued their excellent batting display as the hosts failed to take any wickets in the second session of the day. While Smith batted patiently throughout the second session, the southpaw played some superb drives as he neared his century.
Shaheen and Ashraf bowled tight lines and lengths, preventing hitters from scoring easily and keeping the run rate under check throughout the session. Nauman Ali got some spin and bounce off the surface, but both Australians played intelligently and reached tea at 172/2.
In the final session of the day, the hitters added to their century partnership. Meanwhile, Smith's resurgence resulted in his 35th Test fifty. During the tense nineties, his innings allowed Khawaja to take his time.
After missing out on a century in Rawalpindi, Khawaja approached his century with caution and soon reached his 11th Test century with a single towards square leg.
The new ball didn't make much of a difference as Smith and Khawaja kept the scoreboard ticking. However, the arrival of Hasan provided Pakistan with the vital breakthrough, with Ashraf at slips taking a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Smith for 72.
Pakistan could have had Khawaja out on the final ball of the day if Imam-ul-Haq hadn't dropped the catch at forward short leg. Australia was 251/3 at the time of stumps.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency