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Australia vs Pakistan, 1st Test, Day 2 – 5 Talking Points

Peter Handscomb of Australia
Peter Handscomb of Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Hosts Australia were all over Pakistan on the 2nd day of the 1st Test in Adelaide as Pakistan was staring down the barrel at the end of the 2nd day’s play. Beginning the day at 288/3, Australia lost wickets at regular intervals to slide to 380/9. Peter Handscomb carried on from where he left on the 1st day and went on to hit his maiden Test century, an innings constructed with 10 fours and a solitary six.

Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were the wreckers-in-chief for Pakistan as both finished with four wickets each as Australia eventually folded out for 429 in their 1st innings. Their fast bowlers were simply unplayable at times and were helped by the visiting batsmen as they went for loose shots and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals. Both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood bowled in the right areas and bagged three wickets each. Jackson Bird who returned to the Test outfit in the last Test against South Africa also chipped in with a couple of wickets to derail Pakistan’s progress.

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1. Mohammad Amir’s brilliant morning spell

The left-arm pacer did justice to his reputation as he returned with impressive figures of 4/97 in 31 overs and was particularly impressive on the 2nd day morning. Amir had dismissed David Warner early on Day 1 and added 3 more to his kitty by dismissing Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood in almost identical fashion on the 2nd day morning.

First, he had Matthew Wade caught in the slip cordons as the batsman went for an expansive drive on the up. He followed it up with two more quick wickets as both Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood went in a similar fashion. Amir bowled in the right areas and the ball did something in the air and off the pitch to induce the edges from the tail enders. Despite his brilliance, Pakistan were staring down the barrel by the end of the day.

2. Wahab Riaz’s fiery spell

Mohammad Amir was very well supported by another promising left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz who returned with figures of 4/89 in 26 overs. Wahab had dismissed Matt Renshaw on the first day by bowling a peach of a delivery which moved just enough after pitching to take the edge. He began Day 2 in a positive fashion by inducing a false shot from centurion Steve Smith who nicked an outside the off stump delivery to Sarfaraz Ahmed as he went for a full-fledged swing.

He was quick to add one more in a matter of minutes as Nic Maddinson continued his horrendous start to the international career and went for a naught. Peter Handscomb who scored his maiden Test century in only his 2nd Test also fell to Riaz. He attempted an expansive drive which took the inside half of the bat and hit the timbers. It was a fiery spell from the left arm pacer who had earlier tormented the Aussies, Shane Watson in particular in the 2015 World Cup.

3. Peter Handscomb’s brilliant century

Handscomb continued his impressive start to his international career by scoring a brilliant century in the 1st inning of the Adelaide Test against Pakistan to put the Aussies in a position of strength. Handscomb had joined his captain Steve Smith in the middle on the 1st day itself after the fall of Matt Renshaw’s wicket and had scored a fluent half-century to share an unbroken 137 run stand with Smith.

Beginning Day 2 on 64, Handscomb played some attractive strokes and timed his way to his maiden Test century after scoring an impressive fifty in his debut match against the Proteas. Despite his free-flowing batting on the 2nd day morning, he kept losing his partners one after the other and was eventually dismissed by Wahab Riaz while going for quick runs. He will be mighty pleased with his performances especially considering Australia’s performance in Test cricket in the recent past.

4. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood wreck Pakistan top order

It was a brilliant piece of fast bowling by both Starc and Hazlewood who was cited by Jason Gillespie to become the greatest fast bowling pair of all time. After posting a sizeable 1st innings total, Australia rattled the visitors with early inroads. First Starc had Azhar Ali caught in the slip cordons as the opener slashed at a delivery which swung away from the batsman and was well caught by Usman Khwaja in the 3rd slip.

Josh Hazlewood induced a fall shot from Babar Azam at the score of 43 which was easily grabbed by Steven Smith in the first slip. He followed it up with Younis Khan’s wicket in the very next delivery as the veteran batsman nicked an outswinger behind the stumps. Starc continued the Australian domination by dismissing Asad Shafiq and Yasir Shah later on in the day to push the Pakistanis into a corner. While Starc finished with 3/45 in 15 overs, Hazlewood returned with brilliant figures of 3/19 in 11 overs.

5. Jackson Bird adds to Pakistan’s misery

Apart from Starc and Hazlewood, Jackson Bird was also brilliant with the Pink Ball in hand and finished with 2/7 in 9 overs. Coming into bowl as the 1st change bowler, Bird scalped Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq early on in the innings as the 42-year-old veteran batsman went for an expansive drive and gave a catch to Matt Renshaw.

Bird also dismissed opener Sami Aslam who had batted patiently for 100 balls. It was a fuller length delivery which Aslam wanted to drive but nicked it behind the stumps to Matthew Wade. The comeback man bowled his heart out and complemented his compatriots pretty well.

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