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Twitter Reactions: Clinical Australian bowlers skittle Pakistan for 240 at The Gabba

Starc was back at his best picking up four wickets in the first innings.

Australian team
Australian team. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The much-awaited Test series between Australia and Pakistan got underway on Thursday at The Gabba in Brisbane. The visitors won the toss and opted to bat first which many felt was a brave decision. Having said that, the Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Shan Masood defied any wicket with the new ball to the Aussies only for the middle-order to throw it away in the second session.

Mitchell Starc took the new ball for Australia along with Josh Hazlewood. But both the bowlers couldn’t breach the defence of the opposition openers. Azhar led from the front for his team with a compact defence even as Masood also looked comfortable for most parts of the first session. For the first time since 2001, a visiting team managed to not lose a wicket in the morning session of Day 1 at The Gabba.

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Both the batsmen looked set and played some gorgeous shots after the lunch and at 75/0, it seemed as if the hosts will have a long day in the middle.

Unpredictable Pakistan come to the fore again

But when Pakistan is playing, nothing could be certain. The trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Pat Cummins reduced them to 78/4 within the next six overs. Cummins was the first to break the opening stand as Masood edged on to Steve Smith while Azhar Ali followed him in the very next over courtesy some impeccable bowling from Hazlewood. Starc came back for his new spell and sent back Haris Sohail.

There were a lot of expectations from Babar Azam but he disappointed everyone by playing an atrocious shot away from his body to leave Pakistan reeling. Iftikhar Ahmed also couldn’t do much and when he was dismissed, the score read 94/5. Meanwhile, Asad Shafiq managed to stay put and made sure that he steers his team to a decent total. He got an able ally in Mohammad Rizwan as well.

The duo added 49 runs in quick time with the latter counterattacking. Rizwan scored 37 off just 34 balls before edging one to Tim Paine of Cummins. However, he must be feeling hard done as the bowler had clearly overstepped with even the third umpire not ruling it the no-ball.

After his wicket, Shafiq took control of the innings perfectly along with Yasir Shah who resisted some fierce bowling well. Pakistan’s number four looked solid yet again bringing back the memories of the last tour when he smashed a century at the same venue in the day-night Test. Shafiq got to his half-century in the process as he added 84 runs for the seventh wicket with Yasir.

Australia were duly waiting for the new ball and once it was taken, it didn’t take much time for Starc and Co to pick the last four wickets. Starc started the collapse by castling Yasir Shah and got Shaheen Afridi’s wicket off the very next delivery. Shafiq was then expected to farm more strike but Cummins nipped one back sharply to breach his defences as Pakistan were skittled for 240 runs in the 87th over of the day.

For the visitors, Shafiq was the top-scorer with 76 runs to his name while Starc was back at his best picking four wickets. While Cummins picked three wickets, Hazlewood ended up with the figures of 2/46. Australia will now be hoping to dictate terms on the second day with the bat while Pakistan will unleash their 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah.

Here’s how Twitter reacted:

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