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Australia grips Karachi Test as Pakistan bowl out for 148 in first innings

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KARACHI: Australia has strongly gripped Karachi Test as the hosts were bowled out for only 148 runs in reply to 559 in the first inning on the third day of the match. At the end of the day’s play, Australia has scored 78 for the loss of the one wicket in second inning and maintain a lead of 489 runs on Monday.

Earlier, Australian fast bowler, Mitchell Starc used reverse swing to devastating effect Monday, claiming three wickets as Pakistan were bowled out for 148 on the third day of the second Test in Karachi.

The Babar Azam-led unit trailed by 408 runs in the first innings.

The only resistance came from skipper Babar Azam’s bat, who scored 36, before throwing his wicket away to debutant Mitchell Swepson. The leg-spinner ended up with the figures of two for 32 in his nine overs.

Pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi and spinner Nauman Ali made a crucial 30 runs stand for the last wicket.

Australia had declared their first innings on a mammoth 556-9.

Starc, who went wicketless in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi last week, had Azhar Ali (14), Fawad Alam (zero) and Sajid Khan (five) out as Pakistan lost six wickets in the space of 62 runs in the session.

It all went wrong in the first over after lunch when Imam-ul-Haq — who scored twin centuries in the opening Test — fell to a rash shot for 20, lofting spinner Nathan Lyon to skipper Pat Cummins at mid-on.

Starc then had Azhar caught in the slips and next ball trapped Alam with a sharp in-dipping yorker. He almost had a hat-trick when Mohammad Rizwan was beaten neck and crop, but didn’t edge.

Rizwan didn’t last long, however, as he edged Cummins for wicketkeeper Alex Carey to take a simple catch on six, and next over Cameroon Green trapped Faheem Ashraf leg before for four.

Starc then had Sajid caught behind, taking 3-24 in 10 incisive overs as wickets fell in a cluster, in contrast to Australia’s run-spree on a low bounce National Cricket Stadium pitch.

Earlier, opener Abdullah Shafique was run out for 13 as Pakistan faltered at the start.

Shafique, who hit a brilliant unbeaten century in Rawalpindi, had made 13 of Pakistan’s 26-run opening stand when he failed to beat debutant Mitchell Swepson’s direct throw from a point after being called for a sharp single.

Australia had resumed the third day on 505-8 as Cummins opted to bat on.

Pakistan struck with the second ball of the day when fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi had Starc caught at cover by Azhar without adding to his overnight 28.

But that was all the success they had as Cummins, who finished on 34 not out, added a brisk 51 for the ninth wicket with Swepson (15) before declaring.

 All-rounder Ashraf was the pick of the attack with his 2-55 from 21 overs, while off-spinner Sajid Khan took 2-167 from 57 overs.

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