Australian skipper Steven Smith flayed Pakistan bowling line-up as he brought up his career’s 17th Test century at the MCG when play was halted due to rain with Australia leading Pakistan by 22 runs in the first innings after the visitors declared on 443 for 9 in the second Test of three-match Commonwealth Bank Series.
As Pakistan bowlers were toiling hard against Australian batters, the fourth day’s play was called off due to inclement weather when Kangaroos were 465 for 6.
Smith has registered his third consecutive 1,000-plus Tests runs – spread over 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Smith became No. 7 among the run-getters in Test cricket this year while playing fewer innings than anyone sitting at the first six positions. Smith racked up his fourth ton in 2016.
With a minimum of 325 runs in the calendar year 2016, Smith is leading the Aussie Test run-getters and has the second best average so far.
Earlier, 20 minutes before the scheduled tea break rain forced umpires to take early tea, as the downpour started with the thunder and lightning.
When players left the field, Smith was not out on 100 off 168 balls with fast bowler Mitchell Starc unbeaten on 7 off 8 balls.
The middle-order duo of Maddinson and Wade failed to provide impetus with Nic Maddinson, who was on the radar after his batting woes, and gloveman Matthew Wade went back to the pavilion cheaply.
Maddinson was cleaned up by leg-spinner Yasir Shah on 22 after facing 55 balls. He has scored 0, 1 and 4 in his previous two Tests at Adelaide and Brisbane respectively. It seems all clear that he might lose his spot in the national side.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Wade perished on 9 after facing 27 balls. He was caught by Asad Shafiq on the bowling of Sohail Khan.
The 26-year-old promising prospect Peter Handscomb has continued his form in his Test career while scoring 54 off 90 balls. He was caught by Sami Aslam at point region on the bowling of Sohail Khan just before the lunch interval.
Handscomb added vital 92 runs to keep the scoreboard ticking while notching the singles and doubles on a hot and humid morning session.
The left-arm batsman Usman Khawaja has failed to cross the triple figure mark after adding just two runs to his overnight score of 95 runs.
The 30-year-old was caught by wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmad on the bowling of Wahab Riaz after scoring 97 off 165 balls in the fifth over of the morning.
During the afternoon session that could have been a serious problem for the visitors when Azhar Ali was jolted by Wade’s forceful pull shot to the helmet. Ali was up on his feet eventually and there was no harm done owing to good quality helmets.
With rain playing spoilsport from the first day of the second Test so far, it’s hard to expect a result in the match, but hosts would like to put visitors early on task if the sky remains clear for the 5th and final day of the second Test.
Brief Scores: Second Test at Melbourne
First Innings: Australia 465 for 6 in 113.5 overs
Steven Smith 100* off 168 balls
Mitchell Starc 7* off 8 balls
Pakistan First innings: 443 for 9 Declaration
Sohail Khan 86 for 2 in 23.5 overs