At stumps on Day One of the first day-night Test match off Commonwealth Bank Series at Brisbane, Australian skipper Steven Smith looked rock-solid and steered the side while scoring a splendid century (110 off 192) after guiding an inexperienced middle order with the ample support from Peter Handscomb (64 off 150), who is playing his second Test of his career.
The third session was completely dominated by Australia when the pink ball seems to do a bit under floodlights.
Pakistan fast bowlers although kept things under control while pitching deliveries up, but the young Australian batters responded well and showed the great defending technique in the middle while coming well behind the ball.
In 81st over of the game, Smith, who scored his 15th Test ton and first against Pakistan had a sheer luck of the bowling off Mohammad Amir, when he nicked the ball straight into the gloves of Sarfraz Ahmad. The faint edge was not picked up by any Pakistan player in the slip cordon neither the bowler himself nor the umpire.
Apart from the above incident, Smith also had a fair share of luck just before the dinner break, as he was dropped by wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Azhar Ali was the unlucky bowler on this occasion.
Earlier, on a bright and sunny afternoon, Australia won the toss on Thursday and elected to bat in the first day-night Test of three-match Test series against Pakistan at the Brisbane, where the hosts are unbeaten since 1988.
Following the last month’s day-night third Test win over South Africa, Australia took the field with an unchanged side with veteran spinner Nathan Lyon picked over right-arm fast bowler Chadd Sayers in the playing XI.
For Pakistan, Misbah-Ul-Haq and Yasir Shah returned after missing the second Test at Hamilton against New Zealand.
Pakistan has never won a Test at the same venue. And that makes a huge difference when it comes to stats.
After both the Australian openers fought well in the afternoon of the opening session Pakistan bowlers came back strongly after taking two quick wickets in the space of ten deliveries.
David Warner was trapped in front of the wickets by Mohammad Amir when he was given out by umpire Ian Gould on 32 before putting on the 70-run stand for the first wicket with Matt Renshaw (71 off 125 balls) who scored his maiden fifty at his home ground. He was undone by left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz when he edged the ball straight into the gloves of Sarfraz.
Usman Khawaja (4 runs off 7 balls) spooned the ball into the hands of Pakistan skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq at short mid-wicket when Australia’s score was 75. At tea, Australia were 89 for two.
Although Pakistan bowlers bowled with a disciplined line and length, Australian batters kept on ticking the scoreboard.
On the other hand, Yasir Shah who was slightly expensive kept testing Kangaroo battling line-up in the middle overs.
In the 70th over of the game, Pakistan suffered a huge blow in form of fast bowler Mohammad Amir as he dug his right knee into the turf while fielding at fine leg which fortunately for Pakistan didn’t cost them much as Amir was back.
Writhing in pain, Amir was stretchered off after being shoulder by teammate Mohammad Nawaz in the field.
Before going off the field, the 24-year-old Amir had bowled 39 consecutive dots and returned on the field in the 76th over while giving a thumb up at the boundary line.
Since 1999, Pakistan has lost nine Test matches in Australia. Pakistan batsmen have scored six centuries in three series spanning over nine Tests which includes two centuries by former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt, and one each by Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ijaz Ahmed and former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar.
During the two Tests in 2014 in UAE, Lyon took three wickets in two Tests against Pakistan while giving away 422 runs. His average is horrible against Pakistan which reads as 140.66. But the spinner becomes handy at Brisbane.
The 29-year-old has bagged 24 Test wickets in Brisbane at an average of 23.95 which is best among all at his home venues.
In 2016, Australia and Pakistan had been placed at the No. 1 in ICC Test Ranking, but both are coming off of the series losses in Tests.
Brief Scores: Australia 288 for 3 in 90.0 Overs.
Steven Smith 110* off 192
Matt Renshaw 71 off 125
Peter Handscomb 64* off 150
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (C), Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali.
Australia: Steve Smith (C), David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Nic Maddinson, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird
Umpires on field: Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth from England
Third umpire: Sundaram Ravi from India
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle from Sri Lanka