Azhar Ali Ton Puts Pakistan In Command On Day Two Against Australia At The MCG
The weather in Melbourne city continues to cause more trouble with white covers over the turf being the prime focus of the attention for consecutive days followed by Azhar Ali’s splendid ton. So much so, the covers were laid over turf for the third time on Tuesday.
At stumps on Day Two of the three-match Commonwealth Bank Test series, Pakistan were 310 for 6 with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 139 runs off 287 balls and Mohammad Amir batting on 28 off 23 balls while hitting some classic strokes when the ball was doing a bit.
Josh Hazlewood, who has now 99 wickets in Tests, picked wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed when he was unbeaten on 10 off 20 balls.
Australia skipper Steven Smith tried all his options and brought on himself and Nic Maddinson in a bid to provide breakthrough, but he failed for most of the time before Asad Shafiq, who was the first wicket to fall on the day, was caught on 50 off 123 balls on the bowling of fast bowler Jackson Bird. Shafiq was caught by Smith in first slip.
After the extended first session, the visitors made a solid start as Azhar Ali smashed his 12th Test century from 218 deliveries.
Since 2004 Boxing Day Test at the MCG, it was the first ton for Pakistan since legendary Mohammad Yousuf’s 111 off 134 balls.
Both the middle-order batsmen added crucial 115 runs for the Pakistan – to stay alive in the game after losing four quick wickets on 142 runs on Day 1 of the second Test, which saw only 50.5 overs after rain washed-out the final session of the play.
Azhar had his heart in his mouth for a moment when Bird deflected the ball which rolled onto the stumps at non-striker’s end after being hit by Asad Shafiq.
After the umpire called for a review, Azhar was declared “out” when he was clearly inside the crease, before the scoreboard got corrected to give him a sigh of relief.
Earlier, when rain stopped play for 10-odd minutes, the visitors were 192 for 4 with Azhar batting on 96 and Shafiq on 24.
Pakistan resumed on 232 for 4 as play was stopped again for more than 90 minutes because of more rain and the MCG ground staff had been at the forefront to get the game underway.
The weatherman has predicted more rain in coming days which gives us a strong feeling that the game might get drawn unless something unexpected happens.
Pakistan: 310 for 6 (101.2 Overs)
Azhar Ali 139* off 287
Stumps Day Two
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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