The second Test of the series between Pakistan and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground came to a closure as the visitors’ batting lineup imploded on the final day to see hosts clinch the series 2-0.
The game was sedate for the most part of four days as rains played a spoilsport now and then. The final day turned out to be a gripping one as the hosts first piled up on the misery on visitors to declare on 624 for 8, taking a lead of 181 runs. Pakistan needed to bat out only two sessions to earn a hard-fought draw against Australia at MCG.
Pakistan won the toss and batted first as Azhar Ali did set up the game beautifully for his side as he went on to score an unbeaten 205 runs. Pakistan did score 443 for 8 declared in the first innings due to a breezy cameo by Sohail Khan, which changed the momentum for the visitors. Sohail put on a 100-run stand with Azhar as the Australian bowling looked totally out of sorts while trying to stem the flow of runs.
However, Australia’s reply was a good one as Warner and Khawaja scored runs at a brisk rate to see the side get close to the score set by Pakistan. Misbah-ul-Haq looked hapless as his bowlers were taken apart and were not able to string together good number of overs to keep the hosts quiet in the game. Warner did not allow Pakistan’s premier spinner Yasir Shah to settle into a rhythm as he kept on scoring runs at a fair rate. Warner went on to score his 17th century in Test cricket after suffering from indifferent form this year.Steve Smith cashed in on a great start to score an unbeaten 165 runs. Australia piled on over 600 runs in their first innings.
Pakistan started their second innings in worst possible fashion as Opener Sami Aslam and Babar Azam fell for low scores in the initial overs. Nathan Lyon had received criticism for his lack of wickets before the game.He got crucial breakthroughs of Younis Khan and Misbah going into the last session of the game. Asad Shafiq’s stay was also short as he came onto the crease only to lob the ball to close-in fielder Peter Handscomb. It was a Mitchell Starc show in the last session as he showcased superb spell of reverse swing to clatter down the stumps of Sarfaraz Ahmed and Wahab Riaz. Yasir Shah played an ugly hoick only to be dismissed by Starc as Jackson Bird completed a nice catch to see the Australians burst into celebrations.Pakistan’s collapse on the final day was a familiar sight as earlier witnessed this year against England at Edgbaston and New Zealand at Hamilton,the batting lineup imploded yet again for third time at MCG. The win came out of nowhere as the Test earlier looked on course to be a stalemate after plenty of runs for the batsmen inside the first four days.
With this win, Australia put an end to their series of bad run in Test cricket following defeats against Srilanka and South Africa. The hosts took an unbeatable 2-0 in the series before the final game of the series which will be played at Sydney as the visitors look to produce a better performance to avoid a whitewash against Australia.