Australia v Pakistan, 1st Test, Perth, 4th day

McGrath's 8 for 24 seals it

The Report by S Rajesh

December 19, 2004

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Australia 381 and 5 for 361 dec beat Pakistan 179 and 72 (McGrath 8-24) by 491 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Glenn McGrath's sensational spell destroyed Pakistan at Perth © Getty Images

The combination of an irrepressible Glenn McGrath and a bouncy WACA pitch proved too lethal for Pakistan, as they crashed to their fourth-lowest total in Tests and a massive 491-run defeat. McGrath scythed through the top order taking the first seven wickets, and ending with incredible figures of 8 for 24 - his best in Test cricket - as Pakistan were bundled out for just 72 to tumble to their most comprehensive defeat in terms of runs, and the fourth-largest of all time.

Even the most die-hard Pakistani supporter would have known before play started today that only one result was possible in this game, but what was expected of the players was some gumption and fight. However, none of them had any clue against the bouncing ball, as batsman after inept batsman hung his bat out to dry, and was snaffled by one of several catchers behind the stumps. The stats for today's play will make for appalling reading for a Pakistan fan - 9 for 54 in 25.3 overs.

Four years ago, playing at the same ground against West Indies in 2000-01, McGrath had taken a hat-trick, nailing Sherwin Campbell, Brian Lara and Jimmy Adams. Today, he was in line for a repeat act when he dismissed Abdul Razzaq and Inzamam-ul-Haq off successive balls, and though Kamran Akmal kept the hat-trick ball out, there was little Pakistan could do to thwart him. Homing in on a perfect line around off, he swung and seamed the ball around, and hardly conceded any run-scoring opportunities. Jason Gillespie ended up wicketless at the other end, but with some luck he could have had a few in the bag as well, as Pakistan's batsmen, with their abysmal defensive techniques, were disasters waiting to happen.

The procession started in the fifth over of the day, when Salman Butt steered a drive to Matthew Hayden at gully (2 for 34). Younis Khan fell soon after, presenting Shane Warne with some catching practice at first slip. When Razzaq poked at another one and nicked to the wicketkeeper, Inzamam walked out, batting at No. 6 because of a back injury which kept him off the field for more than a session yesterday. One ball later, he was disconsolately trudging back, given out caught behind off another jaffa (5 for 49).

Inzamam-ul-Haq trudges back after his first-ball duck and the rest of the batsmen followed him soon after © Getty Images

Yousuf Youhana played a couple of blistering cover-drives on his way to 27, but his innings could have ended well before that - his first two scoring strokes were both flails outside off which evaded the slip cordon, and he then tried to duck under a bouncer from Gillespie with his bat hanging in the air, but Ricky Ponting spilled the chance in the slips.

Youhana's luck finally ran out when he tried to draw away from a hook off a superbly directed bouncer, but only managed a faint tickle to Adam Gilchrist (7 for 64). At that stage, McGrath was in line for a perfect ten, but Michael Kasprowicz joined in the fun, taking two of the last three wickets to fall as the innings folded in the final over before lunch.

Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, had admitted before the series began that his side looked like beating nobody. The expectation then was that the players would lift their game for the big occasion. Today's shocking batting performance means that Australia would be odds-on favourites to deliver their third consecutive 3-0 series thrashing to Pakistan.

S Rajesh is an assistant editor of Cricinfo.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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