Australia v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Hobart, 3rd day

Australia extend lead to 277 after Butt ton

The Report by Brydon Coverdale at Bellerive Oval

January 16, 2010

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Australia 8 for 519 dec and 1 for 59 lead Pakistan 301 (Butt 102, Malik 58, Katich 3-34, Hauritz 3-96) by 277 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Salman Butt brings up an eventful half-century, 3rd Test, Australia v Pakistan, 3rd day, Hobart, January 16, 2010
Salman Butt made 102 as Pakistan fought hard, but they are well behind after three days © Getty Images
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Salman Butt's third Test century and Ricky Ponting's decision not to enforce the follow-on should ensure the Hobart Test goes for the full five days, although Australia remain in control with a 277-run advantage. After the second day's play, Ponting talked up the likelihood of making Pakistan bat again straight away, but his mind was changed when it took the bowlers 105.4 overs to dismiss them the first time.

Eventually, after a 60-minute last-wicket partnership between Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif that spanned both sides of the tea break, Nathan Hauritz finished off Pakistan for 301, leaving them 218 short of Australia's total. But Ponting wanted a break for his fast men and, despite the expected showers over the next two days, will set Pakistan a fourth-innings target.

Australia reached 1 for 59 at stumps with Simon Katich on 33 and Ponting on 25 after Shane Watson departed in the second over for 1. Watson skied a catch when he miscued Mohammad Aamer and it was the first time since the summer-opening Gabba Test match that he had failed to post a half-century in either innings.

Batting wasn't difficult on the good surface, as demonstrated by the inability of Australia's fast men to break through with the second new ball when they were trying to prise out Gul and Asif. Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Johnson didn't help their cause by abandoning the key principle of new-ball bowling - pitching up to allow swing - and banged it in far too short against the tailenders.

The pair added 53 for the final wicket and provided some entertaining highlights, including three powerful sixes from Gul, who finished unbeaten on 38. Asif posted 29, his highest Test score, before he skied a catch to mid-on off Hauritz, who ended up with 3 for 96. The tail-end pluck only served to highlight how disappointing much of Pakistan's batting effort was, with the exception of Butt and Shoaib Malik.

Their fighting three-hour stand that lasted until after lunch was characterised by concentration and patience, two traits that Pakistan's batsmen have so often lacked on this trip. Butt was strong off the back foot through the off side and Malik put in a good audition to permanently return to the Test line-up before the part-time spin of Katich split the pair up.

Katich had Butt caught at slip for 102, which was his first Test century for four years and a much-needed one after he was responsible for running out Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal on the second afternoon. It was enough for Yousuf to brand Butt a "lazy" runner and although the captain wasn't spotted cheering Butt's century, he must surely have been pleased that his opener took on the extra responsibility after his lapses.

The loss of Butt led to a collapse of 5 for 35 as Katich ran through the lower middle-order and finished with 3 for 34, his second-best Test figures. Katich tossed one up across the body of the right-hander Sarfraz Ahmed, who edged to slip for 1, and then drew Aamer into an exotic slog-sweep that flew high in the air and was swallowed by Watson at cover.

In between, Hauritz had chipped in with the key wicket of Malik, who by then was Pakistan's best hope of avoiding the follow-on. He threw his innings away with a lusty aerial drive that was taken at mid-on, and Hauritz followed with Danish Kaneria, caught at cover.

Then came the last-wicket stand, which was Pakistan's best in Tests for three years. Together with the efforts of Butt and Malik, it was enough to make Ponting think twice about the follow-on and the next two days will reveal if it was enough to save the match.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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