Pakistan v Australia, 1st MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Lord's, 1st day July 13, 2010

Asif and Aamer give Pakistan the edge


Close Australia 229 for 9 (Katich 80, Clarke 47) v Pakistan
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer claimed three wickets apiece to counteract a battling century stand between Simon Katich and Michael Clarke, as Pakistan made themselves feel at home in the truest sense of the word on a riveting first day against Australia at Lord's. By the time bad light closed in with 10 overs still to be bowled, Michael Hussey was dug in on 39 not out alongside the No. 11 Doug Bollinger, but a dramatic collapse of 7 for 51 had left the Aussies groping for a decent first-innings total on 229 for 9.

After winning the toss following an hour-long delay for rain, Pakistan's pace attack revelled in the sort of conditions they could never have dreamed of encountering had they been playing this "home" Test in Karachi or Lahore. With Aamer swinging the ball late and at a zippy pace, and Asif nagging away on an impeccable seamer's length, Australia inched along to 36 for 1 after 13 overs at lunch, which became 51 for 2 soon afterwards, when Ricky Ponting flicked Aamer straight into short leg's midriff for 26.

Clarke and Katich made arduous but invaluable progress thereafter, adding 120 for the third wicket to carry Australia into the ascendancy on 171 for 2, but when Clarke fell to the final ball of the session, trapped lbw by Asif for 47, Pakistan had received a vital boost at the end of a frustrating passage of play, and they made the most of their incision.

After the break, Asif continued his devastating rhythm from the Pavilion End, nipping the ball down the slope to nick the edge of Katich's bat and send him on his way for a gutsy 80 from 138 balls, before Marcus North was bowled through the gate for a third-ball duck (174 for 5). The debutants, Tim Paine and Steven Smith were the next to go - Paine had been entrenched for 46 balls for his 7 when he nicked off to Umar Gul, before Smith was unluckily adjudged lbw to Danish Kaneria, despite getting an inside-edge on his topspinner (208 for 7).

Though Hussey found rare fluency with five fours and a slog-swept six over midwicket, Australia's tail struggled to resist a now pumped-up Pakistan attack. Mitchell Johnson was bamboozled by a beautifully flighted legbreak from Kaneria that bowled him through the gate, while Ben Hilfenhaus had his stumps rattled by Aamer. Though Bollinger hung around gamely to keep Australia going until the close, the damage to their innings had already been done.

Australia's struggles at the top and tail of the day merely underlined the excellence of the stand between Katich and Clarke. Despite holding the captaincy of Australia's limited-overs teams, Test cricket is the form of the game that brings out the best in Clarke's elegant strokeplay, and while Katich bedded in in his familiarly attritional manner, it was his 77-ball 47 that secured them the honours in the afternoon session.

He picked off eight fours in total, including three in an over as Asif's line and length wavered temporarily, and two in two from Kaneria - a flick through midwicket and a lofted drive over mid-on. Katich picked up his tempo after reaching his 33rd Test half-century, and cashed in on an exploratory spell from Shahid Afridi to close in on a century. But then, on the stroke of tea, Clarke misjudged a nipbacker from Asif that came down the slope to hit the kneeroll, and the floodgates were opened.

It could, however, have been much worse for Australia, and with more dank weather forecast, a 250 total could yet be defendable. The first man to fall was Shane Watson, who opened his account with a firm drive for four when Asif overpitched, but who was sent on his way without addition three overs later, and in a somewhat embarrassing fashion. Facing up to Aamer, he padded up to a full-length swinger that rapped him flush in front of middle, and umpire Ian Gould's finger was already going up before the ball looped up and into his stumps.

Gould, who is the first English umpire to stand in a Lord's Test since John Holder in 2001, might well have had reason to raise his finger earlier in the innings as well, when Katich, on 2, survived a vociferous appeal for lbw as Aamer scudded an inswinger into his shin. The replays suggested he was mighty lucky to survive, although Gould himself suggested to the bowler that there had been a hint of inside-edge.

The most notable wicket of the day, however, was that of Australia's captain, Ricky Ponting. His top score in three Ashes Tests at Lord's is a meagre 42, and there is little guarantee that he will be back again for a fourth visit in 2013. Having survived the worst of the conditions to reach 14 not out from 23 balls at lunch, he notched up his 11594th Test run after the break to move ahead of Brian Lara in second place on the all-time list. But then the debutant Umar Amin reacted superbly under the lid to cling on to a firm clip, to leave Ponting with what could be one last shot at securing a place on the Lord's honours boards.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 15, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    If Simon Katich scores a ton, does he get his name on the Lord's century board as it is not a Test against England?

  • Aamir on July 14, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    @ Farhan020328: Yes you are absolutely right. It is very much typical Aussie comment on standard of umpiring. They just don't want to accept the fact the Pakistan has undone them in first inngs and Mr Punter's elbow to Aamir shows that. Just Jealous nothing else. And @ popcorn: if Ketch was given out; Aussie could never cross 200 mark. If the decision gone against Aussie then they got some in their favor as well. EQUALS

  • Farhan on July 14, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    popcorn, you told right. But I donno how the two not given decisions skipped ur eyes. Either you missed the action or you are jealous of Pakistan success. You have to understand and judge all the aspects before commenting.

  • imran on July 14, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    pakistani bolling attack all time very fine but bating line up no so good. i think mohammad yousuf & younis khan need to pakistan team.

  • ks on July 14, 2010, 9:46 GMT

    @Bilal Yousuf You dont have the Asif, Gul,Kaneria, Aamir to get aussies stumbling at 229/9. Just take a look at the hammering your team is getting by the hands of the SriLankan President's XI. its a practice game played on sub continent slow the way we will see how the pakistan batsmen will fair against the ausies.being an indian i support pakistan to win the match . all the best.

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    Well done Pakistani bowlers, I see a struggling pakistani batting lineup. Hope for the best may be this is their test match after a long time against Australia and no wonder Pakistan can do it if they just blend in like a fighting team

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2010, 9:33 GMT

    what a job done by pak pacers... but they still need m.yousuf i.nazir & yunus khan.......

  • ahmed on July 14, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    Good Job boys, but the job is only 1/4 of the way through....lets not lose focus here, its the aussies we're facing, and the aussies like any great team, thrive under pressure! I just hope we bat sensibly! Please God help the Pakistan batting lineup be patient and calm!

  • rahul on July 14, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    The 'rare fluency' is to indicate how bad other players were playing they all played rash shots.Who would have expected the Aussies to collapse Aussies are known for their demolishing skills pak dont have a Dravid or VVS

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Paki will win this series also...

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