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Toss: Pakistan. Test debut: D. W. Fleming.
For the second week running, the Australians forfeited a priceless opportunity to win. This time it literally slipped through their hands. Having compelled Pakistan to follow on, for only the second time in a home Test, they paid dearly for dropping catches offered by Salim Malik and Aamir Sohail. Malik, reprieved by Taylor on 20, batted for seven hours and 23 minutes before falling to the hat-trick ball from Test newcomer Damien Fleming. By then, Malik had changed the course of the series with 237 runs, including 34 boundaries, the highest score for Pakistan against Australia. Sohail, put down by Warne on nine and briefly retiring for stitches in a cut lip, helped him add 109 in just 99 minutes. Malik also shared century partnerships with Saeed Anwar and Aamer Malik. Having collapsed in five hours and 39 minutes to McDermott and Fleming in the first innings, Pakistan stubbornly resisted for ten and a half hours to ensure a draw.
Regrettably, a match of memorable drama ended in farce with non-bowlers Taylor and Slater taking wickets and Mushtaq Ahmed giving a convincing impression of Malcolm Marshall. Such levity was a far cry from the ebullient strokeplay of Slater and the enthralling duel between Wasim Akram and Steve Waugh as Australia amassed an imposing first-innings 521 for nine declared. Slater scored his third Test hundred and shared his fourth century opening stand with his mentor Taylor in 16 Tests. Given that the Australians had been sent in just three days after their profound disappointment at Karachi, it was a stirring performance. Intent on exposing Steve Waugh's well-documented vulnerability against the steepling delivery, Wasim defied a back injury to bowl with great hostility on a well-grassed bouncy pitch. Some observers, but not the umpires, considered Wasim had intimidated Waugh, but Waugh came through the crisis magnificently, and was cruelly deprived of his century when he played on to Waqar Younis for 98.
When Pakistan replied, the Australian new-ball bowlers carried all before them - McDermott and Fleming each took four wickets. Only the daring Sohail, Striking 80 from 83 balls, offered any significant resistance. Apart from Wasim, with a controlled, undefeated 45, the Pakistanis endeavoured to emulate Sohail - but their cavalier approach handed the bowlers the initiative for the only time until the final day, by which time it was too late.
Then, 24-year-old Fleming became only the third bowler to take a hat-trick on Test debut, after Maurice Allom of England in 1929-30 and Peter Petherick of New Zealand in 1976-77. That it was Malik's wicket which gave him the hat-trick heightened the achievement. "I felt a Sarfraz spell coming on, but unfortunately it stopped at three," said Fleming, referring to Sarfraz Nawaz's extraordinary burst of seven for one at Melbourne in 1978-79.
Man of the Match: Salim Malik.
Close of Play: First day, Australia 305-3 (M. E. Waugh 61*, M. G. Bevan 52*); Second day, Pakistan 48-1 (Aamir Sohail 28*, Zahid Fazal 4*); Third day, Pakistan 28-0 (Saeed Anwar 11*, Aamir Sohail 9*); Fourth day, Pakistan 324-2 (Aamir Sohail 72*, Salim Malik 155*).
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