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At Brisbane, November 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Australia won by ten wickets. Toss: Australia. Test debuts: A. C. Gilchrist, S. A. Muller; Abdur Razzaq.
Steve Waugh's decision to put Pakistan in, influenced by a green-tinged pitch and his opponents' reputation as notoriously slow starters on overseas tours, was open to debate for much of the first day. The Gabba pitch proved to be an excellent batting surface - it ultimately provided 1,297 runsfor the loss of 30 wickets - and the Australian captain owed much to Fleming, who outshone McGrath in the attack. Fleming took two wickets in four balls in mid-morning and finished the day by having Yousuf Youhana and Mushtaq Ahmed, the night-watchman, caught behind in his last two overs. In between, Pakistan had threatened a shut-out total as Youhana (16 fours) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (15 fours) consolidated a good morning's work by Saeed Anwar. They added 152 in 51 overs before McGrath trapped Inzamam with the new ball. When Moin Khan hit 61 from 68 balls next morning, including a six over long-on off Muller, Pakistan's final 367 left Waugh still at the mercy of his critics.
Slater and Blewett swung the game Australia's way with their third century opening partnership in their last four Test innings. By the close they were unbeaten with 233, already past Slater's first-wicket record against Pakistan with Taylor in 1994-95, and they increased it on the third day to 269, Australia's third-highest opening stand. Slater against Shoaib Akhtar added spice to the occasion, with the crowd wanting to see if Shoaib could outpace their own Jeff Thomson, once measured at 99.7mph. There were two rival speed guns on the ground, but they varied considerably in their measurements, which in any case were calibrated in kph.
Shoaib once put Slater on his back, was unofficially rebuked by the match referee for making faces at the batsman, and had him dropped at second slip on 99. Slater had already been dropped when 78 off Wasim Akram at mid-off. It was obviously his day. He passed 4,000 runs in Tests and went on to his third-highest score for Australia, hitting a six and 25 fours in a stay of almost six hours (271 balls). Shoaib had a moment of triumph when he sent back Steve Waugh and Ponting in quick succession, but there was no respite for the Pakistanis. Mark Waugh scored a typically high-class hundred (148 balls, 17 fours), though he should have been stumped in the 90s; Gilchrist helped him add 123 in 113 minutes and looked on course for a debut hundred until Shoaib yorked him for 81, and followed up with Fleming's wicket three deliveries later. A hailstorm brought the third day to an early close, but next morning Warne raced from 34 not out to a career-best 86 off 90 balls in a last-wicket stand of 86 with Muller. Warne's four sixes all came off fellow-leg-spinner Mushtaq, three in one over, and he also hit nine fours.
Five missed chances and sloppy ground fielding contributed to Pakistan's 208-run deficit. However, an uncharacteristic Australian fumble, by Mark Waugh at slip, let them claw their way back after early setbacks. Anwar, only four when he was dropped, fought on to 119 (174 balls, 20 fours). He and Youhana added a record 177 runs for Pakistan's fourth wicket against Australia and, when rain stopped play at tea on the fourth day, he was still there, with Pakistan 15 runs ahead and six wickets in hand. The first of those went to Warne off the first ball of the final morning, McGrath quickly ended Anwar's resistance, and Fleming claimed the tail to finish with five wickets, and nine for the match - an excellent return in a game so dominated by batsmen. It left Australia requiring 74 runs to win, and Slater and Blewett knocked them off in 56 minutes to let Steve Waugh take an early flight to Sydney to await the birth of his second child: his first son, as it happened.
Man of the Match: M. J. Slater. Attendance: 41,636.