Australia Collapse As Pakistan Take The Initiative
Australia 229-9 (Katich 80, Mohammad Asif 3-53) v Australia
First Test, Lord's
Australia lost seven wickets for 51 runs as they were reduced to 229 for nine at stumps on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl first after cloudy skies and overnight rain delayed the start of the first neutral Test to be held in England since 1912.
And they used the conditions beautifully as opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif both took three wickets to keep Australia under pressure throughout the day.
After the 90-minute delay, Amir struck quickly to have Shane Watson (4) bowled as he tried to leave, the ball canoning off his pad and his armpit onto his stumps after umpire Ian Gould began to raise his finger to uphold an lbw appeal.
Simon Katich survived a mighty close lbw appeal early in his innings and he and Ricky Ponting (26) took Australia to lunch having both been handed stern examinations of their technique against the moving ball.
Amir eventually got the better of Ponting after the break when he clipped the ball to Umar Amin at short leg and the debutant held a sharp catch to see the end of the Australian captain.
Katich and Michael Clarke then helped up the run-rate with Clarke playing some fine strokes on his way to 47 in 77 balls but he was trapped in front by Asif with the final ball before the tea break to signal the start of Australia's collapse.
After reaching a half-century for the ninth Test in a row, Katich's vigil was ended when Asif had him caught by wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal with a delivery that held its line and took the edge. The left-hander had made 80 in 138 balls with nine fours to keep Australia fighting.
After his dismissal, Pakistan dominated proceedings as the rest of the batting, Michael Hussey (39 not out) excepted, showed no hint of permanency at the crease.
Marcus North could have been out to his first two balls before Asif swung one through a large gap between bat and pad to bowl him for a three-ball duck, Tim Paine never settled and was eventually caught behind as he received an unplayable delivery from Umar Gul to end his difficult stay of seven in 46 balls and fellow debutant Steve Smith was unlucky to be given out lbw to leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after edging the ball onto his pads for one.
There was no doubt about Kaneria's next wicket as he set Mitchell Johnson (3) up perfectly with a series of leg-spinner, straight ball, googly before the ripping leg-spinner found its way through to the stumps.
The final wicket came when Amir returned to have Ben Hilfenhaus (1) comprehensively bowled to leave Hussey, who had earlier brought up Australia's 200 with a six over midwicket, batting with Doug Bollinger, unbeaten and yet to score, when the players headed off the field due to bad light.
Amir returned figures of three for 59, Kaneria two for 49 and Gul one for 24. Captain Shahid Afridi enjoyed a good day in charge of the side for the first time but found little success with the ball, disappearing for 25 runs in three overs but he was justified in leaving the job to his frontline spinners and then the genius of Kaneria late on.
© Cricket World 2010