Australia declares with formidable target of 450 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia
  • Pakistan’s opener Abdullah Shafique goes back to pavilion for two runs in first over

PERTH: In a strategic move during the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, Australia declared their second innings at 233-5 on Sunday, imposing a challenging target of 450 for the visitors to secure victory.

As the hosts resumed day four at 84-2, the declaration came after lunch when opener Usman Khawaja, who had contributed significantly with 90 runs, exited the crease. Mitchell Marsh, standing unbeaten at 63, received the nod from skipper Pat Cummins, with Khurram Shahzad emerging as the standout bowler for Pakistan, claiming 3-45.

Starting the day with Khawaja at 34 and Steve Smith at 43, Australia had earlier dismissed Pakistan for 271, just before tea on Saturday, a considerable deficit from Australia’s initial innings total of 487. The Sunday session, however, proved challenging on a deteriorating pitch, with Pakistan’s pace bowlers creating difficulties and consistently beating the bat.

Pakistan all out for 271, trailing by 216 runs

Debutant Khurram Shahzad made an impactful entry in the fourth over, dismissing Smith lbw for 45 with a delivery that angled back in. Despite Smith’s review attempt, replays revealed the ball slightly clipping the top of the bails, leading to the Australian veteran’s visibly disappointed exit.

The aggressive Travis Head joined the fray, showcasing intent with a boundary through a straight drive off his second ball. However, Head’s aggressive approach met a halt when a mistimed drive off Aamer Jamal resulted in his dismissal for 14, caught by Imam-ul-Haq at cover.

In an eventful over bowled by Jamal, both Marsh and Khawaja survived reviews, intensifying the pressure from the Pakistani side. Marsh further maintained momentum by striking sixes off Jamal and spinner Agha Salman, surviving a close call when skipper Shan Masood dropped a straightforward catch at mid-off when he was on 23.

Khawaja, on the other hand, persistently built his innings, reaching his 25th Test half-century off 151 balls before accelerating his scoring post-milestone. Despite his intention to play aggressive shots towards his century, he was eventually dismissed by Shaheen Afridi.

Additionally, Pakistan faced an early setback in their pursuit of the formidable target as they lost their first wicket with just 2 runs on the board, adding to the challenges ahead in the Test match. Within the first over of Pakistan’s batting, opener Abdullah Shafique goes back to pavilion when Alex Carey catches him on a ball by Mitchell Starc.

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