Australia closing in on big win after Pakistan collapse in second Test

Home side bowled out for 148 as tourists take total control of match in Karachi

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Pakistan collapsed to 148 all out as Australia built up a huge 489-run lead after Day 3 of the second Test in Karachi.

Pakistan, replying to Australia's huge first-innings total of 556-9 declared, were bowled out for just 148 after having spent more than two days toiling in the field. Mitchell Starc took 3-29 to help Australia take complete control against a tired home side

Australia, touring Pakistan for the first time since 1998, then decided not to enforce the follow-on and raced to 81-1 in 17 overs by the close, with Marnus Labuschagne was unbeaten on 37 and first-innings centurion Usman Khawaja not out on 35.

It was a miserable day for Pakistan from the start after Australia captain Pat Cummins (34 not out) helped add a rapid 51 runs at the start of the day after the tourists resumed on 505-8.

In response, captain Babar Azam (36) top-scored before holing out at long off against debutant leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, while last-wicket pair Nauman Ali (20 not out) and Shaheen Afridi (19) shared a stand of 30, the highest of Pakistan's innings.

Australia were brilliant in the field. Labuschagne scored a direct hit to run out Hasan Ali while Swepson had done likewise to remove opener Abdullah Shafique before lunch.

“They got the momentum with Shafique's run out,” Pakistan batting coach Mohammad Yousuf admitted. “Their two experienced bowlers, Pat Cummins and Starc, bowled in the right areas and when there was reverse swing in between 17-39 overs, they utilised it very well.”

Starc didn’t take a wicket on a lifeless pitch in the drawn first test in Rawalpindi, but this time Pakistan were undone by some superb reverse swing from the left-arm fast bowler.

“It’s a much more abrasive wicket, a few more cracks, and the square is so much [more] dry and bare, which played a factor in achieving the reverse swing,” Starc said.

“Over the last couple of days we knew the pitch would deteriorate to some degree but we were not sure it would happen so quickly. Credit to the whole bowling attack and it was a fantastic couple of sessions.”

Australia have two full days to deliver a big win and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years.

Updated: March 14, 2022, 3:01 PM