Marnus Labuschagne, pacers put Australia in command v Pakistan

Updated: Nov 24, 2019, 07:51 IST | AFP | Brisbane

Marnus Labuschagne then enticed Haris Sohail to waft at a ball well outside off stump, only to get a thick edge to Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

Oz Labuschagne celebrates his hundred v Pakistan. Pic /PTI
Oz Labuschagne celebrates his hundred v Pakistan. Pic /PTI

Brisbane: Australia look certain to take a 1-0 lead in their series against Pakistan after dominating with both bat and ball on day three of the first Test in Brisbane on Saturday. Big centuries to Marnus Labuschagne (185) and David Warner (154) helped Australia to a first innings total of 580 in reply to Pakistan's 240. At stumps Pakistan were in big trouble on 64 for three, still needing 276 runs to make Australia bat again. Shan Masood was not out 27 and Babar Azam was 20 at the close. Mitchell Starc did the early damage for the Australians in the final hour of the day's play, trapping captain Azhar Ali leg before for five.

He then enticed Haris Sohail to waft at a ball well outside off stump, only to get a thick edge to Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine. Asad Shafiq was next to fall, edging Pat Cummins to second slip where Steve Smith took a comfortable catch. Labuschagne had earlier scored a magnificent maiden Test century in front of his home crowd at the Gabba. The 25-year-old made history during the Ashes series earlier this year when he was brought into the second Test as a concussion replacement for Steve Smith, who had been hit in the head by a Jofra Archer bouncer.

It was the first time a concussion replacement had been used in Test cricket since the new law was introduced. Labuschagne scored four 50s in that series but had been unable to convert any of those until his near chanceless innings on Saturday. Earlier, teenage pace sensation Naseem Shah claimed his first Test wicket when he had Warner caught behind for 154. Warner only added three runs to his overnight score of 151 when he became 16-year-old Naseem's first scalp.

Naseem, whose pace has been impressive during this Test, eventually claimed Warner when the nuggety opener was unable to avoid a short pitched ball and edged it to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan, to leave the Australians 351 for two. But that was the last hurrah from Naseem, who appeared to be injured and only bowled four overs in the day.

The Pakistanis' hearts must have sunk when they saw Smith striding to the crease to replace Warner. But after hitting a boundary off Yasir Shah, the leg-spinner then clean bowled Smith, the seventh time in six Test matches that Yasir has dismissed the Australian number four. Labuschagne and Matthew Wade shared in a 110-run partnership before Wade was well caught by Rizwan for 60 off Sohail.

Sohail and Rizwan then combined to have Travis Head caught down the leg side for 24. The Pakistan bowlers toiled hard throughout the day and were rewarded when they took the last five Australian wickets for 35 runs, with Yasir (4-205) and Shaheen Afridi (2-96) the pick.

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