MELBOURNE: Australia completed a clinical 170-run victory over Pakistan on the fifth day of the first Test at the MCG to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Mitchell Johnson struck a crucial double blow in his first over, reducing Pakistan, which resumed on 170 for three, to 171 for five. The left-armer had Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq caught behind off successive deliveries to destroy the touring side’s ambitions of a record chase.
Nathan Hauritz, whose ability to exploit wearing wickets had been questioned by Australia’s selectors ahead of the match, responded with a five-wicket haul. The off-spinner had Kamran Akmal stumped and Mohammad Aamer caught in close to become the second Australian bowler to be on a hat-trick on Wednesday.
Although the hat-trick didn’t materialise, Hauritz ended captain Mohammad Yousuf’s resistance (61) after lunch. He then finished by having Saeed Ajmal caught by Shane Watson, the Man of the Match, as Pakistan was dismissed for 251.
A great game
“It’s been a great game for us,” said Ricky Ponting, who became the most successful captain (42 wins) and player (93 wins) in Test history with the victory.
“It’s one of our best Test wins in quite a while, starting right from the start of the game from the (Simon) Katich and Watson partnership which really set the platform and the foundation for a very good Test match for us,” Ponting said.
“The way we bowled in the first innings in particular was just outstanding. The way we used the new ball and were able to maintain our discipline and execute our skills over such a long period of time at the start of their first innings was a real factor in the game,” he added.
Yousuf said Pakistan’s bowling in the first innings and its fielding were to blame. “We dropped a couple of catches and both the openers made 90-plus,” said Yousuf.
“We were a little shaky in the first innings. But there are positives, especially Mohammad Aamer in the second innings. He pitched the ball in the right areas and that’s why he took five wickets. Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq batted well in the first innings but we have to improve in all areas,” he said.
Australia – 1st innings: 454 for five decl.
Pakistan – 1st innings: 258
Australia – 2nd innings: 225 for eight decl.
Pakistan – 2nd innings: I. Farhat lbw b Bollinger 12, S. Butt lbw b Johnson 33, F. Iqbal b Haurtiz 48, M. Yousuf c Katich b Hauritz 61, U. Akmal c Haddin b Johnson 27, Misbah-ul-Haq c Haddin b Johnson 0, K. Akmal st Haddin b Hauritz 30, M. Aamer c Katich b Hauritz 0, A. Rauf b Bollinger 5, S. Ajmal c Watson b Hauritz 10, M. Asif (not out) 1; Extras (b-13, lb-4, nb-5, w-2): 24. Total (in 72 overs): 251.
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-80, 3-116, 4-171, 5-171, 6-214, 7-214, 8-221, 9-250.
Australia bowling: Bollinger 15-5-42-2, Siddle 13-5-32-0, Hauritz 24-4-101-5, Johnson 18-6-46-3, Kaitch 2-0-13-0.