It's bowlers' day out

COLOMBO Oct. 5. Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar produced a brilliant spell of five wickets in 15 balls, to reduce Australia to 127 all out at tea on the third day of the first Test on Saturday.

With play called off after tea because of rain, Pakistan has two days to reach the 316 it needs to win.

On a day of bowling glory, Australian off spinner Shane Warne skittled out Pakistan's last five batsmen for a haul of seven for 94 ending its first innings with the score at 297.

Australia went into the second innings with a lead of 188 runs and openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden started the innings with a comfortable 61-run partnership.

Langer was the first to depart, caught off the bowling of Saqlain Mushtaq. Shoaib then started the slide, when Ricky Ponting on seven, was bowled playing on to his stumps.

Mark Waugh was the next victim, out for a duck on Shoaib's first ball, hurtled down at 145 kmph.

Captain Steve Waugh tripled his twin's time at the crease with three minutes before he was out also for nought, Shoaib having taken three wickets in just four balls.

Off-spinner Saqlain chipped in to take out Hayden, Australia's highest scorer with 34. Saqlain brought his total to four by the end of the innings.

But it was Shoaib who offered no respite, bowling out Adam Gilchrist on five.

He allowed Shane Warne 10 minutes at the crease before trapping him lbw for a duck for his fifth wicket. Shoaib condemned Warne to the same fate in the first innings when he was out caught by Faisal Iqbal.

At lunch, Australia had looked by far the dominant side, with Pakistan's middle order fight back having collapsed at the hands of Warne.

It was the fifth time Warne had taken more than five wickets in an innings against Pakistan.

Right-hander Faisal Iqbal was caught by Mark Waugh off Warne on 83, ending his 103-run partnership with Rashid Latif.

Warne then had fellow-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq out lbw after he had scored just one run.

Latif was allowed an extended stay at the crease owing to some sloppy Australian fielding. Ricky Ponting fumbled a catch when he was on 3, and again put down by Matthew Hayden on 57.

Warne finally got Latif for the ninth wicket, after he hit 10 boundaries for his 66 runs.

It was the fifth time Warne had taken more than five wickets in an innings against Pakistan. — Reuters

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