Pakistan Struggle to Make a Mark on Day One of the First Test Match Against Australia

Pakistan and Australia began their first Test Match of the ICC World Test Championship 2019, on Thursday, 21st November, at the Gabba in Brisbane. While the Pakistani team tried to resist in the first half of the day, they only managed to score 240 before stumps.

On a hot, humid morning in the Brisbane Cricket Ground in Brisbane, also known as Gabba, Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first. Azhar Ali and Shan Masood opened the innings against pace duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. They took their side to 75 runs a few over into the second half of the day, making their partnership the highest opening stand made by any overseas combination at the venue for the first innings of a Test match.  

Before lunch on the first day, Pakistan managed to scrape through with 57 runs till lunch, after which the Australian bowling side tore through the Pakistani batting order with Starc (4-52), Hazlewood (2-46) and Cummins (3-60). The game completely changed once the match resumed after lunch with Pakistan going from 75 for no wicket to 94 for five wickets. The Australian bowlers damaged the other side quite severely when they took five wickets for just 19 runs, with Cummins making way for his team by taking Shan Masood out of the game.

Complete disaster for the Pakistani team was avoided with the help of Asad Shafiq who scored 76 runs and saved his team for the day by a thread. He had two good partnerships, 49 runs with Muhammad Rizwan (37) and 84 with Yasir Shah (26), allowing the visiting team to put a respectable score on the board. In all of that, he succeeded in scoring his 24th Test fifty, until finally he was taken out by Cummins as well.

The last half of the play also saw controversy erupting over Rizwan’s wicket when replays suggested that Cummins had overstepped while bowling the wicket-taking delivery. The out decision was not overturned by the third umpire, Michael Gough, who did not see it as a no-ball. During replays it looked like Cummins’ foot was not behind the line but on it.

The host team wrapped things up quickly and nicely with the Pakistani innings ending for the day as Starc delivered the 86th over.

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