Pakistan surge ahead with 204 run lead
by Jinu Sabastian

Ground:Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Scorecard:Australia v Pakistan
Player:DE Bollinger, Umar Akmal, MG Johnson, Salman Butt, Imran Farhat
Event:Pakistan in Australia 2009/10

DateLine: 4th January 2010


It was an eventful second day's play as Pakistan took a massive 204 run lead but the Australian side did not let the visitors run away with the match. Butt and Farhat batted cautiously and stuck around till lunch. The approach became a lot more positive after that and that resulted in wickets tumbling. The positive approach ensured that the runs kept coming as cameos from Yousuf and Umar Akmal made sure that the lead went past 150 and the tail wagged to take it past 200. The Australian bowlers were good in restricting the runs and once the new ball was taken Bollinger started the slide by picking up three quick middle order wickets.


The day started with Pakistan at 13 for no loss with openers Imran Farhat and Salman Butt at the crease and the duo ensured that the visitors did not loosen the grip on the match. The openers shelved their attacking instincts as they were willing to grind it out in the middle as the Australian bowlers appeared frustrated. Farhat was lucky as he survived two chances, one a drop catch when he was on 13 and another a run-out when Brad Haddin missed an underarm flick when the southpaw was on 40. Barring those mishaps the openers looked quite firm in the middle as they negotiated the Australian bowlers with ease during the morning session.


Post-lunch Farhat crossed his fifty run mark in 129 balls and Salman Butt who was contend to just stonewall began to open up. The pair put on 109 in 42.2 overs for the first wicket before a rush of blood from Farhat (53, 140 balls, 4x4) brought about his downfall. Salman Butt too crossed his fifty in 129 balls as Pakistan continued to consolidate their position of strength. Though the Pakistani batsmen did not opt for all out attack they were prepared to milk the Australian bowlers and the most notable thing in their performance was the patience displayed. Butt was solid at one end while Faisal Iqbal was rusty and Ponting turned to Mitchell Johnson for a breakthrough and the left arm quick did not disappoint. Butt (71, 164 balls, 9x4) probably received the best ball of the innings one which after pitching on good length deviated just a bit away from the southpaw which in the process opened the batsman up, took the outside edge on its way to the keeper as Pakistan lost their second wicket.


The Pakistani skipper Mohammad Yousuf the helped Pakistan surge forward as he mixed caution with aggression to put the Australian bowlers on the defensive. After tea Faisal Iqbal's laborious stay in the middle was ended when he was caught at backward point of Siddle. Iqbal (27, 86 balls, 3x4) never looked comfortable in the middle but he was willing to put his head down and play hard for his team. That brought in the precociously talented Umar Akmal at the crease and the right hander straightaway dismantled Nathan Hauritz. Umar slammed four boundaries in a single Hauritz over as he scorched one through the covers, cut one through point, swung twice a flighted deliveries over midwicket as the lead swelled past the hundred run mark.


Meanwhile Yousuf (46, 56 balls, 8x4) who was batting beautifully at the other end was lured into a false shot by Johnson as he edged behind where Haddin took a brilliant one-handed catch. With Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq on the offensive Ponting took the new ball when it was available. That proved to be an master-stroke as Pakistan lost four wickets to the new ball. Bollinger and Siddle were entrusted with the job and the duo did not disappoint their skipper as they first put a lid on the scoring first and then plucked out the wickets. Bollinger trapped Umar Akmal (49, 48 balls, 9x4) leg-before and though Doctrove negated the appeal Ponting used his last available challenge. The replays confirmed Ponting's suspicions and Umar had to return back to the pavilion. Bollinger continued his good work as he struck in his next over as he bent his back to produce a sharp lifter to which Misbah (11, 25 balls, 1x6) responded with an ill-advised hook but could only top-edge to Haddin as Pakistan lost their seventh wicket. Wickets continued to tumble fast for the liking of Pakistan and it was once again Bollinger who caused havoc as he removed a dangerous looking Kamran Akmal (14, 13 balls, 3x4) who sliced an easy catch to Watson at backward point.


Sami and Gul stalled the Australian surge with some stout batting as the duo helped Pakistan past the 300 run mark as the pair put their head down patiently to score some valuable runs. But just as the day was heading towards the close Gul (12, 22 balls, 2x4) had a momentary brain fade as he attempted a huge swipe at a good length ball from Watson only to hole out to Bollinger at deep midwicket. Sami (13, 24 balls, 2x4) did well to keep the Australian bowlers at bay for sometime but he too went for an ambitious pull targeting midwicket but could only top-edge to Haddin who took his fifth catch of the innings. Pakistan closed out their day at 331 for the loss of nine wickets with 204 runs ahead.


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