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Australia wins 1st test by an innings and 5 runs v Pakistan

November 24, 2019
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Australia's Josh Hazlewood, right, appeals for the wicket of Pakistan's Yasir Shah, left, during their cricket test match in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)
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Australia's Josh Hazlewood, right, appeals for the wicket of Pakistan's Yasir Shah, left, during their cricket test match in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Nathan Lyon removed century-make Babar Azam and Josh Hazlewood picked up three late wickets as Australia wrapped up a victory by an innings and 5 runs with more than a day to spare in the series-opening test against Pakistan.

Pakistan resumed Sunday on 64-3, needing at least 340 to make Australia bat again. After a day of resistance, the last four wickets fell rapidly with Mitchell Starc finishing off Pakistan for 335 with the last wicket of tailender Imran Khan.

Azam’s resilient 104 and Mohammad Rizwan’s 95 had given the visitors hope of avoiding an innings defeat until the late burst of wickets.

Pakistan was reeling at 25-3 late Saturday before Azam went to the crease. He shared stands of 68 with Shan Masood (42) and 132 with Rizwan to post his second test century.

Rizwan then continued in a 79-run partnership with Yasir Shah (42) to get within a shot of his maiden test century before he slapped a Hazlewood (4-63) short ball directly to Lyon at deep point.

Yasir notched his highest test score before getting a leading edge in Hazlewood’s first over with the second new ball to make the total 324-8. The pacemen finished it off to ensure the home team didn’t need to pad up a second time at the Gabba, where the Australians haven’t lost a test since 1988.

Australia’s pacemen combined for 18 of the 20 wickets, while an inexperienced Pakistan fast bowling group — including 16-year-old Naseem Shah and 19-year-old Shaheen Afridi — struggled to get their lengths right on the bouncy pitch. That allowed the top three of David Warner (154), recalled opener Joe Burns (97) and Marnus Labuschagne (185) to combine for 436 of Australia’s 580 runs, giving the hosts a 340-run first-innings advantage.

“Really happy with the top three in this game,” Australia captain Tim Paine said. “One innings doesn’t make a summer, but really happy with the positive signs.”

“I think we’ve nutted out a pretty good group at the moment — a group that can still get a lot better as well.”

The second test, a day-night pink ball game, starts Friday in Adelaide.

Azam’s defiant century gave Pakistan’s batting lineup the resilience it lacked in the first innings on day 1, when he was dismissed for one and the visitors were bowled out for 240.

He resumed on 20 on day four and converted his undisputed talent from the limited-overs games, where he averages 50-plus, into the long format.

His only previous century in 21 tests was against New Zealand, although he narrowly missed out in the win over Australia at Abu Dhabi in October last year when he was out for 99 in the second innings.

The 25-year-old righthander looked equally comfortable hitting boundaries off the front and back foot. He raised his half century with a boundary behind point off Starc (3-73) and, after surviving a strong appeal for LBW to Hazlewood on 75, stroked a classic cover drive off Pat Cummins to reach triple figures.

He also survived a shout for LBW against Cummins on 100 before eventually being dismissed trying to glide offspinner Lyon to third man and feathering a catch to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

His partnership with Rizwan was crucial after Pakistan lost two wickets in seven balls during the morning session.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali said his team got too far behind too early, losing five wickets in the second session and being dismissed for 240 by stumps on day one.

“We were quite behind the game from very early in the game, always we were trying to catch up,” Azhar said. “We still showed the fight.”

Fast bowler Naseem became the youngest player to make his test debut in Australia, and he marked it with the wicket of Warner, but his output with the ball was limited to 20 overs with the Pakistan management conscious of his development.

The defeat continued a long sequence for Pakistan, which hasn’t won a test on Australian soil since 1995.

Azhar is hoping to change that in Adelaide, and level the series. Pakistan will be considering changes to the batting lineup, and is likely to recall veteran paceman Mohammad Abbas, who was a surprising omission in Brisbane.

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