ANI Photo | Australia’s all-round performance seals thumping 360-run victory over Pakistan in 1st Test

Australia registered a thumping 360-run victory over Pakistan with an all-round performance on Day 4 of the 1st Test at the Optus Stadium here on Sunday.
Australia’s experienced pacer Mitchell Starc with his quick deliveries, removed both Pakistan openers – Imam-ul-Haq (10) and Abdullah Shafique (2) in the first five overs to put ‘Men in Green’ on the backfoot.
His partner in crime, Josh Hazlewood, ended skipper Shan Masood’s misery by generating some extra bounce with the new ball, which made it hard for the left-hander to play the angled delivery.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins sent former Pakistan skipper Babar Azam back to the dugout for 14 and after that, it seemed wickets were just a ball away.
The Pakistani middle order crumbled like a house of cards with Saud Shakeel showing some fight to keep the house intact. He fought for some time but eventually got trapped by Hazlewood, right in front of the stumps.
Nathan Lyon joined the wicket fest and picked up two as well to join the elite club of 500 Test wickets takers. Hazlewood removed Khurram Shahzad to clinch a thumping 360-run victory by restricting Pakistan to a score of 89 with an all-rounded performance.
Earlier in the day, Australia decided to declare after reaching a score of 233/5 and setting a target of 450 runs for the visitors. Coming into the second session, Australian batters played on a different note.
From that point, both batters shifted gears, played aggressively and accumulated boundaries at a brisk pace. Shaheen Afridi was once again on the receiving end, with Marsh scoring two boundaries in his over to bring up his half-century.
Khawaja, on the other end, changed his defensive approach and started playing with the malicious intent of finding boundaries. He picked up a boundary and three balls later, the duo brought up the 100-run stand in just 114 balls.
Afridi continued to leak runs as Khawaja smashed two fours while Marsh picked up a single boundary to quickly take Australia towards the 450-run mark.
The southpaw fell short of his deserved century, with Afridi removing Khawaja for 90 (190). Australia declared with a lead of 449 runs.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan got better off Australia in the opening hours as they kept the flow of runs in check and bagged a couple of wickets as well.
Khurram Shahzad deceived set batter Steve Smith (44 off 87 deliveries) and successfully trapped him in front of the stumps. Australia’s match-winner in ICC tournaments, Travis Head, came in and played some promising shots but lost his wicket against the run of play to Aamer Jamal for 14.
From that point, Marsh, with his attacking style of cricket combined with Khawaja’s sturdy approach, took Australia’s lead past 400 runs.
The hosts could be looking to declare as both batters continue to accelerate and put up runs quickly on the board.
Throughout the Test, Pakistan had their moments but failed to build on them. On the other hand, Australia kept the pressure on the visitors from the very first session of Day 1.
After deciding to bat, Australia posted a total of 487, with David Warner shining with his exceptional knock of 164. Mitchell Marsh came in to play a rapid 90 off 107 deliveries to propel the hosts to a massive score.
In reply, Pakistan could only muster 271 and trailed by 216 runs. This led to their eventual downfall in the coming sessions.
Brief Score: Australia 487 & 235/5 d (Usman Khawaja 90, Mitchell Marsh 63*; Khurram Shahzad 3-37) vs Pakistan 271 & 89 (Saud Shakeel 24, Mitchell Starc 3-31, Josh Hazlewood 3-13). (ANI)

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