Australia’s fightback loses steam

Australia’s Watson helped to fight back and dismiss Pakistan for 258 on day two of the second test.

Australia''s Ben Hilfenhaus drops a catch during second cricket test match against Pakistan
Watson bettered the five for 40 he claimed at Lord’s [Reuters]

Australia stumbled in their bid to avoid defeat and lost opening batsmen Simon Katich and Shane Watson before tea as they reached 62 for two on the second day of the second test against Pakistan.

Australia, skittled for just 88 before dismissing Pakistan for 258 in the first innings, will be hoping for a fighting effort from captain Ricky Ponting (18 not out) and vice-captain Michael Clarke (on two) if they are to maintain hope of an eighth straight test victory.

Katich, bidding for an Australian record of scoring half-centuries in 10 consecutive tests, fell cheaply for the second time in the match.

He was bowled around his legs by Mohammad Aamer for 11 as he walked across his stumps.

Watson, whose inspired swing bowling and test best six for 33 had earlier given Australia a chance of a comeback, was bowled for 24 having got an inside edge on to his stumps from part-time medium-pacer Umar Amin.

The match is mirroring the first test, which Australia won by 150 runs, as wickets continue to tumble frequently in bowler-friendly, overcast conditions.

While 24 wickets fell on the first two days at Lord’s, there have so far been 22 wickets in two days at Leeds with a session remaining.

Watson finished off the Pakistan first innings having claimed four wickets for seven runs in 13 balls after taking two wickets in consecutive balls in his first over after lunch.

He bettered the five for 40 he claimed at Lord’s.

Pakistan resumed after lunch on 218 for five but lost their remaining five wickets for just 40 runs.

The smattering of fans at the neutral venue seemed to enjoy the entertainment, with around half of the estimated 3,000 spectators Pakistani.

Just as Australia sniffed the chance of a comeback, spectators were stirred by an entertaining last wicket partnership of 24 between Danish Kaneria (15) and Mohammad Asif (nine not out).

Asif’s on-drive for four off Watson and Kaneria’s pull to the boundary against Mitchell Johnson caused much cheer but frustrated Australia.

The final wicket of Kaneria, run out, caused howls of laughter in a chaotic series of events.

Asif’s chip fell short of mid-off but Kaneria, having set off for a single, scrambled back to the crease, fell over and as the umpire called for a third umpire decision, the batsmen ran once more and again Kaneria gambolled into his crease but was out for his previous error.

Australia, bowled out for a 26-year low test total on Wednesday, are seeking an eighth straight test win while Pakistan are trying to level the two-match series having lost at Lord’s.

Source: Reuters