Pakistan rally against Aussies at Lord’s


Salman Butt scored his second fifty of the match and remained unbeaten at the close of the third day here on Wednesday to give Pakistan hope of a win in the first Test against Australia at Lord’s.


Butt was 58 not out and Test debutant Azhar Ali 28 not out, with Pakistan needing a further 326 runs to reach what would be a record-breaking total of 440.

That would surpass the highest total ever scored in a fourth innings to win a Test of 418 for seven made by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2002/03.

Pakistan’s equivalent best is the 315 for nine they made against Australia at Karachi in 1994, while the Lord’s landmark was set by the West Indies when compiling 344 for one against England in 1984.

However, conditions were transformed on Thursday as previously overcast, swing bowler-friendly skies gave way to bright sunshine with Pakistan putting up a fight after being dismissed for just 148 in a first innings where left-handed opener Butt top-scored with 63.

Pakistan’s Umar Amin, due in next, insisted a win was still possible.

“Definitely, the way Salman and Azhar Ali have played today,” said the Test debutant, out for one in the first innings.

“If they carry on tomorrow, we have a very good chance of winning the game.”

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine, one of four debutants in this match, admitted conditions had shifted in favour of the batsmen after himself making 47.

“If the sun is out and it’s not swinging, it’s definitely a lot easier,” he said. “But I think we’ll create enough chances to be in the game.”

Butt, whose 63 was the top score in that meagre total, struck three fours in five balls off one Doug Bollinger over on Thursday as Pakistan counter-attacked.

But a first-wicket stand worth exactly 50 was broken when Imran Farhat miscued a pull off a Steven Smith long-hop to Shane Watson at mid-wicket to give the jubilant debutant leg-spinner his first Test wicket.

However, vice-captain Butt, playing pace and spin with equal assurance, scored nine boundaries in his 86-ball fifty as his Pakistan tried to deny Australia a record-breaking 13th straight win by one Test nation over another.

Ali survived a huge lbw appeal from Ben Hilfenhaus off the last ball of the day, although replays suggested the ball might have hit leg stump.

But, with no review system in place, Australia were unable to challenge veteran South African umpire Rudi Koertzen’s decision.

Australia, bowled out for 334 in their second innings, set Pakistan a formidable target thanks to a second score in the 80s from Simon Katich and tailender Hilfenhaus’s Test-best 56 not out.

Hilfenhaus also shared a ninth-wicket stand of 74 with Paine.

Both Hilfenhaus and Paine, in their first Test at Lord’s, topped the Test-best score at the ground of 42 posted by their fellow Tasmanian and Australia captain Ricky Ponting, one of the outstanding batsmen of the decade.

“I don’t think Hilf is smart enough to recognise that sort of stat,” joked Paine. “I might let him know later on but Hilf’s certainly not one for stats.”

Australia saw their lunch score of 188 for five become 188 for seven as Katich and fellow left-hander Marcus North were both caught behind off Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif respectively.

Katich though had made 83, to add to his valuable first innings 80, after four hours at the crease.

Paine and Hilfenhaus kept the runs coming before the keeper was bowled by the leg-spin of Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi.

The seamer, whose previous best was 20 against England at Edgbaston last year, reached fifty in 81 balls with a six, struck high over extra-cover off Asif, and six fours.

Australia had resumed on 100 for four — a lead of 205.

Katich was 49 not out and nightwatchman Mitchell Johnson, who went on to make a brisk 30, unbeaten on two.

This two-Test series is being played in England because of security concerns in Pakistan.

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