Australia did not expect a strong start from Pakistan after such warm hospitality by the hosts. Although, Nathan Lyon and Australia did not walk back to the dressing room without wickets.
Babar Azam won the toss and the Pak openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique added 105 runs in the first session of the series. The visitors spent most of the time chasing the ball on the field.
Bringing Nathan Lyon into the attack
Both the teams had contrasting approaches towards the match on their respective sides. Babar introduced three spin attacks while Australia depended on their tried and tested formation of 4-1 with Nathan Lyon being the only spinner. The Aussie spinner was brought into the attack as early as the eighth over, even before Pat Cummins, the skipper himself had bowled.
Australian seamers despite not being intimidating, managed to keep control of the scoring before the introduction of Nathan Lyon. Therefore, Shafique and Imam could only score 12 runs together after half an hour of play.
Cummins got Shafique’s edge outside but the ball dropped before David Warner at slip. The hard leather ball offered a good spin for Nathan Lyon as he used it wisely to spend send shockwaves down the opposition base.
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Nathan Lyon’s spin magic
After eating a boundary by Shafique, the spinner got him to strike to the short-leg’s hands and he nearly caught him. Lyon then troubled him again with a perfect line ball that beat the right-hander on the outside edge.
The early introduction of Nathan Lyon forced skipper Pat Cummins into bowling part-timer Travis Head. This was a sudden relief for Imam after being in the shackles for a long time. Imam quickly leveled up his game and scored many boundaries. The ball got softened as the left-hander became happy to face Lyon. It followed a couple of boundaries with an over fence shot. Imam scored a half-century off only 81 balls.
The partnership went past 100 and the Australian side witnessed a fruitless session before Shafique’s wicket fell before lunch break. He failed to judge the pitch of a Nathan Lyon delivery while looking for a yet again lofted shot.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 105/1 (Imam-ul-Haq 57*; Abdullah Shafique 44; Nathan Lyon 1-36) vs Australia