The Australian team leave the field at stumps on day one at the Gabba. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
The Australian team leave the field at stumps on day one at the Gabba. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

Aussies take control at the Gabba

A DAY into the Test summer and we've already seen a noteworthy fightback from both sides, with the end result being Australia in a position of ascendancy but not complete and utter dominance at stumps.

Pakistan was bowled out for 240 after electing to bat, with Asad Shafiq's dogged half-century keeping the tourists in the contest after a collapse of 5-19 19 after lunch.

It is a position neither side will be entirely happy with after a see-sawing day when Pakistan held the edge in the proceedings before lunch, Australia ran riot after the break and won the third session too.

Captain Azhar Ali and opening partner Shan Masood got through what should have been the hardest part of the day for Pakistan. Neither of them scored too quickly but it was a chanceless first session and at lunch it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Australians.

The quicks had been a touch short and a touch wide throughout the first session. Not too far off the mark, but far enough that Pakistan reached the interval at 0-57.

Things changed after the break and after Cummins' found the edge of Masood (27) the wheels came off for Pakistan.

An over later 1-75 became 2-75 as Azhar (39) edged Josh Hazlewood to the cordon.

Haris Sohail (1) then became the third man caught in the slips, playing at one he didn't need to against Mitchell Starc.

If Sohail's shot was loose, Babar Azam's was both reckless and a brain explosion.

Entrenched among the finest players in limited overs cricket, Babar has come a long way in the Test arena in the past 12 months. That progress was not on show as he flayed at a wide delivery from Hazlewood, edging an attempted lavish drive to slips to fall for one.

By the time Iftikhar Ahmed was caught at bat-pad (7) off Nathan Lyon, Pakistan had slipped from 0-75 to 5-94 in less than 13 overs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan fought fire with fire after the tea break, picking up three boundaries in the first over.

He and Shafiq looked well set when the keeper fell caught behind for 37 off 34 to Cummins.

Rizwan could consider himself unfortunate to an extent, with replays suggesting Cummins may have overstepped the mark. The third umpire was unconvinced and Rizwan had to make his way back to the pavilion.

Cummins celebrates the wicket before it was checked by the third umpire. Picture: Getty
Cummins celebrates the wicket before it was checked by the third umpire. Picture: Getty

Remarkably, Pakistan enjoyed its best partnership of the day after that flashpoint. Having spent so much of his career batting at No.6, Shafiq is among the world's best batsmen at playing with the tail. Alongside Yasir Shah, he added 84 for Pakistan's seventh wicket, raising his half-century along the way.

It took something brilliant from Starc with the first over of the second new ball to end the stand, with Shah (26) unable to keep out the kind of delivery the left-arm quick almost has a trademark on - a pinpoint yorker that was simply too good for the tailender.

Nicknamed the mop for his ability to run through the tail, Starc made quick work of Shaheen Afridi (0) as Tim Paine correctly called for a review on an edge. That meant 16-year-old debutant Naseem Shah walked out in danger of being a hat-trick victim on his very first ball as a Test cricketer. He survived via an inside edge past his leg stump.

An over later Shafiq departed for 76, castled by Cummins. It should have been quick work from there, but to their credit Naseem and Imran Khan managed to add another 13 runs for the final wicket.

There was one last twist to come, with Marnus Labuschagne shelling a simple chance at third slip off the edge of Naseem to rob Cummins of a fourth wicket. It did not hurt Australia too badly, with Starc removing him for seven in the very next over.


Australia XI: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan XI: Shan Masood, Azhar Ali (c), Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Imran Khan, Naseem Shah