Pakistan crumble as Aussies cash in on wet wicket
by AFP

Ground:Sydney Cricket Ground
Scorecard:Australia v Pakistan
Player:MJ Clarke, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi

DateLine: 23rd January 2005


Australia took full advantage of winning the toss and sending Pakistan in to bat in difficult conditions, dismissing their opponents for just 163 with 10 overs remaining in their one-day tri-series cricket match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.


Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and big hitter Shahid Afridi were the only players able to offer serious resistance with Inzamam's 50 runs off 61 balls offering some hope before he holed out to Michael Clarke at backward square leg in the 29th over.


The hefty batsman sat on his haunches holding his head immediately after the shot, aware that his demise was Pakistan's last real chance of making a seriously competitive total and lasting the full 50 overs.


Again, the wisdom of sending big-hitter Shahid Afridi at number eight appeared questionable after he belted 48 runs off 37 balls before being stumped by stand-in wicketkeeper Brad Haddin off the bowling of spinner Darren Lehmann as he tried desperately to build up the tally while running out of partners.


With the start of play delayed 45 minutes because of rain, Australian captain Ricky Ponting elected to bowl first, noting that there was likely to be plenty of movement in the moist wicket.


His judgement proved spot on and opening bowler Glenn McGrath wasted no time proving so -- busting the Pakistan batting open right from the start.


In just the third over McGrath had the consistent Salman Butt trapped lbw for a duck with the total at one for none.


Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, the hero of Pakistan's win over the West Indies in Brisbane last week, fared only fractionally better, making two before speedster Brett Lee bowled him in the next over.


At two for two, Pakistan was in deep trouble and the situation only worsened when new batsman Shoaib Malik also fell foul of McGrath, leaving a big gap between bat and pad which the Australian exploited to clean bowl him for eight in the 12th over.


Yousuf Youhana, who made four before being caught by Ponting at third slip off Michael Kasprowicz and Mohammad Hafeez who made just 13 did little to help the cause.


But when allrounder Abdul Razzaq was brilliantly run out with a direct hit on the stumps by Michael Clarke, Pakistan was in deep trouble.


Razzaq had hesitated during his run and then failed to slide his bat as he reached the crease, leaving his team stranded at 98 for 6 off 26 overs.


Azhar Mahmood with one run and Naved-ul-Hasan with six could not stem the flow of wickets.


For Australia, McGrath cashed in on his trademark line and length bowling to finish with the impressive figures of 2-18 from 10 overs.


Lee was far more expensive, taking 2-54 off 10 overs while part-time spinner Lehmann nabbed 3-44 off 7.2 overs on a turning wicket.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)