Pakistan scored a crushing 221-run win over Australia in the first Test in Dubai, with their spinners eventually finishing off a spirited rearguard action by the tourists’ tailenders on the final day.
Pakistan dominated Day 4, declaring at 2-286 after Ahmed Shehzad (136) and Younis Khan (103no) posted centuries, to set a fourth-innings target of 438.
Day four highlights
The ominous chase began disastrously, Australia finishing at 4-59 at stumps after losing four wickets in 18 minutes during the final session of Day 4.
Chris Rogers and Steve Smith dug in early on Day 5, but their 43-run, 24-over stand came to an end when Rogers was bowled by Imran Khan. Brad Haddin and Mitchell Marsh fell cheaply to leave Australia on the ropes at 7-105, but Smith and Mitchell Johnson gave them a faint hope of clinging on for an unlikely draw.
The usually free-scoring pair combined for almost 30 overs, contributing 65 runs together.
But Pakistan’s relentless spin armoury eventually produced the goods, with Smith (55 off 230 balls) and Johnson (61 off 161 balls) dismissed before tea. Johnson’s wicket was controversial, adjudged out stumped by stand-in keeper Younis after a lengthy video review. That decision snuffed out a 43-run stand with Peter Siddle, and left Australia with just one wicket and an entire session to bat out.
Siddle was the last man to fall, caught bat-pad off the bowling of Zulfiquar Babar – who took his maiden Test five-for – as Pakistan uproariously celebrated a momentous victory.
Stud of the day
After taking two crucial wickets lbw late on Day 4, leg-spinner Yasir Shah claimed the stubborn scalps of Smith and Johnson to finish the innings with figures of 4-50.
The contentious decision to bring up the red light on Johnson virtually sealed Australia’s fate.
Man of the match
A brilliant century in each innings made veteran Younis Khan a standout choice as man-of-the-match. The veteran’s second of the match took him past Inzamam Ul-Haq as Pakistan’s leading Test century-maker – the 26th of his stellar career.
Day five highlights
Despite rocketing back to a familiar position amongst the world’s Test cricket heavyweights, Australia’s dismal record in Asia has continued. The likes of Alex Doolan and Nathan Lyon will be under pressure to hold their spots, with Phil Hughes and Glenn Maxwell busting for an opportunity. An inability to play spin and reverse swing – along with a lack of penetration in the spin department while they were in the field – brought the tourists undone.
Individual performers such as David Warner, Johnson and Smith were positives, but a far better all-round team performance is required if Australia is to draw the series with a win in the second and final Test in Abu Dhabi.
Since Shane Warne’s retirement, Australia has recorded just one win in 14 Tests in Asia.