Australia v Pakistan: Boxing Day Test, day two – live | Australia cricket team

Australia v Pakistan: Boxing Day Test, day two – live | Australia cricket team

Key events

5th over: Pakistan 12-0 (Imam-ul-Haq 3, Shafique 8) Starc takes on Shafique but the batter wins out, square driving the first ball for four. Starc responds with a flurry of juicy tempters and Shafique strangles one for two. Smith wants to review the last delivery for an edge but no one else is interested and rightly so.

4th over: Pakistan 6-0 (Imam-ul-Haq 3, Shafique 2) Like a metronomic monster, The Hoff Returns (for a second over). Josh Reginald Hazlewood has 242 wickets from his 64 Tests at the wonderful average of 26, not a bad return for a tall quiet lad from Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital. He’s 33 this year but there’s life in the old dog yet.

3rd over: Pakistan 6-0 (Imam-ul-Haq 3, Shafique 2) Almost an edge! Starc delivered it full and Imam-ul-Haq’s eyes lit up but the ball bit and swung and a loose stroke turned into a handsome leave. It spooks the batter and he leaves the next four before getting some pad on the fifth for a single. No need to play at Starc’s last delivery as it’s aimed at second slip’s ankles.

2nd over: Pakistan 5-0 (Imam-ul-Haq 3, Shafique 2) Here comes Josh Hazlewood. As usual, he’s on the money, targeting Shafique’s off stump and letting the seam do the work. Six dots on the trot. That’s The Hoff.

1st over: Pakistan 5-0 (Imam-ul-Haq 3, Shafique 2) And we’re back! Mitchell Starc has the new ball and Abdullah Shafique has the strike. A single from the first as Starc, wearing thermals to his wrists, tails one in on middle stump. The second ball is outside off and Imam-ul-Haq steps out and greets it with a crunching cover drive that goes just short of the rope for three. A yorker on the fourth as Starc curls it in at Shafique’s shoelaces. A wide lifter down leg to finish. Lively start to the second session!

Geoff Lemon has some lunchtime reading for you, on Usman Khawaja and the ICC.

Really, the International Cricket Council could not have done Usman Khawaja more of a favour. Had Australia’s opener been allowed to take the field for the Perth Test wearing shoes with two blandly general phrases about human rights written in pen on the sidewall, a few photos would have been published and that would have been that.

By making his nine runs today Starc has joined an elite club of Australian bowlers.

Lunch: Australia all out for 318

What a brilliant first session day two of the Second Test delivered!

Australia came out swinging through Travis Head and then Mitchell Marsh but neither dangerman got away with their lusty hitting for long. Even sheet anchor Marnus Labuschagne couldn’t cash in, falling for a slow, solid but ultimately disappointing 63.

Pakistan’s bowlers were great – tight, aggressive, unyielding – but their fielders were better. Behind the wicket and in the outfield they took every chance to keep Australia on the back foot all morning. Seven wickets were their reward and now they have an achievable target of 319 to chase down on a wicket providing plenty of bounce and swing for Australia’s bowlers but also ample reward for Pakistan batters prepared to take the game on.

That’s lunch on day two – to ham or not to ham? Let’s find out where you landed in a hot half hour shall we?

WICKET! Lyon c Hamza b Hasam 8 (Australia 318-10)

Lyon swipes at the fourth ball and got lucky but not so on the fifth. It flew straight to Hamza on the boundary who made good ground to take the catch. Another great catch by the visitors to complement good bowling.

97th over: Australia 318-9 (Lyon 8, Hazlewood 5) With the umpires still uncertain on the Christmas ham question, we’ll have one more over to decide. Hazlewood takes a single and Lyon swipes at the fourth to send it sailing over the slip cordon and into the rope for four. He tries it again on the next ball but doesn’t time it so sweetly…

96th over: Australia 312-9 (Lyon 3, Hazlewood 4) Josh Hazlewood walks out… but a fourth ball edge might have him walking off. The slips fielder has claimed the catch but the batter hasn’t walked and the onfield officials are not sure. It will be left to the third umpire to decide. Replays show the ball sticking into the pinkies with fingers under the ball but the ball then finding equilibrium with the turf. The call is NOT OUT. And Hazlewood then salts the wound by uncoiling a silken cover drive to the boundary. There’s a sprawling effort to deny it but it’s not successful.

WICKET! Cummins c Hasam b Aamer 13 (Australia 308-9)

Cummins goes heave-ho at the first ball from Aamer and this one skews high and heavy and eventually lands safely in the sticky fingers of Hamza. The Australian captain, rattled by the short stuff earlier, has holed out and a sixth wicket falls in the session. Great fightback by Pakistan… but they have to bat on this fizzer of a wicket yet.

95th over: Australia 308-8 (Cummins 13, Lyon 3) Australia are in survival mode now. Cummins scampers a single to start contemplating the Christmas ham at lunch while Nathan Lyon tries to save his own bacon by fending off Hasan’s 23rd over. He does, running one and leaving Cummins to strike lustily at another nothing ball from Hasan. It flies straight and bounces twicer between reaching the rope. The Australian skipper tries to duplicate the shot on the next ball but Hasan sees him coming and it hits high on the bat and baloons safely short of Shaheen on the fence for a run.

94th over: Australia 301-8 (Cummins 7, Lyon 2) Wild, wide and FOUR! That crazy legside zinger from Aamer runs to the fine leg boundary for a boundary. It takes Australia’s total past 300 and Pakistan’s sundries tally over 50. Lyon bats back the next five deliveries. One more over until lunch and yep, it’s time to ask your belly whether it can handle one more slice of Christmas ham…

93rd over: Australia 295-8 (Cummins 7, Lyon 1) Lyon runs a single off the first Hasan delivery and it’s a good one because Hassan has got the new ball spitting off this MCG pitch. Cummins fends another chin-grazer off his gloves but it lands just short of slips. Good fight happening here. They want to attack but Pakistan are too busy making them defend.

92nd over: Australia 295-8 (Cummins 7, Lyon 1) As has been the case all day from Pakistan, Hamza’s reward for his wicket is to be immediately replaced in the attack. Instead it will be Aamer Jamal returning for a 17th over. Lyon taps him into the covers for single to get off his duck and Cummins wafts at a couple before falling away backwards to a bouncer that chases him. He’s been struck a nasty blow on the right collarbone but waves sympathy away. The ball, not the blow, was his greater fear – it landed on middle stump but spat spinning just past the leg peg. Aamer’s next ball is even fiercer – it skythes off the pitch and goes over Cummins, over the wicketkeeper and runs away for four byes.

91st over: Australia 290-8 (Cummins 7, Lyon 0) Skied but safe! Cummins had a big swing at Hasan’s first ball and it went up but plopped between the infield and outfielders for two nervous runs. He takes another swing at the fourth but misses. Clearly Captain Pat likes what he’s seeing for the quicks in this MCG wicket and wants to get into the field before lunch.

90th over: Australia 286-8 (Cummins 3, Lyon 0) Hamza has two wickets for 51 from 22 overs this innings, a fine return and a just reward for some excellent aggressive bowling this morning. Pakistan are fielding at five-from-five in the field today too with no dropped catches cruelling their quest as was the case yesterday. Nathan Lyon has wandered out for a bat and Hamza turns the screws another notch, forcing the GOAT to play out a wicket-maiden.

WICKET! Marsh c Aamer b Hamza 41 (Australia 286-8)

Marsh opened his shoulders to the first ball of Hamza’s 22nd over, aiming it in front of square but it was faster and wider and instead he sliced it straight to Aamer Jamal for a simple jumping catch. Pakistan strike again – that’s five wickets for the session… and they’re not done yet.

89th over: Australia 286-7 (Marsh 41, Cummins 3) Hasan is whizzing them down the corridor of uncertainty and Cummins is fishing, then leaving. Plenty of seam movement this morning which bodes well for Australia’s bowlers this afternoon. But for now Pakistan have the new ball swinging and the Australians missing. A maiden.

88th over: Australia 286-7 (Marsh 41, Cummins 3) The run rate today is 4.5 compared with the first day’s 2.8. As Cummins gets off his duck by clipping Hamza off his hip for three, it means Australia have bashed 99 runs from the 22 overs so far. But Pakistan have claimed four key wickets. Great session of cricket, no?

87th over: Australia 283-7 (Marsh 41, Cummins 0) Australia are seven wickets down and shy of 300 but it means Mitchell Marsh is batting with the tail and that’s a reason to get excited. BANG goes the second ball as Shaheen digs it in and Marsh cover drives for another four. Bowler is not happy and shows it, thundering the next ball short. Marsh half-ducks it and lets it thump into his helmet and fly away for four byes. Tempers rise again but now they’ll will cool as we take a break for some helmet checking and concussion protocols. New batter Pat Cummins, a key architect in allowing Marsh to embrace his inner-Beast and cut loose this year, strolls down for some soothing words. They don’t help much as Shaheen almost catches Marsh’s edge on his final ball.

WICKET! Starc c Salman b Hamza 9 (Australia 275-7)

Slower ball gets Starc snicking and he’s OUT! That was classic Starc – two wonderful boundares displaying his skill and showmanship… and then a quick comedown as he wafts at the next and is outwitted by Hamza.

86th over: Australia 275-6 (Marsh 37, Starc 9) First ball from Hamza is straight but so is Starc’s bat. He smokes it down the ground for four. Next ball is short and directed at Starc’s stubbled chin but the big quick swivels and swipes fine for another boundary to fine leg. That’s 2000 Test runs for Mitchell Starc at the highly respectable average (for a bowler) of over 21. But the next ball is slower and Starc reaches for it…

85th over: Australia 267-6 (Marsh 37, Starc 1) Wide ball… WHACK! Shaheen put it wide and Marsh crouches low and reaches out to send it worm burning behind square for a fifth four. He can’t collar the next five though.

84th over: Australia 263-6 (Marsh 33, Starc 1) Almost yorked him! Lovely ball from Hamza and Marsh’s barrel chest collapsed over his toes trying to keep it out. The big allrounder makes amends with a straight drive from the next but it’s miscued and they run only a single. Another biug curling inswinger to finish and Marsh flicks hard at it but misses.

83rd over: Australia 262-6 (Marsh 32, Starc 1) Fantastic fightback by Pakistan this morning and they will smell fresh blood in the water with Mitchell Starc at the crease with his reputation for good time-not-long time innings. He and Marsh both sneak singles to keep things ticking over.

WICKET! Carey c Rizwan b Shaheen 4 (Australia 260-6)

What a catch from the Pakistan wicketkeeper! Carey got a big snick to an inswinger from Shaheen and Rizwan dived full length to his right to haul it in one-handed. Carey’s troubles with the bat continue and Pakistan officially move into the ascendency in the second Test!

Mohammad Rizwan catches out Alex Carey. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

82nd over: Australia 256-5 (Marsh 31, Carey 4) Following the peculiar AFL practice of subbing off a goalscorer, Pakistan have again opted to spell the man who just took a wicket. This time Aamer is given a rest and Hamza is reintroduced. He finds big swing with his second ball and despite it landing at just 122kph Carey is bewildered and can only squirt it into the onside. Carey responds with a big swing of his own to a ball flying short and wide, flaying it to the square leg boundary but only for three runs.

81st over: Australia 253-5 (Marsh 31, Carey 1) Here’s the new ball! Great time for Pakistan and Shaheen to have it in hand too, having dismissed the dangerous Head and now the well set Labuschagne for another 63. If it’s possible I think Marnus walked off even slower than usual, Sloth Speed shifting down into Snail Mode. This shiny orb is proving tough to control as Pakistan spray it around and leak a (very wide) wide and a legbye.

80th over: Australia 251-5 (Marsh 30, Carey 1) Pakistan hit back! They have continued their excellent bowling from yesterday and claimed the big wickets of the overnight batters Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne. That gets rid of the Australian top five and brings in wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey who desperately needs a big score. He’s off the mark though.

WICKET! Labuschagne c Shafique b Aamer 63 (Australia 250-5)

Final over before Pakistan take the new ball and they’ve struck with the old! Aamer dug it in hard and straight and it squared Labuschagne up and he got a healthy edge to Shafiqque at first slip. Big breakthrough!

79th over: Australia 249-4 (Labuschagne 63, Marsh 30) Salman is back with the handy part-time spin that drew the “lazy” shot dismissal of David Warner yesterday. Maarsh takes a single and then Labuschagne threads one through the infield for three. Pakistan are trying to slow this partnership down to stay in the game but it’s not working. Five from the over.

78th over: Australia 244-4 (Labuschagne 60, Marsh 28) After that 12-run over, Pakistan have introduced Aamer Jamal who picked up the scalp of Steve Smith yesterday. But it doesn’t change the result as Marsh leans back on his back hooves and heaves it hard over square for another powerful four. He’s now rattling along at a run-a-ball. The field is well spread but the big Western Australian continues to split or clear them. Looks like the home side are going to batter all life out of this old ball before the ripe cherry arrives in two overs time.

77th over: Australia 238-4 (Labuschagne 59, Marsh 24) Come in spinner! Here comes Salman, fresh from the catch of the Test so far. That puts Salman back in the black, having take one and dropped one yesterday. Thanks to a mid-pitch dolly he’s also in the grandstand, Marsh stepping down to launch him out of the screws and down the ground for SIX. The next ball is better, skipping back to square cut for another boundary. Batten down the hatches, folks – The Bison is starting to charge!

76th over: Australia 226-4 (Labuschagne 59, Marsh 12) Mauled by Marsh! It was faster and shorter from Hasan but it was also just a fraction wide and Marsh swung the axe and cut it square to the boundary rope. Great shot from a man in form. He’s content with a single down legside from the fourth to retain strike.

75th over: Australia 221-4 (Labuschagne 59, Marsh 7) Almost a run-out! Marnus Labuschagne, famed for his speed between the creases, tucked the second ball from Hamza square but slipped turning for the second. He made it but only just. After the errant butterfly, the dropped bat and the two overruled dismissals in the last over and that near-miss the crowd have certainly woken up! Another two to Labuschagne makes it four from the over. Second new ball is due in five overs.

74th over: Australia 217-4 (Labuschagne 55, Marsh 7) Big shout for LBW on the second ball from Hasan Ali to Marsh…and he’s OUT! Marsh will review though and rightly so as replays show the tiniest inside edge on HotSpot. Pakistan don’t like it though and there’s some debate onfield between the players and the umpire as to why Snicko hasn’t been used to make this decision. Controversy here… but it doesn’t matter because Marsh has inside edged the fourth ball to the wicketkeeper. Onfield decision is OUT but Australia will review again. Tensions rising… but again the hot air deflates when Joel Wilson is forced to overturned his decision. A Bronx cheer for the man in the white hat as the fifth delivery yields only a dot. An eventful maiden for Hasan!

73rd over: Australia 217-4 (Labuschagne 55, Marsh 7) Strange bowling change here as Pakistan replaces the wicket-taker Shaheen with new inclusion Mir Hamza. Maybe they’re saving him for the new ball but he looked to be in very good rhythm. However, as he watches Mitchell Marsh cover drive Hamza down thr ground for four, fielding at fine leg doesn’t look so bad. Marsh cocks-up the sequel though, pulling wild and fast and missing it completely, the ball hitting the back of the blade and scuttling into the infield. Labuschagne adds to the comedy errors by dropping his bat as the ball leaves the bowler’s hands.

72nd over: Australia 212-4 (Labuschagne 55, Marsh 2) Important fifty for Labuschagne who is averaging in the mid-30s in 2023 after sitting comfortably in the mid-60s in 2021 and mid-50s in 2022. He’s batting a full step out of his crease today, a statement of attacking intent perhaps. Like his glimmer twin Steve Smith, he’s been in survival mode of late, strangely lacking in confidence and the freeflowing strokes that come with it. He taps a single from Hasan and Marsh rushes another to complete the over.

71st over: Australia 210-4 (Labuschagne 54, Marsh 1) Great breakthrough for Pakistan and just reward for Shaheen who has bowled without much luck in the two Tests so far. It came courtesy of a fabulous catch by Salman who dived a body length to his left and took the grab with his left hand, rolling expertly to ensure the ball didn’t jar loose. Head departs and with it a bit of adrenaline seeps from the crowd… but not too much as Mitchell Marsh strides outt. He takes a single from the first and Labuschagne clips a boundary from the fifth to reach his half century.

WICKET! Head c Salman b Shaheen 17 (Australia 204-4)

Faster ball from Shaheen and Head reaches for it, getting a thick edge and sending it to the flying Salman at first slip. Loose shot. Great catch!

Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan celebrates after dismissing Travis Head.
Shaheen Shah Afridi of Pakistan celebrates after dismissing Travis Head. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

70th over: Australia 204-3 (Labuschagne 49, Head 17) Here comes Hasan Ali again. One of the new inclusions for this Test, the 29-year-old Punjabi is looking to get a promising 22 Test career back on track after bursting onto the cricket scene as Player of the Champions League in 2017 where he topped the tournament averages with 13 scalps at 14.69. He holds the line well here, five dot balls and then a weird moment only cricket can deliver. A fat white butterfly – perhaps a stand-in for the dove Usman Khawaja wanted on his shoes? – flutters across the line and Labuschagne withdraws late. A dot ball ensues.

69th over: Australia 204-3 (Labuschagne 49, Head 17) Labuschagne’s single off the first ball brings up the fifty partnership for these two. It comes off just 63 balls, a significant acceleration on the 30-40 strike-rate of yesterday. These two are the only Australians in the XI under the age of 30 (Head hits 30 on Thursday, Marnus in June) so younger legs and youthful intent at the crease. Not so here as Head sees off Shaheen’a final five without scoring.

68th over: Australia 203-3 (Labuschagne 48, Head 17) Head hammers his first ball for four! It wasn’t a bad delivery by Hasan Ali but Head crashed it through covers to the fence. He gives the third ball a biff as well. It was wide and WHACK! He square drove it to the fence to get scoring rattling along.

67th over: Australia 195-3 (Labuschagne 48, Head 9) Shaheen Afridi went wicketless yesterday but he starts on target today, whistling his first two past Labuschagne’s forward defensive prod. The third is over-pitched and Marnus clips it off his toes and sends it to the fence. Lovely stuff Marnie! The fourth is down leg and – bat? pad? – deflects it down legside for three. Umpire indicates leg bye and Labuschagne shakes his head like a laughing clown at Luna Park. I know he needs runs – he averages only 37 from his 13 Tests this year – but not by stealing sundries…

The early clouds have parted and blue skies have arrived. On field the rollers are off and players are on. Here comes the first ball of day two from Shaheen Afridi to Marnus Labuschagne …

On a more serious note, Usman Khawaja took to the MCG with messages of support on his shoes and opening partner David Warner in his corner. Heartfelt as they were, they were very different from what Uzzy intended

Pakistan did their best to brighten a murky Day One for an MCG crowd of over 60k with some of truly vaudevillian fielding. It’s been an ongoing issue for Pakistan cricket over the years it seems…

For those who came in late, here’s what went down (apart from catches) on day one …


Greetings cricket fans and welcome to day two of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan in Melbourne. Angus Fontaine here with a bellyful of ham (and a fridge full of dodgier-by-the minute prawns) to guide you through the first half. Geoff Lemon will pad up after lunch.

A big day looms for both teams – and all us spectators. Australia battled through a lost toss, bad weather and good bowling to land at 187 for 3 at stumps from 66 overs with Marnus Labuschagne to resume on 44 and Travis Head on nine. Pakistan bowled beautifully in patches yesterday and must do so again today if they’re to wrestle the series ledger back to 1-1.

Day one lost 20 overs to rain but the bigger deal was that Pakistan lost the chance to scruff this Test by dropping several catches, including Shafique’s early shocker at slip when David Warner was on two. In his penultimate Test, Warner was eventually out for 38 on the last ball before lunch, having reached 18,515 runs across all formats, eclipsing Steve Waugh’s 18,496.

Warner has since described his performance as “lazy” and the same tag could be applied to his opening partner’s dismissal. Having eased to 42, Usman Khawaja played a poor shot off Hasan Ali after lunch. Steve Smith won’t be happy with his typically weird and pernickety innings either, out to Aamer Jamal for 26 after surviving an lbw shout a few minutes prior.

Honours even I reckon. Pakistan have plenty to play for and something to build on, having kept the scoring rate below 40 all day despite fielding sloppier than that displayed by the shickered uncles and cordial-fuelled grommets in my back yard on Christmas Day. The day two forecast looks sunny but with that man Travis Head at the crease, thunder and lightning is always a chance.

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