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Pak's poor form in Australia continues

Published: Friday, November 26, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
 
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Perth: Pakistan was reeling at lunch on the first day of the third and final test against Australia today after losing five wickets in the opening session at the Waca in Perth.

Already 2-0 down in the three-match series, Pakistan's hopes of salvaging a consolation win suffered an immediate setback as they slumped to 85 for five in the first session after an inspired performance by Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath. McGrath, who had taken just seven wickets in the first two tests, rediscovered his best form to capture three quick wickets on a typically fast and bouncy Waca wicket.

He dismissed openers Wajahattullah Wasti and Saeed Anwar in the first hour of play, then picked up Yousuf Youhana after the drinks break. Damien Fleming also chipped in with the wicket of Ijaz Ahmed before Michael Kasprowicz picked up danger man Izamam-Ul-Haq in the final over before lunch.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat on a lively pitch, Pakistan's top order batsmen were soon in trouble against a fired-up Australian attack supported by a cordon of four slips and two gullies. McGrath made the initial breakthrough in the fifth over of the day when he had Wasti caught by Ricky Ponting at third slip for five. Wasti, who was called into the side after regular opener Mohammad Wasim broke a finger while fielding in the second test in Hobart, never looked comfortable during his brief stay in the middle.

He hit an early boundary off McGrath but made just one more run before falling to the lanky paceman when he was beaten for speed, fending a rising delivery outside off stump straight to Ponting, with the total on 18. Ijaz Ahmed joined Wasti in the pavillion shortly after when he was bowled by Fleming for one, edging an attempted drive back onto his wicket. Anwar, Pakistan's best batsman in the first two tests, did look in good touch early on before he departed for 18, providing Ponting with his second catch at third slip off McGrath as the visitors lost three for eight to crash to 26-3 within the first hour.

Youhana went for 18 shortly after drinks when he was brilliantly caught by Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist with the total on 51. Gilchrist took a spectacular one-handed diving catch after Youhana gloved an attempted bouncer off McGrath, taking the grab at full reach.

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