Australia beat Pakistan to win historic series 1-0

By our correspondent

LAHORE:  Australia downed Pakistan by 115 runs to win the three Test-match series against Pakistan 1-0 here at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on Friday.

This is Australia’s first away series since 2016 and the first in Asia since 2011.  And the experience of playing on low pitches certainly will help Aussies on their future tours to Sri Lanka and India later this year.

Set to score 351, Pakistan resumed their second innings at 73 without loss and were bowled out for 235 with an hour and 29 overs of play to spare. After the top order provided solid foundation the middle and lower order completely failed to benefit of that and were dismissed well away of the target. This was after long 24 years that Australia were touring Pakistan. On that tour too the Aussies had won the three Test match series 1-0 when they had bulldozed Pakistan by an innings and 99 runs at Rawalpindi. The other two Tests at Karachi and Peshawar had ended in a draw.

It was off-spinner Nathan Lyon (5-83) which stole the show. The experienced campaigner ripped through Pakistan’s top order before taking a couple of wickets in the end to play a heroic role in the victory.

Cummins, the skipper, claimed 3-23 and finished with eight wickets in the game which also earned him man of the match award. Pakistan rode on Imam-ul-Haq (70) and skipper Babar Azam (55) but the end was full of discomfort. Fawad Alam (11) once again failed to click and Rizwan (0) did not take review when it appeared that the ball from Cummins had pitched outside the of-stump. The umpire gave him lbw.

Steven Smith also held a low catch in the slips of Babar Azam off the bowling of Nathan Lyon and that confirmed Australia were now very close to victory. Just before tea Babar also played a rash stroke off Lyon but Head failed to take the catch in the deep that allowed Pakistan an opportunity to plan during the tea break. However, after the tea break new ball was taken which went against Pakistan as they lost wickets in quick succession and the whole tail was blown within no time.

Sajid Khan scored 21, hitting four fours from 47 balls. Babar, who had saved the Karachi Test with a marathon knock of 196, smashed six fours from 104 balls.

Earlier Cameron Green provided an early breakthrough to Australia when he sent Abdullah Shafique back after he failed to add to his overnight total of 27. Nathan Lyon then removed Azhar Ali (17), caught by Smith before Imam was removed by Lyon after the opener had hit five fours in his fine 199-ball fifty.

Usman Khawaja was adjudged as man of the series for his terrific batting. His series scores are 97, 160, 44, 91, 104*. Australia scored 391 and 227-3 declared. Pakistan were folded for 268 in their first innings.