Karachi, March 13: Australia batters continued to make hay on Day 2 of the ongoing second Test against Pakistan in Karachi, finishing strongly at 505/8. Usman Khawaja continued his fine form with a gritty 160, while Alex Carey stroked a fluent 93 to help Australia cross the 500-run mark by the end of the second day’s play in Karachi.
Australia enjoyed a fine start to the day, with Khawaja and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon combining for a 54-run fourth-wicket stand. Lyon, who was given a reprieve on the final ball of Day 1, had a scratchy start, surviving a close leg-before call against Hasan Ali during the third over of the day, before an inside edge raced past the stumps towards the fine leg boundary.
He continued to frustrate the hosts during the opening hour, sweeping Nauman Ali with disdain while also taking on Shaheen Afridi’s short-pitched stuff with audacious pull strokes. Faheem Ashraf finally castled the right-hander, not before he’d struck five fours during a valuable 62-ball 38.
Khawaja, meanwhile, extended his solid presence at the other end and reached his third 150-plus score in Test cricket with a single towards fine-leg. Australia headed to lunch at 332/4.
Sajid Khan gave Pakistan an opening early into the second session, when he had Travis Head trapped leg-before for 23. As Sajid troubled Cameron Green with a low and awkward bounce from his end, Shaheen bowled with great pace and aggression at the other while smartly mixing his lengths.
It was the off-spinner who finally breached Khawaja’s defence, knocking the top of off stump with one that drifted just enough to end a nearly nine-hour long stay for 160. It’s now the second-highest score by an Australia opener in Pakistan, surpassing Bob Simpson’s 153 at the same venue in 1964, with Mark Taylor’s 334* (Peshawar, 1998) occupying the pole position.
Green and Alex Carey then carried on for 15.1 overs, with the former showing some intent against Nauman Ali with a six and a four, before being knocked over by the same bowler for 28. It was a relatively fruitful session for Pakistan, which saw three wickets go down for 75 with Australia positioned at 407/7 at the Tea break.
The hosts continued to toil hard during the final session, but couldn’t quite get the desired results with another 98 runs being added.
Carey stitched a half-century stand with Mitchell Starc and got to his second Test fifty in the process, guiding Australia past 450. The wicketkeeper-batter switched gears during the final hour of day’s play, especially against Sajid, who he tonked for a six over cow corner while playing the occasional reverse sweeps. With two overs left in the day’s play and a maiden Test ton in sight, the left-hander went for a sweep across the line against Babar Azam’s off-break, only to see his stumps rattled when on 93.
Australia, rather surprisingly, continued to bat on, with Starc and skipper Pat Cummins walking off unbeaten on 28 and 0 respectively at stumps.