Starc, Lyon shine as Australia thrash Pakistan

Melbourne, Dec 30 (IANS) Australia rode on a powerful bowling performance to thrash Pakistan by an innings and 18 runs in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here on Friday.

Australia now lead the three-Test series 2-0.

With Australia declaring their first innings at 624/8 shortly before lunch, the visitors started their second stint with the bat trailing by 181 runs.

But they could not withstand the Australian bowling and were bundled out for 163 runs.

Pacer Mitchell Starc was the most successful among the Australian bowlers with figures of 4/36. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon returned 3/33 while pacers Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird notched up 2/39 and 1/46 respectively.

Opener Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed were the only Pakistani batsmen who managed to challenge the hosts, scoring 43 runs each.

The visitors ran into trouble early in their innings, losing Sami Aslam and Babar Azam within the first five overs.

Younis Khan and Azhar Ali added 57 runs between then before the former misjudged the bounce of a Nathan Lyon delivery only to find Peter Handscomb at short leg.

That was the last bit of real resistance the Pakistanis could produce as the Australians stamped their dominance on the proceedings.

Earlier, starting at the overnight score of 465/6, Australia captain Steven Smith and Starc completed a 154-run partnership to hand the advantage to the hosts.

Starc was in red hot form, smashing three boundaries and seven sixes for a quickfire 84 runs off just 91 deliveries.

He was finally dismissed while going for another six. He attempted a hook off Sohail Khan’s bowling but could only offer an edge to Asaf Shafiq at backward square leg.

Smith remained unbeaten on 165 which came off 246 balls and included 13 boundaries and a six.

Brief scores:

Pakistan: 443/9 declared & 163 (Mitchell Starc 4/36, Nathan Lyon 3/33; Azhar Ali 43, Sarfraz Ahmed 43) vs Australia (First Innings): 624/8 declared (Steven Smith 165 not out, David Warner 144, Usman Khawaja 97, Mitchell Starc 84, Peter Handscomb 54; Sohail Khan 3/131, Yasir Shah 3/207)