Brisbane: Nathan Lyon removed century-maker Babar Azam and Josh Hazlewood picked up three late wickets as Australia wrapped a victory by an innings and five runs with more than a day to spare in the series-opening Test against Pakistan.
Pakistan resumed Sunday on 64-3, needing at least 340 to make Australia bat again at the Gabba. After a day of resistance, the last four wickets fell rapidly with Mitchell Starc finishing off Pakistan for 335 with the last wicket of tailender Imran Khan.
Azam’s resilient 104 and Mohammad Rizwan’s 95 had given the visitors hope of avoiding an innings defeat until the late burst of wickets.
Pakistan was reeling at 25-3 late Saturday before Azam went to the crease. He shared stands of 68 with Shan Masood (42) and 132 with Rizwan to post his second Test century.
Rizwan continued in a 79-run partnership with Yasir Shah to get without a shot of his maiden Test century before he slapped a Hazlewood (4-63) short ball directly to Lyon at deep point.
Yasir scored 42, his highest Test score, before he got a leading edge in Hazlewood’s first over with the second new ball and was caught by a diving Matthew Wade to make the total 324-8. The pacemen finished it off to ensure Australia’s batsmen didn’t need to pad up a second time at the Gabba, where the Australians haven’t lost a Test since 1988.
The second Test, a day-night pink ball game, starts Friday in Adelaide.
Azam’s defiant century gave Pakistan’s batting lineup the resilience it lacked in the first innings on day 1, when he was dismissed for one and the visitors were bowled out for 240.
Australia replied with 580, virtually putting the game beyond Pakistan’s reach, and big centuries from Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner showed that disciplined batting would be rewarded with runs.
Azam resumed on 20 on day four and converted his undisputed talent from the limited-overs games, where he averages 50-plus, into the long format.
His only previous century in 21 Tests was against New Zealand, although he narrowly missed out in the win over Australia at Abu Dhabi in October last year when he was out for 99 in the second innings.
The 25-year-old right-hander looked equally comfortable hitting boundaries off the front and back foot. He raised his half century with a boundary behind point off Starc (3-73) and, after surviving a strong appeal for LBW to Hazlewood on 75, stroked a classic drive down to the long-off boundary off Pat Cummins to reach triple figures.
He also survived a shout for LBW against Cummins on 100 before eventually being dismissed trying to glide off-spinner Lyon to third man and feathering a catch to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
His partnership with Rizwan was crucial after Pakistan lost two wickets in seven balls during the morning session.
The defeat continued a long sequence for Pakistan, which hasn’t won a Test on Australian soil since 1995.
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