103rd over: Australia 353-2 (Labuschagne 93, Smith 0) Naseem tries the short-pitched attack again, but Marnus pulls him for a single and Smith just gets out of the way. Bowling short to Smith early in his innings has been mooted as a plan. There aren’t many plans to Smith though.
102nd over: Australia 352-2 (Labuschagne 92, Smith 0) Things settle into calm after the wicket over, with the new pair defending against Yasir.
101st over: Australia 351-2 (Labuschagne 91, Smith 0) And at equally long last, Steve Smith gets a chance to have a bat. His first on home turf since his sandpaper ban. He’s back, on the third day of a match when he would have hoped to have been batting on the first morning. He counts the field, counts his boys, checks his kit, taps his pads. Taps his helmet, taps his bat, bobs his knees, bobs his knees. Wafts his backlift, holds it still, steps across, and plays a defensive push back to the bowler. Classic Smith. Prepare to see this 200 more times. That’s the over.
Wicket! Warner c Rizwan b Naseem 154 (Australia 351-2)
At long, long last, Naseem gets his man! Had him caught behind a hundred runs ago but it was off a no-ball. This time the bowler’s foot is behind the line. The fast bowlers have looked much more threatening around the wicket to Warner today. He hasn’t faced much, has barely scored at all. This over, Naseem roasts him on the outside edge twice, seaming the ball away from a full length. Then having created that doubt, delivers a proper short ball: nasty, fast, angled in from wide. Warner is trying to sway out of the way but he isn’t expecting it and he’s just a bit late to react. Can’t drop his gloves enough, turns his head away, and the ball ends up taking the bottom edge of his bat as it hands in limbo land. Rizwan takes the tumbling catch, Naseem shouts in celebration, and the teenager’s first Test wicket will, after a long interregnum, be David Warner after all.
100th over: Australia 351-1 (Warner 154, Labuschagne 91) That’s a dubious shot from Labuschagne. They’re talking it up on the commentary but to my eye it looked a bit desperate. Yasir landed one close to the pads, and the batsman swats across the line and is good enough or lucky enough to get good contact on it, out through midwicket for four.
99th over: Australia 347-1 (Warner 154, Labuschagne 87) Loves the strike this morning, does Marnus! Faces out five dots from Naseem and then ticks a single from the sixth. Warner is waiting at the other end, and the cameras cut to Smith waiting in the dressing room. Quality line from Kerry O’Keeffe on that shot: “That’s like Dracula waiting outside the Blood Bank.”
98th over: Australia 346-1 (Warner 154, Labuschagne 86) A rare error from Labuschagne, getting a thick inside edge into his pads as he tries to drive Yasir. A couple of singles from the over as he moves closer to the unprecedented three figures. This is already his highest Test score.
97th over: Australia 344-1 (Warner 153, Labuschagne 85) Three balls in a row to face for Warner from Naseem, who not only takes his second run for the morning, but goes past an interesting mark of 286 balls faced. That makes this his longest ever Test innings, moving past the only other time when he batted a full day, against New Zealand at the WACA in 2015 when he made 253.
96th over: Australia 343-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 85) Gorgeous from Labuschagne! Yasir Shah on to bowl his leg-breaks. Lands one too full just outside off stump. Marnus had read the flight early, gets his back foot around and well out of the way to open up his body towards the ball, then brings the bat through across his stumps and connects with his cover drive for four. That was such good anticipation, and it beats both the infield and the sweeper. A similar shot to follow brings two more runs. That’s now 30 runs today for Marnus to Warner’s 1. The latter has barely had the strike. A pretty comfortable way to bat.
95th over: Australia 337-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 79) Shaheen produces a couple of errors, but can’t make either of them terminal. A really good ball outside off zips from back of a length and beats the batsman’s push. Then one going the other way takes the edge into his pads, though the batsman takes a pair of lucky runs.
94th over: Australia 334-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 76) Goodness. The Schagne Train is reaching runaway levels. Another short ball, this time at Imran’s friendly pace, and the batsman leans back and pounds it over the leg side for four.
Paddy Myer has hit the email. “Morning Geoff, I’m writing about the injustice of bails staying put when the stumps have been hit. There certainly seems to have been a spate of incidents recently. If a batsman can be out on the evidence of snicko when the ball hits the bat, why not the same when the stumps are hit? I have a great uncle called Bails, and he is also very hard to dislodge. It must be related.”
As it so happens, Paddy, I not only agree with your contention but I’ve conveniently already written the argument for the prosecution of the Laws: namely that the bails only exist to show an umpire if the stumps have been hit, and thus should be made redundant and charmingly ceremonial in professional cricket.
93rd over: Australia 329-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 71) Shaheen, left-arm, bowling over the wicket to Labuschagne. Tries the bouncer, but it’s not short enough and Marnus nails the pull shot, a couple more runs as the deep square sweeper gets around to midwicket. That was well struck. Follows up with a tip-run single to keep the strike. So the first drop batsman has added 16 this morning while the opener has added 1.
92nd over: Australia 326-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 68) Marnus is doing all of the scoring, Warner all of the running for him. Another three here, clipped off the ankles from Imran out behind square leg.
91st over: Australia 323-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 65) Marnus evokes the first “Shawwtt!” of the day from around the stands. Shuffling forward, getting his front foot to the pitch, then driving cleanly through the overpitched delivery down the ground for four. Top shot. As if to celebrate, he follows up by driving Shaheen through cover for another quadruple.
90th over: Australia 314-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 56) A bit of inswing for Imran with the newish ball. Interesting, but it started so wide of Warner’s off stump that it didn’t threaten. Imran, the right-armer, has come around the wicket to the left-hander after spending all of yesterday bowling over the wicket. That’s how Stuart Broad created all the problems he did for Warner. Imran looks a bit better already, as another ball wobbles slightly in the air. Needs to get closer to the stumps though. Warner watched that last ball intently, all the way through to the keeper. Too wide for a third time from Imran. A touch closer for the final delivery, but Warner isn’t tempted. A maiden. Australia’s lead is 74.
89th over: Australia 314-1 (Warner 152, Labuschagne 56) Marnus takes the first run of the day, driving to mid-off and and darting through. Warner takes a few balls to look at Shaheen, before digging out a near-yorker and dashing a run to mid-on.
88th over: Australia 312-1 (Warner 151, Labuschagne 55) We begin today much as we began yesterday. Warner leaves Imran Khan alone for the most part, watching out a maiden, except at the end he can’t help going for a wide one and nearly chops onto his stumps. He had a couple of close escapes in that fashion yesterday.
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Brian Withington is first off the rank this Australian morning, as so often.
“Typical Australian selection chicanery – resurrect an opening batsman from obscurity after the stand-ins spent the Ashes tour toiling against the Dukes ball, and he immediately destroys the opposition on home soil in a 222-run stand facing the friendly Kookaburra. Where have you been hiding him? And that Joe Burns guy did ok, too.”
It was a hard day’s work yesterday for Pakistan. Shaheen Afridi bowled 18 overs, young Naseem Shah bowled 16 of them at pace, and Yasir Shah the spinner bowled 28. They’ll need to somehow find the reserves to go again today. Yasir looked good at times but bowled too many release balls. The two faster bowlers had good spells but couldn’t break through. Imran Khan, who bowled so well in the tour match, was largely ineffective with his wide-of-the-wicket release point. Something has to change dramatically today.
In the meantime, our friends across the Ditch are making a decent fist of resistance against Olde Englande. Niall McVeigh has you covered on the late shift from London if you’d like to keep up to date there. And much later today, the pink-ball Test from Kolkata will resume with Virat Kohli at the crease against Bangladesh. It’s a big Test week.
Here is the wires report from last night to summarise the second day’s play, should you need a refresher.
Hello again, and welcome to Day 3. Scene: EXT, the Gabba cricket ground. The day is hot and sunny. The Australian team will continue batting for as long as they feel like it, unless the very tired Pakistani bowlers can conjure nine wickets where yesterday they managed one. The key characters for today’s play each contain a key question. Can WARNER go on to bat really long and make a big score, given this is only the second time he has batted through a full day, and the other time he was out early the next day? Will MARNUS move on from making useful fifties to making a first Test hundred? And will STEVE SMITH explode from having to wait three days to have a bat? All this and more, in today’s episode of Test cricket.