Infotainment Factory: Concerns over Starc as Aussies pummelled

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Concerns over Starc as Aussies pummelled


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A ruthless Pakistan have put Australia to the sword in Abu Dhabi, exposing the tourists' shallow batting order and marching towards an imposing target in the second Test.

Fakhar Zaman (66) and Azhar Ali (54 not out) both scored half-centuries to guide Pakistan to 2-144 at stumps on day two, leading Australia in their second innings by 281 runs.

Tim Paine's men were earlier bowled out for just 145, severely diminishing any hopes of winning their first Test series in Asia since 2011.

Lyon's stunning caught-and-bowled dismissal of Fakhar was the sole highlight in a grim final session for the visitors.

The offspinner almost had his head taken off by a shot which Fakhar blasted back at him but managed to get a hand up and take a remarkable reflex grab.

It was otherwise tough going for Australia who also appear to have concerns about the fitness of Mitchell Starc.

Starc, who battled debilitating cramps during the drawn first Test in Dubai, bowled just four overs on Wednesday and later spent time fielding in the slips cordon.

Opener Aaron Finch, who top-scored for Australia with 39, said he expected the paceman would be fine to bowl when play resumed on Thursday.

"It's just a bit of management of Mitch there," Finch said.

"Obviously the conditions are pretty hot so we are trying to look after the fast bowler."

Left-arm spinner Jon Holland again battled after a wicketless first innings and was denied the wicket of Azhar in the second-last over by the DRS.

Paine reviewed the not-out decision for lbw and replays showed the ball was hitting the stumps but Azhar was too far down the pitch to overturn the umpire's call.

Australia's hopes of salvaging a Test hurtling towards an early finish crumbled when Marnus Labuschagne (25) was run out in freakish circumstances after lunch.

The rookie was at the non-striker's end when Starc hit a hard return that shot back into legspinner Yasir Shah then clattered into the stumps.

Replays showed Yasir had got a finger to the ball and Labuschagne had failed to ground his bat.

Starc hit two sixes on the way to 34 and was the last man to fall, trapped lbw by seamer Mohammad Abbas who continued his superb series to finish with 5-33.

Shaun Marsh again fell cheaply as the tourists lost five wickets in Wednesday's morning session.

Marsh nicked an Abbas ball to Haris Sohail in the slips on three to continue a lean run which now extends to 11 innings.

Finch fought a lone hand in just his second Test but none of Travis Head, Mitch Marsh or Paine were able to go the distance.

"It was a disappointing couple of days but the camp's still positive," Finch said.

"We managed to hold on and scrap for a brilliant draw in the first Test so we see still two results on the board tomorrow."

Australia's batsmen suffered collapses of 10-60 and 3-0 in Dubai, and the latest flop had an all-too-familiar feel about it.

This one will feel especially frustrating after Lyon snared four wickets in six balls on day one to hand his side a dream start.

A ruthless Pakistan have put Australia to the sword in Abu Dhabi, exposing the tourists' shallow batting order and marching towards an imposing target in the second Test.

Fakhar Zaman (66) and Azhar Ali (54 not out) both scored half-centuries to guide Pakistan to 2-144 at stumps on day two, leading Australia in their second innings by 281 runs.

Tim Paine's men were earlier bowled out for just 145, severely diminishing any hopes of winning their first Test series in Asia since 2011.

Lyon's stunning caught-and-bowled dismissal of Fakhar was the sole highlight in a grim final session for the visitors.

The offspinner almost had his head taken off by a shot which Fakhar blasted back at him but managed to get a hand up and take a remarkable reflex grab.

It was otherwise tough going for Australia who also appear to have concerns about the fitness of Mitchell Starc.

Starc, who battled debilitating cramps during the drawn first Test in Dubai, bowled just four overs on Wednesday and later spent time fielding in the slips cordon.

Opener Aaron Finch, who top-scored for Australia with 39, said he expected the paceman would be fine to bowl when play resumed on Thursday.

"It's just a bit of management of Mitch there," Finch said.

"Obviously the conditions are pretty hot so we are trying to look after the fast bowler."

Left-arm spinner Jon Holland again battled after a wicketless first innings and was denied the wicket of Azhar in the second-last over by the DRS.

Paine reviewed the not-out decision for lbw and replays showed the ball was hitting the stumps but Azhar was too far down the pitch to overturn the umpire's call.

Australia's hopes of salvaging a Test hurtling towards an early finish crumbled when Marnus Labuschagne (25) was run out in freakish circumstances after lunch.

The rookie was at the non-striker's end when Starc hit a hard return that shot back into legspinner Yasir Shah then clattered into the stumps.

Replays showed Yasir had got a finger to the ball and Labuschagne had failed to ground his bat.

Starc hit two sixes on the way to 34 and was the last man to fall, trapped lbw by seamer Mohammad Abbas who continued his superb series to finish with 5-33.

Shaun Marsh again fell cheaply as the tourists lost five wickets in Wednesday's morning session.

Marsh nicked an Abbas ball to Haris Sohail in the slips on three to continue a lean run which now extends to 11 innings.

Finch fought a lone hand in just his second Test but none of Travis Head, Mitch Marsh or Paine were able to go the distance.

"It was a disappointing couple of days but the camp's still positive," Finch said.

"We managed to hold on and scrap for a brilliant draw in the first Test so we see still two results on the board tomorrow."

Australia's batsmen suffered collapses of 10-60 and 3-0 in Dubai, and the latest flop had an all-too-familiar feel about it.

This one will feel especially frustrating after Lyon snared four wickets in six balls on day one to hand his side a dream start.

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