Batsmen and rain the big story in Melbourne Boxing Day test match
Despite interruptions for rain and dreary morning conditions, the batsmen are prospering. First Pakistan posted 443/9 declared then Australia fashioned a strong reply of 278/2 at the end of the third day of the Boxing Day test match at the MCG in Melbourne.
Azhar Ali became the first Pakistan batsman to score two double centuries in a calendar year as he carried his bat with a superb unbeaten 205 decorated with twenty boundaries. Azhar swept the spinners powerfully and although he played the anchor role was severe pulling or cutting when they were short, he also displayed immaculate straight drives off the quicker bowlers.
The right-handed opener did not get much support from his top order, coming in at number six, Asad Shafiq the batting star of the first test, settled in a scored an even 50 in 115 run partnership before Jackson Bird produced a beauty that left him late took the edge and was taken by Aussie skipper Steve Smith in the slips.
Mohammad Amir promoted after his batting in the Gabba test smacked six boundaries in a 27 ball 29 as his part of a 49 run 8th wicket partnership.
The real fireworks, however, came from an unlikely source Sohail Khan chose this occasion to score his maiden test fifty. His run a ball 65 was studded with four sixes and six fours in a very valuable and frustrating 118 run 9th wicket stand.
Josh Hazlewood was the outstanding bowler grabbing 3/50 from 32 overs Bird also grabbed three wickets but his cost 113 runs from 34 overs. Nathan Lyon took one wicket but his 23 overs were hammered for 115 runs and the vaunted Mitchell Starc’s 31 overs was carted for 125 runs also taking only one wicket.
Australia in reply lost Matt Renshaw early when he was bowled by a flighted Yasir Shah leggie for 10 with the score on 46.
David Warner had a very shaky start but survived and thrived his fortune continued when he was bowled by Wahab Riaz no ball on 81. The pugnacious left-hander smashed 17 fours and one six scoring a 144 from 143 balls. Riaz finally got his revenge when Warner attempted one pull too many and gloved a catch to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.
Warner and Usman Khawaja enjoyed a 198 run partnership. Smith is the other not out batsman with Khawaja who is on 95.
Latham and Munro power Kiwis to 77 run victory in 1st ODI vs Bangladesh
Tom Latham blasted four sixes and seven boundaries in a belligerent 121 ball 137, Colin Munroe smashed eight fours and four sixes scoring an audacious 87 from only 61 balls allowing the hosts to post 341/7 in the first ODI played at Christchurch.
The pair came together with the game well balanced at 158/4 in the 29th over
They turned the match on its head by doubling the score in 18 overs before Munro fell victim to Shakib al Hasan.
The visitors were rattled chasing the large total. Shakib hit two sixes and five fours to top score with 59, Mossadek Hossain also stroked five boundaries and three sixes scoring an even fifty from 44 balls, Mushfiqur Rahim chipped in with 42 before retiring hurt as Bangladesh were dismissed for 264 in 44.5 0vers.
The second ODI is on Thursday at Nelson.