Simon Katich scored his second half-century of the match as Australia cemented their grip on the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s yesterday.
Australia were 188 for five in their second innings at lunch on the third day, a lead of 293, as they chased a 13th straight Test victory over Pakistan, which would be a new record for consecutive wins by one country over another.
Katich was 83 not out following his first innings 80.
Second time around, the left-handed opener had so far faced 169 balls balls with 14 boundaries in nearly four hours at the crease.
Marcus North was unbeaten on 20.
Australia, after a day where 15 wickets fell, resumed on 100 for four in their second innings — a lead of 205.
Katich was 49 not out and nightwatchman Mitchell Johnson 2 not out after medium-pacer Shane Watson, with a Test-best five wickets for 40 runs, had led the way as Pakistan were dismissed for 148 in reply to Australia’s first innings 253.
If Pakistan’s largely inexperienced top order were to have a realistic target to chase, they badly needed their attack to take early wickets yesterday.
Conditions, as they had been throughout the match, were overcast and helpful to swing bowling, but Katich and Johnson still compiled a fifth-wicket partnership of 52.
Johnson was the main aggressor, making 30 featuring five fours, before he was bowled by an inswinging full toss from Umar Gul that dipped sharply late in its flight to give the seamer his 100th wicket in his 27th Test.
Katich, on 64, had a reprieve when he clipped a delivery from Pakistan captain and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi, only for the ball to hit Umar Amin before the short-leg fielder knew what had happened.
North, bowled for a duck by Mohammad Asif in the first innings, avoided a pair, before fellow left-hander Katich cover-drove Afridi for four.
Play was halted by a 20 minute rain-break, with Australia 167 for five, but there was no evidence it had disturbed the resilient Katich’s concentration in what is the first of a two-Test series.
The matches are being played in England because of security concerns in Pakistan.
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