Australia lose Warner, Labuschagne after quick start in second Test


KARACHI, MAR 12: Australia lost key batsmen David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne in quick succession on Saturday, reaching 100-2 at lunch on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan in Karachi.

At the break, opener Usman Khawaja was batting on 52 and Steve Smith on seven after the visitors won the toss and opted to bat on a dry-looking National Stadium pitch.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf got the ball to nip away slightly, forcing Warner (36) to edge the ball to keeper Mohammad Rizwan after the Australian openers had amassed a solid 82-run stand.

Labuschagne was run out for nought nine deliveries later. The top-ranked batter in Test cricket fell to a direct hit from Sajid Khan while attempting a quick single.

Warner, whose last six innings against Pakistan include four centuries and two fifties, had greeted off-spinner Sajid into the attack with two sixes.

But Ashraf — recalled after missing the first Test due to injury — extracted some life from the pitch to grab the first breakthrough.

Khawaja has so far hit seven boundaries and a six in his 16th Test half-century.

He and Warner put on 63 runs in the first hour as Pakistan’s spin-and-pace attack found little response from the pitch.

The visitors dropped fast bowler Josh Hazlewood from the first Test lineup and handed a debut to leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson to bolster their spin attack.

Pakistan brought back frontline paceman Hasan Ali and allrounder Faheem Ashraf — who both missed the first Test due to injuries — replacing Iftikhar Ahmed and Naseem Shah.

“Mitch has been around the squad for many years now. We’re pumped for him,” Cummins said at the toss.

“Looks like a really good wicket…Our job now is to bat big.”

“It’s a typical Karachi pitch, later on it will help the spinners,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said.

The first Test ended in a tame draw in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.

Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to visit over security fears.

The third and final Test is in Lahore from March 21-25.


Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Imamul Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sajid Khan

Australia: Pat Cummins (captain), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon