Usman Khawaja falls for 160, Australia 505-8 at stumps day 2

Khawaja and Carey have put Australia in a dominating position

Australia’s indefatigable innings was dominated by Khawaja’s brilliant 160 off 369 balls as he just fell short of his highest test score of 174 while Carey fell for 93 just before stumps and agonizingly short of his maiden century.

At the start of day 2, Australia’s indefatigable innings was dominated by Khawaja’s brilliant 160 off 369 balls as he fell just short of his highest test score of 174 against New Zealand at the Gabba in 2015. His 11th Test century and first in the country of his birth was marked by unwavering concentration, but he could only score 33 runs off 103 balls on day two underlining the changing nature of the pitch.

Khawaja’s innings ended midway through the second session when he was bowled by a cracker of a delivery from off-spinner Sajid Khan, who produced drift and a sharp turn to hit the top off the stump.

Australia just kept batting as Carey, who had been somewhat under pressure due to patchy glovework and batting, effectively reverse swept his way to the second test half-century of his career.

An increasingly confident Carey powered to his highest score in what should be a tonic ahead of an important stint behind the stumps. While he capitalized on Australia’s strong platform, middle-order batter Head and Cameron Green missed out after being dismissed during a lively second session where the match appeared to be moving only for that to prove fool’s gold after a laborious final session.

Carey fell for 93 just before stumps and agonizingly short of his maiden century after batting fluently to energize an otherwise dull final session, where everyone was seemingly waiting for Australia’s declaration but it never came.

Mitchell Starc and Alex Carey batted almost through the entire final session in an attempt to break the back of Pakistan, who have spent two whole days in the field but in-form batters Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq were surely relieved not to have faced a tricky period before stumps.

Australia reached close in the commanding position at 505-8 with Starc 28 not out and skipper Cummins yet to score.

Carey, who fell seven short of a hundred, made that point at the end of the day’s play.

“We were clear [about our plans] going into last night. The captain said to the batters to get their head around batting all day unless the message comes otherwise. Starcy and I were just batting along, it’s not the easiest wicket to score quickly on.

“I know that might sound interesting, but it’s starting to be a little bit variable, inconsistent, there was reverse-swing at times throughout the day. The offspinner [Sajid], bowls a lot of balls in a good area and with not a lot of pace on them. The more runs we can get in this first innings, it sets us up for the back end. But think the wicket is starting to show a little bit of life now, or the opposite, it’s inconsistent, some patches are starting to open up a little. Think the game will move quicker going into the back end of tomorrow and day four and day five.”

“Reverse-swing is always difficult,”

Carey said.

“Coming over from Australia we probably don’t experience those conditions a lot but the home team will have. That’s the beauty of having Mitchell Starc on our side, 145 clicks with reverse-swing are going to be difficult. Pat Cummins is the same, and also Greeny. We’ve got some weapons there when the ball starts to reverse.

“[We’re] super excited to see the two spinners, Nathan [Lyon] hits a beautiful area regularly, there are footmarks there. They aren’t huge at the moment, but our quicks will open those up a little more with the way they hit the crease and where they land on the wicket. For Mitchell Swepson, there’s enough there from the end he’ll bowl at, there’s some cracks opening. It’s going to be difficult.”