MCG: Rain forces early tea with Pakistan at 142-4

 MCG: Rain forces early tea with Pakistan at 142-4

Melbourne (Reuters): Pakistan lost important wickets in quick succession to reach 142-4, as rain forced early tea on the first day of the second Test against Australia at the MCG on Monday.

Opener Azhar Ali was 66 not out and Brisbane Test hero Asad Shafiq at 4 not out.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq failed to regain his form as he succumbed to Bird for 11. Veteran batsman Younis Khan was clean bowled for 21 off a Bird delivery. Babar Azam fell to the last ball of the first session, caught by Steve Smith for 23 from the bowling of Josh Hazlewood. Sami Aslam went for 9 off Lyon’s bowling.

Earlier Misbah won the toss and elected to bat in the second Test against Australia in Melbourne.

Australia won the first Test by 39 runs in Brisbane and brought an unchanged side to the MCG, where they will bid to seal the three-match series with a game to spare.

Pakistan have lost four Tests in succession but arrived in Melbourne upbeat after scoring the highest ever fourth innings total in Australia to give the home side a huge scare at the Gabba.

They made one change, with right-arm paceman Sohail Khan replacing left-armer Rahat Ali.

The MCG wicket had a covering of grass before the opening session but the pitch is likely to dry out quickly with hot weather in the opening days.

A strong fourth innings fightback that had nearly clinched a remarkable record run chase in the first test loss to Australia in Brisbane had given Pakistan the confidence they needed for the rest of the series, captain Misbah-ul-Haq has said.

The visitors, who were dismissed for 142 in their first innings, had Australian cricket fans chewing their fingernails to the quick as they counter-attacked in chasing 490 for victory.

Asad Shafiq scored a superb century and rallied the tail for 230 runs as the visitors reached 449 for eight before Mitchell Starc produced a superb bouncer that ended his 336-minute resistance.

Until that point, the Australians had looked nervous in the field and the visitors increasingly confident of sealing the victory, something they needed after losing 2-0 to New Zealand just before the first game.

‘Relaxed and confident’

"The guys are relaxed and confident that they can perform well here," Misbah told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.

"You can see that everybody´s spending a lot of time in the nets, working on the basics."

"They won´t leave anything behind before we get into the second test match. That´s a good sign that we are confident but at the same time, we´re focused and determined."

"I´m comfortable with the position we´re in at the moment as individuals and as a team."