Australia press for 13th win in a row

LONDON, (Reuters) – Pakistan face a 13th consecutive  defeat against Australia in the first test at Lord’s after they  were set a world record 440 to win on the third day yesterday.

At the close of a day in which the sun shone consistently  for the first time in the match, Pakistan were 114 for one in  their second innings with vice-captain Salman Butt on 58.

An Australian victory during the remaining two days would  break the record they share with Sri Lanka, who have defeated  Bangladesh 12 times in a row.

Pakistan needed quick wickets to have any chance of a win  when play resumed with Australia 100 for four in their second  innings, an overall lead of 205.

Instead nightwatchman Mitchell Johnson stroked a handsome 30  and Ben Hilfenhaus recorded his highest first class score of 56  not out. Last man Doug Bollinger, whose previous best test score  was nine, made 21 in a lively 10th-wicket partnership of 52 with  Hilfenhaus.

Debutant wicketkeeper Tim Paine, playing in place of the  injured Brad Haddin, weighed in with an enterprising 47 after  another feat of monumental concentration from opener Simon  Katich.

Katich followed his first innings 80, scored when the  Pakistan pace attack were at their most threatening with  overcast conditions and moisture in the air, with 83 in exactly  four hours.

He played scarcely a memorable shot, apart from a late dab  through the slips which may have been premeditated, but his  concentration, patience and application have held the Australian  batting together and he has now scored half-centuries in each of  his last nine tests.

Two wickets in three balls immediately after lunch briefly  raised Pakistan’s hopes but as the sun began to shine and the  ball stopped swinging they were unable to stem the flow of runs.

Hilfenhaus, with a previous highest first class score of 50,  even slashed Mohammad Asif over point for six, and Bollinger was  similarly untroubled.

Butt, the only Pakistan batsman to come to terms with  conditions in the first innings with a well-crafted 63, relished  the sun and an increasingly benign pitch when Pakistan began  their second innings. He drove deftly and ran swiftly to reach  his 10th test half-century with nine fours.

Leg-spinner Steven Smith was finally thrown the ball in his  debut test and was gifted his first wicket when Imran Farhat  (24) pulled a long hop straight to Shane Watson at mid-wicket.

Smith may have an important part to play on Friday as it was  clear how much easier batting became when the sun came out with  only seven wickets falling compared to 15 on the previous day.

“I think he looked really good, I think he started very  well,” Paine told a news conference. “When he went around the  wicket he started to spin a few quite a long way so I think he  will definitely play a role at some stage tomorrow.

“It’s probably a decent batting wicket now. If the sun’s out  and the ball’s not swinging it’s definitely a lot easier but I  think we will create enough chances to definitely be in the game  and give ourselves a good chance of winning.”

A Pakistan victory would rank among the biggest upsets in  test history although debutant Umar Amin, the next batsman in  the order, said his team had been immensely heartened by the  performances of Butt and the team’s other newcomer Azhar Ali (28  not out).

“If they carry on tomorrow, we have a very good chance of  winning the game. It always happens in England whenever the sun  is out then the conditions become very easy, whenever it is  overcast it does offer a bit to the bowlers,” he said.

Scoreboard

Australia first innings 253
(S.Katich 80, M.Hussey 56 not  out)
Pakistan first innings 148
(S.Butt 63; S.Watson 5-40)
Australia second innings (100-4 overnight)

S. Watson c Imran Farhat b Mohammad Asif                                 31
S. Katich c Kamran Akmal b Umar Gul                                              83
R. Ponting lbw b Mohammad Asif                                                         0
M. Clarke b Umar Gul                                                                                12
M. Hussey c Imran Farhat b Umar Gul                                                0
M. Johnson b Umar Gul                                                                           30
M. North c Kamran Akmal b Mohammad Asif                               20
T. Paine b Shahid Afridi                                                                           47
S. Smith lbw b Danish Kaneria                                                               12
B. Hilfenhaus not out                                                                                56
D. Bollinger b Danish Kaneria                                                                21
Extras  (b-6, lb-5, w-2, nb-9)                                                                 22
Total (all out; 91 overs)                                                                         334
Fall of wickets: 1-61 2-73 3-97 4-97 5-149 6-188 7-188 8-208  9-282 10-334.
Bowling: Mohammad Aamer 18-3-67-0, Mohammad Asif 21-3-77-3  (2nb), Umar Gul 21-5-61-4 (3nb, 2w), Danish Kaneria 17-2-74-2  (3nb), Shahid Afridi 14-0-44-1 (1nb).

Pakistan second innings
Imran Farhat c Watson b Smith                                                           24
Salman Butt not out                                                                                  58
Azhar Ali not out                                                                                       28
Extras (b-2 nb-2)                                                                                          4
Total (for one wickets; 37 overs)                                                      114
To bat: Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal,  Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul, Danish Kaneria, Mohammad Asif.
Fall of wickets: 1-50.
Bowling: Bollinger 8-4-27-0, Hilfenhaus 10-5-22-0 (2nb),  Johnson, 6-0-29-0, Smith 13-2-34-1.
(Editing by Neil Maidment; to query or comment on this story  email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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