Australians profit from poor fielding

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The Independent Online

Australia 262-4 v Pakistan

Salim Malik, the former Pakistan captain, made an eventful return to Test cricket on a frustrating day of lost opportunities for the tourists as the first Test against Australia began at the Gabba yesterday.

Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, David Boon and Mark Waugh all scored half-centuries as the home side reached a commanding 262 for 4 by close.

But Pakistan contributed to their own troubles by dropping five catches, which clearly dismayed the captain and fast bowler, Wasim Akram.

Wasim, who bowled superbly to take two wickets for 38 runs, completed a dire performance in the field by dropping Steve Waugh off his own bowling just before the close.

Malik, recalled after being cleared last month of bribery charges, took one catch and dropped another before being forced off the field to receive six stitches on a cut hand.

Diving low to his left, Malik split the webbing at the base of his left thumb in removing Taylor for 69, breaking a century opening partnership.

Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan manager, said Malik would probably drop from five to six in the batting order as a result of the injury.

(First day of four; Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

*M A Taylor c Malik b Saqlain Mushtaq 69

M J Slater c Mohammad b Wasim 42

D C Boon c Inzamam-ul-Haq b Wasim 4

M E Waugh c Elahi b Saqlain Mushtaq 59

S R Waugh not out 24

G S Blewett not out 0

Extras (b1, lb5, nb8) 14

Total (for 4, 90 overs) 262

Fall: 1-107, 2-119, 3-213, 4-250.

To Bat: I A Healy, S K Warne, P R Reiffel, C J McDermott, G McGrath.

Bowling: Wasim Akram 18-6-38-2; Waqar Younis 15-6-59-0; Mohammad Akram 19-2-54-0; Saqlain Mushtaq 31-10-88-2; Aamir Sohail 7-2-17-0.

PAKISTAN: Aamir Sohail, Salim Elahi, Ramiz Raja, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Salim Malik, Basit Ali, Moin Khan, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younis and Mohammad Akram.

n Cyclonic rains forced play to be abandoned on the second day of the third and final Test between India and New Zealand in Cuttack yesterday. And groundstaff said play might not be possible even on the third day as most of the outfield had been submerged under a sheet of water. Heavy rain disrupted play on the first day when India struggled to score 120 runs for the loss of three wickets.