Cricket: Taylor's century fires Australia

Australia 224-1 v Pakistan
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The Independent Online
MARK TAYLOR, the Australian captain, hit a brilliant century as his side compiled 224 for 1 by the close of the first day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Arbab Niaz stadium here yesterday.

Already 1-0 up in the three-match series, Australia won the toss, decided to bat and then completely dominated the day's proceedings.

When bad light curtailed play by 21 overs, Taylor was 112 not out and Justin Langer was unbeaten on a career-best Test score of 97.

Both left-handers played with authority and treated the Pakistan attack with contempt, adding 208 runs in an unbroken second-wicket stand. Taylor was in a punishing mood in the second session, middling the ball impeccably. He hit 13 fours and a six off 240 balls.

Langer, out for a first-ball duck in the first Test in Rawalpindi, hit nine boundaries, and the two helped Australia gain the ascendency after they had lost the opener Michael Slater cheaply with the score on 16.

Slater, who hit 108 in the first Test, fell for two, caught in the gully by Azhar Mahmood off Shoaib Akhtar.

Taylor's 19th Test match hundred and his fourth against Pakistan came up off 210 balls. He said: "It's always wonderful to score a century, and this one is more satisfying because I was looking for runs on this tour." Taylor, dropped by Saeed Anwar off the leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed when on 27, took full advantage of the let-off to make the first Test hundred by any player on this ground.

Langer reached his fourth half-century in Tests in 96 minutes, hitting six boundaries, having survived a confident appeal for leg before from his first ball.

Langer and Taylor, along with the rest of the Australian team, wore black armbands throughout as a mark of respect to the former captain of Australia, Ian Johnson, who died last week.

Wasim Akram, Pakistan's most experienced fast bowler, was ruled out of the match with a sore throat. He was missed by his side - but not by the Australians.

"I am glad Wasim Akram was not playing. The bowling was not the same without him," Taylor said afterwards.

Australia won toss

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

*M A Taylor not out 112

M J Slater c Azhar Mahmood b Shoaib Akhtar 2

J L Langer not out 97

Extras (lb3 w1 nb9) 13

Total (for 1) 224

Fall: 1-16.

To bat: S R Waugh, M E Waugh, R T Ponting, I A Healy, D W Fleming, S C G MacGill, G D McGrath, C R Miller.

Bowling (to date): Shoaib Akhtar 17-5-56-1 (nb1); Mohammad Zahid 13-0- 55-0 (nb6, w1); Mushtaq Ahmed 19-1-61-0; Azhar Mahmood 8-1-27-0 (nb1); Aamir Sohail 12-3-22-0 (nb1).

PAKISTAN: *Aamir Sohail, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul Haq, Salim Malik, Moin Khan, Ijaz Ahmed, Yousaf Yohanna, Azhar Mahmood, Mushtaq Ahmed, Mohammad Zahid, Shoaib Akhtar.

Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and Mohammad Nazir Jnr (Pak).