The Australians don't do losing Test matches at home. At least, the old Australia don't. The Australia of Warne, McGrath et al. But this version have been sliding backwards since their cast of stellar names retired and 2010 looks like it may get off to a miserable start for Ricky Ponting's side after Pakistan took control of the second Test, establishing a 206-run lead at the end of their first innings in the first session of the third day here.
The hosts had taken 7 for 141 in the final session on day two to at least limit the damage after the tourists were 205 for 2 at one stage. Pakistan, who resumed the second day on 14 for 0 in reply to Australia's meagre 127, reached 331 for 9 at stumps on what is now a beautiful batting deck. Faisal Iqbal (27) was the first to fall after tea – victim of a wonderful Shane Watson catch after he slashed at a wide delivery from Peter Siddle. Captain Mohammad Yousuf (46) was next to go with the score on 236, Brad Haddin pulling off a brilliant catch.
Umar Akmal was typically frenetic in clubbing nine fours in his 48-ball 49 before Doug Bollinger trapped him lbw, albeit after the decision was referred to the third umpire. Bollinger soon had his second wicket with the second new ball as Misbah-ul-Haq (11) edged to Haddin. He grabbed a third scalp when Watson at deep point held on to a catch from the dangerous Kamran Akmal (14).
Umar Gul (12) and Mohammad Sami (12) also fell before the close, both to Watson for 12.
Earlier, Imran Farhat, dropped on 11 by Marcus North off Siddle, brought up his 13th Test half-century off the second delivery of the post-lunch session but soon found himself back in the pavilion for 53. Having lived dangerously for the majority of his 188-minute stay, the left-hander's luck ran out when he top-edged an attempted sweep off Nathan Hauritz to Haddin.
Salman Butt was fortunate to survive soon after when he edged Johnson just over North's outstretched hand at first slip. Johnson soon had his man, though, caught by Haddin for 71.
SCG scoreboard: Australia v Pakistan
Sydney (Third day of five) Pakistan lead Australia by 206 runs
Australia won toss
Australia — First Innings 127 (M Asif 6-41)
Pakistan — First Innings
I Farhat c Haddin b Hauritz......... 53
S Butt c Haddin b Johnson......... 71
F Iqbal c Watson b Siddle......... 27
*M Yousuf c Haddin b Johnson......... 46
U Akmal lbw b Bollinger......... 49
M ul-Haq c Haddin b Bollinger......... 11
†K Akmal c Watson b Bollinger......... 14
M Sami c Haddin b Watson......... 13
U Gul c Bollinger b Watson......... 12
D Kaneria c Hussey b Bollinger ......... 4
M Asif not out......... 0
Extras (b 2, lb 16, w 5, nb 10)......... 33
Total (96.5 overs)......... 333
Fall: 1-109, 2-144, 3-205, 4-237, 5-277, 6-286, 7-295, 8-323, 9-331.
Bowling: D Bollinger 21.5-5-72-4; P Siddle 22-4-62-1; M Johnson 20-2-64-2; S Watson 17-4-40-2; N Hauritz 16-3-77-1
Umpires: E A R de Silva & B R Doctrove.