Pakistan recover with Ijaz century

Cricket: Pakistan 231-4 v Australia
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Pakistan 231-4 v Australia

Ijaz Ahmed bolstered Pakistan's flagging morale with an unbeaten century at the Sydney Ground yesterday, guiding the tourists to 231 for 4 by the close of play on the first day of the third and final Test.

Ijaz occupied the crease for six minutes short of six hours to finish on 101 not out, leading the Pakistan recovery after they had lost Aamir Sohail in the first over with the score on four.

Shane Warne made a dramatic return to Test action, shrugging off the lingering effects of a broken toe to claim the wickets of Ramiz Raja and Inzamam-ul-Haq in his 27 overs.

But the day belonged to Ijaz, who reached his third Test century - all made against Australia - cutting a short ball from Craig McDermott to the point boundary just before close.

"This is only my second match in eight months so I am really sore and stiff right now," said Ijaz, who joined the squad as a replacement for sick opener Saeed Anwar. "It was hard work out there because I faced a lot of balls and I was just trying to concentrate all the time."

Ramiz fell for 33 before lunch when he checked a pull shot only to loft a simple catch to Michael Slater at mid-on. Warne struck again in his third spell when Inzamam was caught by wicketkeeper Ian Healy off a bottom edge with his score on 39.

McDermott had made the first breakthrough, with Sohail edging a catch to Mark Waugh at second slip off the third ball of the innings.

Fast bowler Glenn McGrath took the fourth wicket, removing Salim Malik for 36, his highest score in four innings on tour, during the final session.

Malik, whose tour has been overshadowed by a bribery scandal and disrupted by injury, was jeered by a small first-day crowd of 11,000 as he walked to the wicket.

(First day; Pakistan won toss)

PAKISTAN - First Innings

Aamir Sohail c M E Waugh b McDermott 4

Ramiz Raja c Slater b Warne 33

Ijaz Ahmed not out 101

Inazamam-ul-Haq c Healy b Warne 39

Salim Malik lbw b McGrath 36

Basit Ali not out 8

Extras (lb3, w2, nb5) 10

Total (for 4, 91 overs) 231

Fall: 1-4, 2-64, 3-141, 4-210.

To Bat: Basit Ali, *Wasim Akram, Rashid Latif, Saqlain Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis.

Bowling: McDermott 13-4-34-1; McGrath 19-1-72-1; Reiffel 18-4-49-0; Warne 27-16-44-2; M E Waugh 10-4-23-0; Blewett 4-2-6-0.

AUSTRALIA: *M R Taylor, M J Slater, D C Boon, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, G Blewett, I Healy, P R Reiffel, S R Warne, C J McDermott, G D McGrath.

n The first day of England A's Second ''Test'' against Pakistan in Rawalpindi was washed out yesterday because of a wet pitch and square.