Slater supreme

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AUSTRALIA yesterday withstood the loss of Shane Warne with a broken left big-toe to take a firm grip on the second Test against Pakistan in Hobart. With all their second-innings wickets standing and three days left to play, they finished with a commanding lead of 176.

Pakistan were all out for 198 early in the final session after losing their last six wickets for 48. Australia were 107 without loss after 24 overs at close on a cold, blustery day cut short by three rain interruptions totalling 22 minutes. Michael Slater was on 62, including six fours and a six, with Mark Taylor on 42.

Resuming at 33 for two in reply to Australia's first-innings 267, Pakistan lost five wickets between lunch and tea. Only Ramiz Raja, with 59, and Ijaz Ahmed, unbeaten on 34, offered real resistance. Ramiz lasted more than two hours before giving Paul Reiffel a low return catch.

In Warne's absence, Australia relied on the pace trio of Reiffel, Glenn McGrath and Craig McDermott, who took nine wickets between them. Reiffel proved most menacing, taking four for 38 in his best bowling performance in a home Test.

After batsmen had struggled for runs in the first two innings, Slater and Taylor suddenly found the wicket easy. Fittingly, Slater posted the century partnership - their ninth in Tests - by smashing the ball out of the ground with a hook off Mohammad Akram.

Frustrated after having an appeal for caught behind against Slater turned down, Pakistan's captain, Wasim Akram, was earlier penalised two runs by Dickie Bird under the experimental intimidation laws for bowling Taylor three successive bouncers.

Warne, hit by a Waqar Younis yorker, will not field again in the match and will bat only in an emergency. He hopes to be fit for the third Test on 30 November.

(Second day; Australia won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 267 (M E Waugh 88, Mushtaq Ahmed 5-115)

PAKISTAN - First Innings

(Overnight 33 for 2)

Salim Elahi b McGrath 13

Aamir Sohail c Healy b Reiffel 32

Mushtaq Ahmed lbw b McGrath 0

Ramiz Raja c and b Reiffel 59

Inzamam-ul-Haq c Healy b S Waugh 27

Ijaz Ahmed not out 34

Basit Ali lbw b McGrath 2

Moin Khan b McDermott 12

*Wasim Akram c Taylor b McDermott 2

Waqar Younis c sub (Julian) b Reiffel 10

Mohammad Akram lbw b Reiffel 0

Extras (lb 1, nb 6) 7

Total (66.5 overs) 198

Fall: 1-24, 2-24, 3-79, 4-126, 5-150, 6-155, 7-173, 8-183, 9-198.

Bowling: McDermott 18-2-72-2; McGrath 19-4-46-3; Reiffel 15.5-3-38-4; M Waugh 8-0-23-0; S Waugh 6-0-18-1.

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

*M A Taylor not out 42

M J Slater not out 62

Extras (lb ,1 nb 2) 3

Total (for 0, 24 overs) 107

To bat: D C Boon, M E Waugh, S R Waugh, G S Blewett, I A Healy, P R Reiffel, C J McDermott, S K Warne, G McGrath.

Bowling: Wasim Akram 5-0-22-0; Waqar Younis 4-0-32-0; Mohammad Akram 6-0-40-0; Mushtaq 7-3-8-0; Aamir Sohail 2-0-4-0.