Sohail digs in as Warne dazzles

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The Independent Online
AAMIR SOHAIL led Pakistan's fight to avoid an innings defeat in the first Test against Australia here with a superb knock of 99 after the spinner Shane Warne routed the tourists to force the follow-on.

The aggressive left-handed opener fell one run short of a third Test century when Pakistan batted again after collapsing for 97 all out - their fourth-lowest total in Test history - in reply to Australia's first innings 463. At the close of the third day at the Gabba, Pakistan were 197 for three and needing a further 169 to make Australia bat again.

Earlier, Warne claimed seven for 23 from 16.1 overs in a devastating display of leg-spin - his second best Test performance after his eight for 71 against England here last year. In one period before lunch, Warne claimed the last six Pakistan wickets in 56 balls for 10 runs.

Sohail, the only batsman to offer any resistance in the first innings with a swift 32, hit 15 fours during a second stay at the crease that lasted three hours and 20 minutes. He received staunch support from Inzamam- ul-Haq who remained unbeaten on 56 at the close alongside Basit Ali on 11. Sohail was finally dismissed one hour before the close when the fast bowler Glenn McGrath, who took all three second-innings wickets, yorked him.

The Pakistan opener Salim Elahi completed a miserable Test debut when he failed again in the second innings. The right-hander fell for two after deflecting a catch off his gloves to the wicketkeeper Ian Healy with the total on 30. It was Healy's 250th dismissal in Test cricket and he added to his total soon after when the Pakistan No 3 Ramiz Raja top-edged an attempted hook shot.

The tourists were further hampered in their first innings when their former captain Salim Malik did not bat because of a cut hand sustained on Thursday.

Resuming today on 40 for three, the tourists lost their last six wickets in less than two hours before lunch, ending the innings in the 42nd over.

(Third day; Australia won toss)

AUSTRALIA - First Innings 463 (S R Waugh 112 no, M A Taylor 69, M E Waugh 59, G S Blewett 57, D C Boon 54)

PAKISTAN - First Innings

(Overnight: 40 for 3)

Aamir Sohail st Healy b Warne 32

Inzamam-ul-Haq c S R Waugh

b Warne 5

Basit Ali c Taylor b Warne 1

Moin Khan c McDermott b Warne 4

*Wasim Akram c Boon b Warne 1

Waqar Younis not out 19

Mohammad Akram c Blewett

b Warne 1

Salim Malik absent Injured

Extras (b4 lb5 nb6 15

Total (41.1 overs) 97

Fall: 1-20, 2-37, 3-40, 4-62, 5-66, 6-70, 7-70, 8-80, 9-97.

Bowling: McDermott 11-4-32-1; McGrath 14-3-33-1; Warne 16.1-9-23-7.

PAKISTAN - Second Innings

Aamir Sohail b McGrath 99

Saleem Elahi c Healy b McGrath 2

Rameez Raja c Healy b McGrath 16

Inzamam-ul-Haq not out 56

Basit Ali not out 11

Extras (2b, 11nb) 13

Total (for 3) 197

Fall: 30, 88, 167.

Bowling: C McDermott 11-0-47-0; P Reiffel 12-2-45-0; G McGrath 17-5-55- 3; S Warne 18-6-42-0; S Waugh 2-1-3-0; M Waugh 3-2-3-0.