Boxing Day Test: Pakistan fight back to restrict Australia to 318 in first inning

The second Test between Australia and Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground saw the visitors fight back on day two after a tough opening day. Pakistan’s pace attack, sporting a new look, consistently picked up wickets and was backed up by much improved fielding. This allowed them to bowl Australia out for 318 after the home team had threatened to post a massive first innings total.

The MCG surface provided swing and movement which Pakistan’s fast bowlers capitalized on amidst a chaotic morning session. Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh had pushed Australia into a strong position, but Pakistan’s persistence paid off as they kept chipping away with regular wickets.

Australia resumed day two at 187-3 after rain truncated play on day one. With improved weather, they looked to build a big total after finishing strongly the previous day. Pakistan needed early strikes to restrict Australia to around 250. Though they could not achieve that, their fightback ensured Australia did not run away with the match.

The surface is proving helpful for pace bowlers, so Australia’s 318, while decent, is not unassailable. The match remains competitive heading into Pakistan’s first innings.