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Rumours are swirling Australia will choose to bat again to give their bowlers a shot at Pakistan under lights on day three of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval (2pm EDT).
Pakistan is 8-200, with Mohammad Abbas on 1 and Yasir Shah on 50 having enjoyed five lives.
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Yasir edged Nathan Lyon at the end of the 48th over only to survive because Steve Smith was too deep at first slip, and he would have been run-out with a direct hit at the start of the next over if Matthew Wade’s throw was on target. Yasir then edged Marnus Labuschagne in the 55th over and once again the ball fell just short of Smith. He could have been stumped in the 58th too off the bowling of Lyon and was dropped by Marnus Labuschagne off his own bowling while he was in the 40s.
Mitchell Starc went a ways to making up for lost time by removing Babar Azam (97) and Shaheen Afridi (0) in back-to-back balls to take his tally to six wickets for the innings.
Babar was caught behind three runs short of his century and his dismissal was the fifth completed by Tim Paine in the innings. It is the first time Paine has ever taken five catches in a Test innings.
SMITH’S SLIPPING UNDER FIRE
“That was perfect bowling and Steve Smith we have seen him in the last two Test matches be really deep,” Shane Warne said on Fox Cricket after Yasir’s first life. “That was a regulation nick and that’s what the slip should be there for. It should have been straight sown first slips throat.
“You would have thought Steve Smith would have learned his lesson in Brisbane. That should have been straight to him.”
WARNE BAFFLED BY AUSTRALIA’S RUMOURED PLANS
Warne is baffled by reports Australia will bat again to make sure they get a brand new pink ball under lights in the third session.
“You can’t bat again when you’re 465 runs ahead, I mean it’s just ridiculous,” Warne said on Fox Cricket. “How can you possibly even entertain the thought of batting again when you’re 460 runs ahead.
“It’s not as though the bowlers have bowled a lot because they’ve only bowled 40 overs, they’ve had a couple of days off and there’s 10 days before the next Test.
“To me there’s still enough there for the quickies, it’s not seaming and swinging a lot but there’s still enough on offer.”
“There is a bit of conjecture here that if these last four wickets fall quickly that Australia may indeed bat again,” Kerry O’Keeffe told Fox Cricket before play.
“There is a bit of a rumour circulating here. It looks irrational given they are ahead by so many.
“But day-night Tests are all about bowling at night and Australia do want another crack at Pakistan late tonight.
“Australia may be batting and declaring after the long break to have a real go at Pakistan with the pink ball after seven o’clock.”
Pakistan reached stumps 6-96 at stumps on day two as Australia sensed a 2-0 series victory could be sealed as early as the third day after David Warner’s incredible display at the Adelaide Oval and some woeful batting left the tourists in disarray.
Mitchell Starc took four wickets for 22 as Pakistan replicated their poor bowling form with a comparable effort with the bat.
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