Khawaja approaches hundred as Australia reach 172–2 in second Test

Khawaja  Australia second Test cricket
Australia's Usman Khawaja watches the ball after playing a shot during the first day of the second Test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on March 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
Karachi, Pakistan — Opener Usman Khawaja was just 14 short of a maiden century in the country of his birth as Australia reached 172–2 at tea on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan on Saturday.اضافة اعلان

Khawaja was unbeaten on 86 with Steve Smith on 40 after the pair steadied the Australian innings after Pakistan dismissed David Warner (36) and Marnus Labuschagne (0) in quick succession at the end of the first session at Karachi's National Stadium. 

Having fallen three runs short of a hundred in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, Khawaja has anchored Australia's innings after they won the toss and opted to bat on a dry pitch, hitting 11 boundaries, and one six.

On the other end, Smith has been cautious, playing the ball on merit and striking four boundaries at a strike rate of under 40.

Pakistan's bowlers maintained a nagging line in the post-lunch session, conceding just 20 runs in the last 14 overs.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf — recalled after missing the first Test due to injury — provided the first breakthrough before lunch, getting the ball to nip away slightly and forcing Warner to edge the ball to keeper Mohammad Rizwan. 

Labuschagne was run out for nought soon after, lasting just nine deliveries. The top-ranked batter in Test cricket fell to a direct hit from Sajid Khan while attempting a quick single. 

Warner, whose last six innings against Pakistan included four centuries and two fifties, had looked dangerous and greeted off-spinner Sajid into the attack with two sixes.

Australian made one change for the match, with leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson is making his Test debut in place of pacer Josh Hazlewood, while Pakistan have brought in Hasan Ali and Ashraf.

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