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Australia Gain 277-Run Lead Over Pak In Hobart Test

PTI 16 Jan 2010, 13:19:26 IST

Australia tightened the grip on the third Test as Pakistan were all out for 301 runs and failed to avoid the follow-on the third day here at Bellerive Oval on Saturday.

However, Australian captain Ricky Ponting did not force the follow-on and decided to bat in the second innings after gaining a big lead of 218 runs in the first.

Mohammed Asif and Umer Gul – two Pakistani tail enders resisted for long and succeeded to build up a valuable 53-run tenth wicket partnership before Asif was dismissed as Pakistan needed 19 runs more to avoid the follow-on.

Australia, not forcing the follow-on, went on to play the second innings and lost an early wicket for only one run on the board when fast bowler Mohammad Aamer got Shane Watson out caught at slip by Mohammad Yousuf for one.

At stumps, Australia were 59 for one with Simon Katich and Ponting batting on 33 and 25 respectively.

They have so far gained a huge lead of 277 runs with two days remaining for going for a possible whitewash against Pakistan.

Earlier, opener Salman Butt and allrounder Shoaib Malik resumed the Pakistan's first innings at 84-4 with their overnight scores of 34 and four, respectively.

Both batsmen batted with responsibility and survived the first session, adding 64 runs in two hours, and Pakistan were 158-4 at lunch. Butt was on 74 and Malik on 28.

After lunch, the two batsmen played with more confidence and took the score to 200.

Then Salman Butt completed his third Test century, the first by a Pakistani batsman in the current series, off 230 balls with 17 fours.

Ponting on that occasion introduced part-time bowler Simon Katich who dismissed Salman Butt, caught behind by Brad Haddin for 102.

Butt and Malik added 129 runs for the fifth wicket partnership.

Katich then dismissed debutant wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed for one and Aamer for four to claim three wickets for 34 runs in 10 overs. Danish Kaneria was also removed by Nathan Haurritz for eight.

Pakistan were tottering at 248-8 when Gul and Asif provided resistance to Australian bowlers and took the score to 297-9 at tea.