McGrath, MacGill kill Pak in Sydney

Associated Press

Sydney, January 2:

Recalled legspinner Stuart MacGill repaid Australia’s selectors with a five-wicket haul as Pakistan crumbled after Salman Butt’s maiden Test hundred gave the tourists their best start of the series. MacGill, who hadn’t played for Australia in nine months, was bowling when bad light stopped play on day one of the third Test. Pakistan was 292 for nine, with Kamran Akmal on 35 and Mohammad Asif yet to score. Salman belted 16 boundaries in his 108 and shared partnerships of 102 with Yasir Hameed (58) and 91 with Younis Khan (46) before Pakistan lost eight wickets for 87 after cruising to 193 for one. MacGill conceded 11 runs in his first over and had 0-28 after three. But he struck back to dismiss Younis and spark Pakistan’s slide. MacGill also removed Youhana (8), Asim Kamal (10), Shahid Afridi (12) and Danish Kaneria (3) and returned 5-87 in 22 overs, his 10th five-wicket haul in test cricket and fourth on his home ground at the SCG. Paceman Glenn McGrath (3-38) chipped in with three wickets in a five-over spell - including a double-wicket maiden - during a middle-order collapse that netted the Australians five wickets for 20 runs. Pakistan started positively after Youhana, standing in for injured skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq for the second consecutive test, won the toss and decided to give his injury-depleted lineup first chance to bat.

Yasir had three reprieves, including two regulation chances behind the wicket on consecutive balls in the second over off Jason Gillespie. Warne, who dropped Yasir at first slip when the opener was on three, made amends when the batsman attempted a sweep shot and got a top edge to Michael Clarke. Younis was out at the end of the middle session, misjudging the flight from MacGill and popping a simple catch to McGrath at mid-off. MacGill got his second wicket three balls into the evening session, having Youhana caught at slip to make the Pakistan total 209 for three. Salman hung around to reach triple figures, pulling Warne to the boundary — beyond a desperate dive for a catch by McGrath — then dropped to his knees and kissed the pitch. The 20-year-old left-hander, playing in his fourth test, hit one more boundary before he was caught behind on the third ball of McGrath’s second spell.

McGrath, who had been rested from the attack for four hours, made it 241 for four and Pakistan didn’t add another run before MacGill had Asim Kamal (10) caught at mid-on.

Shahid Afridi (12) and Kamran added 20 runs for the sixth wicket before Pakistan lost three wickets without scoring.