The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aussies bounce back to win Test

Colombo: Pakistan’s young cricketers found the second new ball too hot to handle as Australia won the first Test by 41 runs after a tense finish here Monday.

The Pakistanis, chasing 316 for victory, lost their last five wickets for 32 runs and were shot out for 274 after lunch on the fifth and final day at the Tamil Union ground here.

Man-of-the-Match Shane Warne finished with four for 94 for a match haul of 11 wickets, but it was the pace duo of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie who sealed Australia’s win.

The remaining two Tests of the series, which was shifted out of Pakistan due to security reasons, will be played in Sharjah from Friday.

To Pakistan’s credit, they made Australia sweat for victory, despite the 16-man squad’s combined experience of 262 Tests being lower than the 275-Test tally of the Waugh twins alone.

Starting the day at 179 for 3, still needing 137 to win, Pakistan collapsed to 259 for nine by lunch after a gripping morning session. After Warne had taken two wickets, Australian captain Steve Waugh summmoned the second new ball at 242 for five after 84 overs.

Gillespie, who shared the pace attack with McGrath, struck with his first delivery when Rashid Latif edged a simple catch to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist after making 11.

McGrath removed Saqlain Mushtaq in the next over, an ambitious drive off the fast bowler landing in the safe hands of Steve in the covers.

Gillespie then had Pakistan captain Waqar Younis caught behind for one, while McGrath trapped Shaoib Akhtar leg before with the final delivery before lunch.

Faisal Iqbal, who top scored with 83 in the first innings, was last man out for 39, caught at point by Ricky Ponting to give McGrath his third wicket of the innings. Australia were lucky to survive Mark Waugh’s astonishingly poor catching in the slips, where he spilled three catches in Pakistan’s second innings alone and four in the entire match.

Younis Khan had added just one to his overnight score of 32 when he edged McGrath to second slip where the younger Waugh twin got both hands to the ball but failed to grasp the catch. Australia struck in the next over as Misbah-ul Haq played a wild shot off Warne and only managed to top-edge a skier to Steve in the covers.

Mark, who had dropped Imran Nazir Sunday, let his team down again when he spilled a regulation chest-high catch after Iqbal edged Gillespie.

Mark, battling to retain his test place after being axed from the one-day team, is regarded as one of the best slip fielders in the game with 173 catches from 125 previous Tests. (AFP)

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