KARACHI: The pitch of the National Stadium had been under scrutiny for the last one week, owing to no fault of its own. After the International Cricket Council (ICC) rated the Rawalpindi wicket ‘below average’ and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja publicly admitting that they made the pitch deliberately slow, all eyes had turned to the NSK.
In what appeared a slow track, Australia won the toss and decided to bat first. David Warner and Usman Khawaja put on a fantastic display of attacking opening in Pakistan before Warner was sent to the pavilion courtesy a peach of a delivery from Faheem Ashraf.
Marnus Labuschagne came in to bat next and could only face nine balls before he was run out for 0. Steve Smith then joined Khawaja, who had by then settled at the crease. Both the batters put on a stunning partnership of 159, grinding the Pakistani bowlers in the process. Pakistan did not help their cause either as they made some bizarre bowling changes and resorted to bowling at negative line and length on Day 1.
Smith only got out in the second last over the day, thanks to a brilliant one-hand catch by Faheem Ashraf in the slip cordon. Australia will resume their innings tomorrow at 251/3, with Khawaja and the night watchman Nathan Lyon at the crease.