Australia in command despite Aamer’s double strike

MELBOURNE: Australia ended the third day of the first Test against Pakistan in a dominant position with a 307-run lead for the loss of three second-inning wickets on Monday.

Opener Shane Watson was batting on 64 along with Michael Clarke (21) when play ended on a day that saw nine wickets fall. Australia’s second innings total stood at 111-3.

The hosts were in a relatively uncomfortable position earlier on when the Pakistani quicks reduced them to 30-3 in the second innings before Watson and Clarke steadied the innings.

Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer bowled probing lines in the first few overs and were helped in the field this time around. Kamran Akmal took a diving catch behind the stumps after Simon Katich edged a length delivery from Asif. Aamer lured Ricky Ponting into pulling, and watched anxiously as Salman Butt held on to the ball at deep square leg before trapping Michael Hussey in front of the stumps.

Earlier, Pakistan resumed day three on 107-4, 347 runs behind the Australian first innings total and with Umar Akmal and night-watchman Mohammad Aamer at the crease. Umar took the attack to the Australian bowlers, scoring 19 runs in a Peter Siddle over, during his half-century before falling to Mitchell Johnson. Aamer occupied the crease for 90 deliveries but was dismissed by Doug Bollinger after Australia took the new ball.

Misbah ul Haq, fighting to maintain his place in the side, fought off the Australian fast bowlers with little support from wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and the tail. He was unbeaten on 65 when Saeed Ajmal was dismissed with Pakistan four runs ahead of follow-on par score. Bollinger and Johnson lead the Australian bowlers’ new-ball onslaught with three wickets each and found able support in Peter Siddle who picked up two wickets.

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