Australia hold edge after rain-hit Day 1

Rain dampened the enthusiasm of a festive Boxing Day crowd but Australia were content to knock over Pakistan’s top order and leave the tourists 142 for four on day one of the second Test in Melbourne on Monday.
Jackson Bird took two wickets, with fellow seamer Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon grabbing one apiece before play was abandoned after tea at a drizzly Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Pakistan will hope opener Azhar Ali, unbeaten on 66, and Brisbane centurion Asad Shafiq (four not out) can hold firm when play resumes on day two to give Misbah-ul-Haq’s side a chance at a competitive total.
Thirty-nine overs were lost to the rain but Australia headed off pleased with their work after skipper Steve Smith lost the toss, having also hoped to bat on a green-tinged but mostly benign pitch. “The first hour tomorrow is going to be crucial,” Bird told reporters.
“If we can get one or two quick wickets, get Azhar Ali out early, then I think we’re well on top in the game and we can look to push the game forward after that.”
A warm and muggy morning gave way to a chilly afternoon as a cool change swept through from the west of Melbourne and Pakistan’s fortunes fell with the temperature.
They had reached a position of some strength at 111-2 after lunch, but Bird grabbed the momentum back by bowling Younus Khan for 21 and removing another old-stager in Misbah for 11 before rain brought an early tea-break.
Azhar and Younus had carved out a 51-run partnership but it never seemed built on solid foundations. Having overturned an lbw decision on review when he was on three, 39-year-old Younus hung out his bat against Bird and was bowled through the gate. — Reuters
Scoreboard
Pakistan 1st innings
S Aslam c Smith b Lyon     9
Azhar Ali not out     66
B Azam c Smith b Hazlewood     23
Y Khan b Bird     21
Misbah-ul-Haq c Maddinson b Bird     11
A Shafiq not out     4
Extras (b-4 lb-3 nb-1)     8
Total (for 4 wickets, 50.5 overs)     142
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-60, 3-111, 4-125
Bowling: M Starc 11-2-25-0, J Hazlewood 13-5-15-1, J Bird 15.5-2-53-2, N Lyon 11-1-42-1

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