MELBOURNE — Mitchell Starc shone with bat and ball as Australia dismissed Pakistan for 163 to secure an innings and 18-run victory in the second Test Friday, the win giving the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Lanky left-arm paceman Starc smashed 84 with the bat, including a record seven sixes at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, then tore through Pakistan’s tail with 4-36 as Australia’s bowlers snatched an unlikely win from a rain-blighted match.
Pakistan’s capitulation left its captain heart-broken and after falling for a second-ball duck with a rash sweep-shot, 42-year-old veteran Misbahul Haq said he would consider retiring before the series finale in Sydney.
For home captain and Man-of-the-Match Steve Smith, it was a golden day as he smashed an unbeaten 165 in the morning session and watched Pakistan disintegrate on a sun-bathed afternoon.
After declaring Australia’s first innings at 624 for eight just before lunch, Smith gave his bowlers 68 overs to run through the tourists.
In the end, they needed only 53.2 overs of the quota as Pakistan’s demise hastened against the reversing ball after tea.
Pakistan lost the first Test in Brisbane by 39 runs but won admiration for their dogged fourth innings resistance, when they put an Australian record total of 450 on the board.
Much of that acclaim evaporated Friday as their shambolic batting followed an equally abysmal effort in the field in the morning.
Following the Hobart thrashing by South Africa, which surrendered the series, Australia’s new-look team has won its last three matches in succession.
In Melbourne it was their senior players leading from the front, with David Warner’s run-a-ball 143 and Smith’s 17th ton setting a platform before Lyon and Starc brought the match home.
Pakistan has been fined for a slow over-rate against Australia during the second Test in Melbourne, the ICC said.
Match referee Ranjan Madugalle imposed the fine after Misbahul Haq’s side was ruled to be two overs short of its target when time allowances were taken into consideration.
Under ICC regulations, players are fined 10 percent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain fined double that amount.
Accordingly, Misbah was fined 40 percent of his match fee, while his players received 20 percent fines.
The third and final Test starts in Sydney Tuesday.
Aussies plans twin-spin attack in Sydney
Australia has included spinners Stephen O’Keefe and Ashton Agar in their squad for the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sydney.
Uncapped paceman Chadd Sayers and middle order batsman Nic Maddinson were dropped from the squad.
O’Keefe has been rested from the Sydney Sixers’ Twenty20 match Saturday and will vie with fellow left-armer Agar to bowl in a twin-spin attack with Nathan Lyon at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pakistan skips Kamran and Hafeez for ODI
Pakistan has overlooked in-form batsman Kamran Akmal and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez in a 15-man squad for the five-match ODI series in Australia.
Akmal, 35, has been in superb form scoring 1035 runs in the four-day first class tournament and another 361 with two hundreds in the ongoing one-day cup.
Selectors instead retained Test batsman Asad Shafiq, who hit an epic 137 in Pakistan’s narrow 39-run defeat in the first Test at Brisbane last week.
Hafeez was thought likely to return to one-day team after his bowling action was cleared following a 12-month ban, but his recent form was not considered good enough to earn a recall.
The first ODI will be played on Jan. 13 at Brisbane.
Squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Amir. — Agencies