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Aussies defend Test tactics in Pakistan

A day after Usman Khawaja took a swipe at a Pakistan go-slow, Australia’s batsmen have been accused of the same thing.

Pundits potted Australia’s lack of acceleration and no declaration as they amassed 8-505 by stumps on day two of the second Test in Karachi.

Pakistan had copped similar criticism in their first innings of the drawn series-opener in Rawalpindi.

“Pakistan were in the same position last game but they just didn’t do it, they didn’t really take any opportunity to increase their run rate,” Khawaja said after Karachi’s opening day.

But Australia’s Alex Carey, who fell seven runs short of his maiden Test ton in Karachi, said it’s easier said than done, adding a declaration on Sunday was never in Australia’s plans.

“The captain basically said to the batters to ‘get your head around batting all day, unless the message comes otherwise’,” Carey said.

“It’s not the easiest wicket to score quickly on. It is starting to be a little bit variable, inconsistent, there was reverse swing at times.

“The more runs we can get in this first innings, obviously it sets us up at the back-end … the game will move quicker going into the back-end of tomorrow, day four and day five.”

Carey’s knock of 93 from 159 balls was the free-flowing outlier for the Australians.

His highest Test score, combined with Khawaja’s 160 (369 balls) and Steve Smith’s 72 (214 balls), have put Australia in a no-lose position.

But can Australia’s bowlers take 20 Pakistani wickets in three days to deliver the nation a first win in nine Tests in Karachi?

Carey believes so.

“The beauty of having Mitchell Starc in our side, 145 clicks (kilometres per hour) with reverse swing is going to be difficult,” he said.

“Pat Cummins is the same and also Greeny (Cameron Green), so we have got some weapons there when the ball starts to reverse swing to hopefully utilise that.

“And then just super excited to see the two spinners.

“We know Nath (Nathan Lyon) hits a beautiful area regularly … and Mitchell Swepson, there is enough there from the end he is going to bowl at, there’s enough footmarks, there’s enough variability, there’s some cracks opening.

“We know it’s going to be difficult to take 20 opportunities but I think the game will speed up as well.”

Carey admitted disappointment at just missing his first Test century – he was bowled three overs before stumps attempting an aggressive sweep off part-time spinner Babar Azam.

“So close – unfortunately it’s the way it goes,” he said.

“I thought I was pretty disciplined and patient throughout the day.

“I saw an opportunity to hit one over cow (corner) late in the day, a pretty big gap out there.

“I will probably hit the pillow and have a few other shots go through my head but that is the beauty of this game – if you’re slightly off, you’ll lose your wicket at the highest level.”

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