28 Dec 2009

Australia in charge in Melbourne

5:59 pm on 28 December 2009

Australia's cricketers have given themselves a good chance of victory in the first Test in Melbourne, bowling Pakistan out for 258.

Pakistan avoided the follow-on on day three after resuming on 109 for four at the MCG.

But that and a blazing half century from young star Umar Akmal was as good as it got.

Akmal looked set to hand them the first session, before he holed out to the Australian skipper at second slip off Mitchell Johnson for 51.

Ricky Ponting then dropped a sitter, Misbah-ul-Haq getting a second life on 22, and he made Australia pay with a half century.

But no one stayed with him, leaving the batsman stranded on 65 not out.

The nightwatchman Mohammad Aamer was the best of the tail, going for a very patient 15 to Doug Bollinger, who also snared wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal for 12 and Abdur Rauf for three.

Peter Siddle claimed Mohammad Asif for a duck and the last wicket of Saeed Ajmal for four meant Pakistan's last four wickets went for 19.

But Australia have lost an early wicket as they look to build their lead, Simon Katich departing for two late in the day.

Australia are 18 for one - a lead of 214 runs in their second innings.