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Australia crush Pakistan in Perth as Lyon brings up milestone

Nathan Lyon
Veteran offspinner Nathan Lyon claimed his 500th Test wicket as Australia took a 1-0 lead against Pakistan in Perth.

Nathan Lyon etched his name in history on Sunday, claiming his 500th Test wicket as Australia sealed victory in the first Test in Perth.

The veteran offspinner reached his milestone — one that only seven other bowlers have achieved — in the final session at Optus Stadium, dismissing Faheem Ashraf lbw on review.

He joins Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath as one of three Australian players to take 500 wickets in Test cricket.

Lyon’s feat was part of a comprehensive victory for Australia, clinched inside four days.

After setting Pakistan a daunting target of 450, the visitors succumbed to the brilliance of Australian quicks Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

Pakistan, facing a tough task to avoid their 15th consecutive Test defeat in Australia, crumbled in their second innings, lasting only 30.2 overs on a pitch that offered both bounce and unpredictability.

The opening seven overs proved disastrous for Pakistan, losing three wickets for just 17 runs.

As the match slipped away from Pakistan, Lyon’s milestone wicket added to their woes, and soon the only remaining interest was whether Pakistan could extend the match to a fifth day.

However, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s dismissal in the slips off Starc and a disastrous run-out of Salman Ali Afgha ended any hopes of a comeback.

Despite the loss, debutant seamers Khurram Shahzad and Aamer Jamal impressed, combining for 12 of Pakistan’s 15 wickets in the match; however, vice-captain Shaheen Shah Afridi struggled throughout the match, finishing with disappointing figures in each innings.

Australia’s dominant performance was highlighted by opener David Warner’s belligerent century on the first day, Mitchell Marsh’s all-round excellence, and Usman Khawaja’s gritty 90 in the second innings.

While Australia celebrated Lyon’s historic achievement and a convincing victory, Pakistan will need to regroup and address their shortcomings before the second Test.

The visitors’ bold selection calls, including the exclusion of Hasan Ali and Mohammad Rizwan, will likely be scrutinised as they aim to bounce back in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

The odds are against them, however, as top cricket bookmakers have Pakistan pegged as +1000 outsiders against the -526.32 home favourites in Melbourne.

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