Smith praises bowlers after unlikely win

Australia's captain Steve Smith praised Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon for their crucial efforts in securing an unlikely victory in the second Test against Pakistan in Melbourne.


Australia benefitted from Mitchell Starc's expert use of reverse swing as Pakistan was bowled out for 163 on Day Five.

Australia captain Steve Smith lauded his bowlers after his side's > remarkable win over Pakistan in the second Test. A draw had looked the most likely result in the rain-affected Melbourne Test, but the host claimed victory by an innings and 18 runs to seal the series on Friday.

Pakistan was bowled out for 163, with Australia's attack - led by Mitchell Starc (4 for 36) and Nathan Lyon (3 for 33) - completing the job. Smith said his team wanted to try and generate reverse swing as quickly as possible in its bid for an unlikely Test win.

"We thought if we were able to get the ball to go reverse soon enough, while it was hard, it was always going to be hard work. It turned out to go," he said in the post-match presentation.

"I thought Lyon bowled really well to take a couple of wickets first up, before the ball started to go. It was nice to have them four or five down when the ball started to reverse and I guess that's when things looked a little bit clearer, at about five down, when the ball was swinging and bowlers were pretty fresh and up and firing. They wanted to get the job done and credit to them. They got the ball in the right areas and got the job done, which was the main thing."

'Worked out well'

Smith was named the Player of the Match thanks to his unbeaten 165, which, along with Starc's 84, helped Australia take a 181-run lead. The skipper said he batted longer than expected on Day Five, thanks to Starc's 91-ball innings that included seven sixes.

"It's been a pretty good day. At the start of the day, we spoke about batting for the first 40 minutes and seeing how things went and we didn't lose any wickets so we could put the foot down," Smith said. "I thought Starcy played particularly well to get his 80-odd and clear the fence several times. I think he broke the record for the MCG, hitting seven sixes. That really set us up. To get 180, and give us an opportunity to bowl and get the ball reversing and things like that. It worked out really well."

Australia named its squad for the third Test shortly after the victory, with all-rounder Ashton Agar and spinner Steve O'Keefe coming in for Chadd Sayers and the out-of-form Nic Maddinson.

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