MELBOURNE – The first day of Boxing Day Test between Pakistan and Australia was restricted to only 50.1 overs as an expected rain halted the match ten minutes before tea. Pakistan were 142-4 at the end of the day. Watch full highlights of Day 1 game.
Opener Azhar Ali was 66 not out and Brisbane Test hero Asad Shafiq at 4 not out.
After winning the toss and electing to bat the visitors made a cautious start, but only Azhar Ali was able to build an innings of substance.
Bird (2-53) struck twice in quick succession just before the rain set in to give the home team the ascendancy, removing experienced duo Younis Khan (21) and Misbah-ul-Haq (11).
Watch full highlights of Day 1 game.
Khan, who had been given out LBW on three but successfully appealed the decision when replays showed the ball was missing leg stump, just looked to be finding touch when Bird snuck a ball between his bat and pad to bowl him.
Misbah got an inside edge onto his pad and short leg Nic Maddinson dived forward to take a fine catch, which was confirmed by the third umpire.
Earlier Babar Azam (23) edged the last ball of the first session from Josh Hazlewood (1-15) to Australian captain Steven Smith in slips.
Smith, who had some rare catching errors in the first Test, went low to his right and just managed to cling onto the sharp chance to reward some excellent bowling from Hazlewood.
Pakistan started batting on a dry pitch, and their openers were determined to see off any early movement from the Australian fast bowlers.
Although the pair played and missed on occasions, Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali were able to negotiate the seamers, and it wasn´t until the introduction of spinner Nathan Lyon that the home side tasted success.
With his third ball, the spinner had Aslam caught at first slip by Smith.
Aslam had batted with great caution for nine runs from 41 balls, but was surprised by some extra bounce and the ball caught the glove.
Azhar Ali survived a confident LBW appeal from the bowing of Hazlewood when he was on six, and was comprehensively beaten by the next ball, but steadied to anchor the innings.
Australia kept the same 11 which won the first Test of the three-match series in Brisbane by 39 runs, keeping faith in struggling rookie batsman Maddinson.
Pakistan made one change, replacing seamer Rahat Ali with Sohail Khan.
‘Relaxed and confident’
“The guys are relaxed and confident that they can perform well here,” Misbah told reporters at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
“You can see that everybody´s spending a lot of time in the nets, working on the basics.”
“They won´t leave anything behind before we get into the second test match. That´s a good sign that we are confident but at the same time, we´re focused and determined.”
“I´m comfortable with the position we´re in at the moment as individuals and as a team.”