20/05/2024

Australian captain Pat Cummins celebrates one of his five wickets in Lahore. (Image: cricket.com.au)

A slow starting Day 3 has ended in fireworks for the Australians who are firmly in the driver's seat after a brilliant spell of reverse-swing bowling in Lahore.

A slow starting Day 3 has ended in fireworks for the Australians who are firmly in the driver’s seat after a brilliant spell of reverse-swing bowling in Lahore.

Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali looked to have Pakistan in a good position early as the pair batted through the first session before a Pat Cummins caught and bowled flipped the momentum of the day.

Here are the moments that mattered on the third day in Lahore:

Shafique and Azhar get to work

After sticking together during the final moments of Day 2, Shafique and Azhar picked up where they left off at the beginning of Day 3.

Within the first session, Shafique notched up his 50 – his second of the series. 20 minutes later, his strike partner Azhar reached 50 too, doing so in 102 balls. A special one for the 37-year-old, raising his bat for the first time on his home ground.

With 30 minutes left in the first session, Shafique and Azhar ticked over the 100 run partnership, putting their stamp on the Pakistani’s innings and cruising towards the lunch break in control.

In the final over of the first session, Swepson almost made the breakthrough.

His extra-length delivery to Azhar caught the edge of the bat. However, Azhar was dropped by Smith at first slip, whose struggles in the cordon this series continued.

Successful Australian review claims the breakthrough

The second session began with the wicket of Shafique when his innings was brought to an end on 81.

Nathan Lyon bowled a quicker delivery which Shafique, as he had done so brilliantly all series leaned forward to defend back down the pitch. instead, the ball went past his outside edge and into the gloves of Alex Carey.

At first, Carey tried to whip the bails off and catch him out of his ground before seeing Lyon go up and join in appealing. Umpire Aleem Dar gave it ‘not out’ on field which was immediately sent upstairs by Pat Cummins and the Australians.

After some struggles with the DRS earlier in the day, ultra edge showed a clear spike when the ball passed Shafique’s bat and he was given out. The dismissal was much sought after for Lyon and Australia and a significant one for wicketkeeper Alex Carey too, who got his first dismissal standing up to the stumps in his Test career.

Babar endeavoured to bring Pakistan closer

Babar Azam was welcomed to the crease as he always does with a raucous reception from the crowd and he got to work.

The Aussies got an early chance of claiming Babar’s wicket, but Smith yet again, found himself dropping his fifth chance of the series – with Babar on 25.

Babar continued his merry way, hurrying towards another 50, while his partner Azhar climbed towards another test ton. In doing so, Azhar passed 7000 test runs, an achievement only surpassed by four other Pakistanis.

Moments before the Tea Break, captain Pat Cummins delivered the blow the Australians were searching for with a stunning solo effort that dismissed Azhar on 78.

Not even through his follow-through, Cummins reflexes were in full swing as he reach for a ball that was smashed back at him that stuck in his hands. He threw the ball up quickly in celebration as his teammates came from everywhere to celebrate.

Babar kept the chase alive. Babar continued to chase the Aussie’s total, reaching another 50 in the quick succession of 91 deliveries.

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Australian pacemen deliver final session reverse-swing masterclass

The final session of the day deservedly belonged to the Aussies. Led by their pace spearheads of Cummins and Starc taking the remaining seven wickets the Pakistan order in swift fashion.

Fawad Alam was first to go, Starc’s in-swinging yorker cleaned up his off-stump, starting the collapse of Pakistani batters with the score sitting 4/248.

Mohammad Rizwan’s off-stump was also in danger of Starc’s in-swingers. Departing for a sole one run, Starc suddenly had two wickets in two overs.

Sajid Khan was next to go, this time bowled by Cummins for 6. His perfect-length delivery enticed Khan to play a shot, which was in turn chopped onto his wicket.

Two overs later, Cummins had his fourth. His perfect length from around the wicket caught Nauman Ali off guard for LBW. The dismissal was reviewed, however, but was upheld with ball-tracking showing three reds.

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Nauman Ali’s unsuccessful review for LBW, Cummins claims his fourth of the innings. (Image: cricket.com.au)

Within the same over, Cummins completed his five-wicket haul. After only facing four balls, and not making any contribution to the total, Hasan Ali was sent packing when Cummins found his outside edge. Some hasty movement from Smith in the slips cordon completed the dismissal.

Starc completed the job the next over, acquiring his third and fourth wicket and Pakistan’s ninth and tenth wicket respectively.

The first was the wicket of Babar, who was given out LBW on 67. Babar reviewed in hope and was close to a reprive with ball-tracking showing the ball was sliding down the leg side but it remained “umpire’s call” with the ball kissing the leg stump. The look on Starc’s face when the decision was held on the big screen even indicated how lucky he was to claim the wicket of the Pakistani captain.

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Babar reviews to save his wicket and is narrowly unlucky. (Image: cricket.com.au)

Three balls later, Starc put an end to the innings, dismissing Naseem Shah for a duck – the third of the innings. Starc clean bowled Shah with one of his vicious yorkers, ending the Pakistan first innings for a total of 268.

The final seven wickets of the Pakistan innings fell for 20 runs. A collapse of the highest order, credited to Cummins and Starc.

Khawaja and Warner start steady to see out the day

After bowling Pakistan out for 268, Australia, with a lead of 123 runs had to negotiate the remaining three overs of the day.

At stumps, the Aussies are 0/11, following three overs of their second innings, Khawaja on 7* and Warner on 4*. Their current lead of 134 will only be expected to extend on Day 4.

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