Australia has claimed the Benaud-Qadir Trophy on the final day of the three-Test series in dominant fashion, with Nathan Lyon spinning the tourist to their first Test series victory in Asia in a decade in Lahore.
Pakistan took the game to the 15th and final session of the series, but Australia’s bowlers, led by Lyon and captain Cummins ensured that Australia would return home from their historic tour victors, completing the 115 run victory.
Here are the moments that mattered on Day 5 in Lahore:
Australia set the tone as Green removes Shafique
Abdullah Shafique and Imam Ul-Haq resumed play following a steady start at the end of Day 4.
After he was getting some lateral movement toward the end of Day 4, Pat Cummins opened the bowling with allrounder Cameron Green to see if he could find the same movement with the 30 odd over ball. During the fourth over of the day, Green had struck for the Australians with the first wicket of the innings.
Green’s perfect line and length delivery drew a shot from Shafique that resulted in an outside edge, which Alex Carey swallowed behind the stumps.
Imam continues to stand tall
Despite seeing his partner fall at the other end, Imam trotted towards another 50, raising his bat to bookend his breakthrough series with the bat in Test cricket.
After twin centuries in Rawalpindi, Iman reached his 50in 122 deliveries. This being his fourth test 50 in 14 matches.
The finest of margins sees Azhar depart in DRS drama
As the first session drew toward a close, Azhar Ali was settling into his innings, his second on his home track at Lahore. But it was short-lived.
Lyon lured Azhar into a sweep shot, which was played onto his pads and caught by Steve Smith at slip. The Australians celebrated accordingly, however, the umpire thought otherwise.
Following a short discussion, Pat Cummins decided to review. Ultra-edge showed the smallest of spikes when the ball passed the bat before it ballooned up off Azhar’s padding. The spike was enough to overturn the standing umpire’s decision.
The successful review sent a reluctant Azhar to the pavilion. The Pakistanis went into lunch two down, but with their skipper Babar at the crease, there would be plenty of fight left to spare.
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To review, or not to review
Early into the second session, Pakistan faced yet another dilemma, as Lyon seemingly had his second wicket.
Imam, on 70, was given out after an inside edge onto his pads flicked directly to Marnus Labuschagne at bat-pad.
Charging toward his third ton of the series, Imam reviewed, however, was unsuccessful, as the inside edge was confirmed by ultra-edge and Imam was on his way.
Less than 10 overs later, new-to-the-crease Fawad Alam faced a similar predicament. This time, the cause was LBW, thanks to Cummins.
Cummins struck Fawad on the pads, and the finger was raised immediately. Hoping there may have been an edge before hitting his pads, Fawad sent the decision upstairs.
Once again, the Pakistanis were unsuccessful, reducing them to one review remaining with six wickets still in hand.
In Cummins’ following over, The skipper had broken through again when he struck Mohammad Rizwan on the foot and was given out for a duck.
Following a quick discussion with his partner and captain Babar at the other end, with one review remaining, Rizwan opted not to review the decision and departed the middle of Gaddafi Stadium without scoring. This time around, however, a review seemed more appropriate, as Rizwan was struck well outside the line of off stump, and there was a chance his bat was involved too.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, Rizwan took it on the chin. If he had reviewed, he would have remained at the crease. Instead, his departure left Babar the last recognised batter left for Pakistan as Australia smelt victory.
Lyon launches Australia to victory
Five-down heading into the final session, Pakistan hoped they could hold on for another emphatic draw, but up stepped Nathan Lyon.
If anyone was going to drag Pakistan to a draw, it would be Babar who reached another 50 for the series.
That idea was momentary however, as Lyon was quick to react and claim the all-important wicket.
A poking effort from Babar saw the ball catch the edge of his bat, landing in the hands of Smith at slip. Out for 55.
The remainder of the Pakistan order lasted merely 10 overs, as a rampant Australia tore through the tail once again.
Sajid Khan was dismissed four balls later for 21. An uppish delivery made it difficult for Khan to keep the ball down, as it was delivered to the doorstep of Usman Khawaja at short mid-wicket.
Hasan Ali was next to depart for 13, bowled by Lyon in a funny fashion. After finding the boundary twice during Lyon’s over, Hasan wanted more.
He miss-timed his slog sweep, which in turn ricocheted from his bat to his helmet, then glove, and onto his wicket.
David Warner made sure he knew about it too.
Two overs later, Lyon completed his five-wicket haul, claiming the wicket of Shaheen Afridi for 5.
Afridi – in ‘Hail Mary’ mode looked for the boundary, although, his sweetly timed shot was not timed sweet enough. A stroke of Mitch Swepson’s brilliance in the outfield ended his innings, with an audacious catch on the boundary.
Captain Cummins got the final laugh, when he bowled Naseem Shah for 1, ending the innings, and rewarding Australia with the series win.
The long-awaited tour ends in success
After their previous tour of Pakistan in 1998, Australia had returned and conquered. An attritional 1-0 series win and a special final day in the final Test reaffirming Australia as one of the world’s greatest challenges home and away in Test cricket.
Usman Khawaja was adjudged as the player of the series after a profound contribution with the bat. In a special series in his country of birth, Khawaja scored 496 runs including two centuries and averaging 165.33 across the three matches.
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