19/04/2024

Mitchell Starc produced a quality spell of bowling in the second session in Karachi, claiming three key wickets and taking the game away from Pakistan. Image: cricket.com.au

After batting on to post a mammoth first innings score of 9/556, Australia produced an amazing session of cricket in Karachi to turn the match, and the series, their way.

After batting on to post a mammoth first innings score of 9/556, Australia produced an amazing session of cricket in Karachi to turn the match, and the series, their way.

Resuming at 8/505, Australia chose to bat on, and despite losing an early wicket, moved quickly to 556 before declaring 9 wickets down.

An amazing runout from debutant Mitchell Swepson got the ball rolling to finish the first session, and a master class from Mitchell Starc (three wickets in 6 overs) left Pakistan reeling at 7/100 at tea.

Another direct hit run out, this time from Marnus Labuschagne, followed by Swepson’s first and second Test wickets, saw Pakistan all out for 148. The Australians, despite the 408 run lead, decided not to enforce the follow-on, finishing on 1/81 at Stumps.

Here are the moments that mattered from Day 3 in Karachi:

Cummins bats on into the third day

Despite many experts questioning why a declaration did not come at some point in the last session on Day 2, captain Patrick Cummins chose to bat on.

With Mitchell Starc quickly dismissed on the second ball of the day, it may have been a short opening to the morning. However, Cummins and debutant Mitchell Swepson added 51 off nine overs before Cummins declared with the score 9/556.

Cummins in particular was super aggressive, scoring 34 off 26, and Swepson, in his first action in Test cricket, scored a handy 15 not out.

This moment may be one that we look back on and consider a masterstroke, as the Pakistan side was tormented with another 45 minutes in the field in the sapping Karachi heat, chasing leather around to wear themselves out that little bit more and were not given the time to mentally prepare for the batting.

After depositing Sajid Khan over the fence at deep-midwicket, Pat Cummins strode off the field and set himself and his team ready for a long afternoon in the field.

Swepson takes aim to bring about Shafique’s downfall

Given the form of the Pakistani openers in the First Test, it felt as though it was going to take something special to break up the opening pair.

An outside edge to backward point from Imam Ul Haq saw Abdullah Shafique take off from the non-striker’s end, only for Swepson, who had just completed his first over in Test cricket, to pick up and throw all in one motion and hit the stumps directly, leaving Shafique well short of his ground.

This bit of fielding magic was just what the Australians needed to get their innings with the ball up and going, with the partnership of just 26, the lowest opening stand of the series across both sides to date.

Starc’s two wickets in two balls heavily shifts momentum Australia’s way

After making their way to 2 for 56, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam were looking untroubled and were just starting to build their innings in pursuit of somewhere close to Australia’s 556. Enter Mitchell Starc.

A reverse-swinging ball to Azhar caught the outside edge and flew low to Cameron Green, who took an excellent catch.

The next delivery, a near unplayable inswinging yorker to Fawad Alam hit him straight in front and he was out plumb LBW for a first-ball duck.

The hattrick ball was nearly the best ball of the three, with Mohammad Rizwan playing and missing a peach of a delivery.

Nonetheless, a great over from Starc totally turned the game in Australia’s favour and left Pakistan in all sorts of trouble at 4/60.

More Cricket News:

Pakistan vs Australia: Second Test Day 2 – the moments that mattered

Pakistan vs Australia: Second Test Day 1 – the moments that mattered

The Inner Sanctum’s tribute to Shane Warne

Australia stamps authority with great finish to the second session

With Pakistan at 4/60 and the dangerous Babar Azam and Faheem Ashraf still at the crease, things could easily shift to steady the ship for Pakistan and make the back half of the day a long one for the Aussies.

Instead, great consistent effort from all the bowlers and fielders saw three more wickets fall (one each to Green, Starc, and Cummins) to leave Pakistan in all sorts of trouble at 7/100 at the Tea break.

Even though Azam was still at the crease, Australia went into the break well on top, needing only another three wickets to finish off the Pakistan innings with a huge lead.

Cameron Green gets in on the action, taking the prized wicket of Rizwan. Source: @FoxCricket – Twitter.

Swepson claims first Test wicket as Pakistan sink further

With wickets consistently falling, Pakistan captain Babar Azam held firm, making his way to 36, until Cummins again swung the crucial change and brought Swepson back on to bowl.

The move paid an immediate dividend, with a good length ball first up too much for Babar to resist. He mis-timed the loft down the ground, skying the delivery into the safe hands of Usman Khawaja.

The Australian’s jubilation for their teamate’s first test wicket was obvious – a well-deserved wicket after biding his time waiting in the wings for a couple of years.

Mitchell Swepson claims his first test wicket! Source: @FoxCricket – Twitter.

Swepson was in the wickets once again soon after taking the final wicket of the innings when he trapped Shaheen Shah Afridi in front and was given out LBW, bowling Pakistan out for 148 in just 53 overs.

Australia decides to bat again with 408 run lead

Despite the huge lead and Pakistan only batting 53 overs in their first innings, Cummins decided to not enforce the follow-on. Australia made their way to 1/81 off 17 overs, with the lead back out to 489 with two full days to go.

A dominant position and one the Aussies will be looking to capitalise on heading into Day 4.

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