Recent Match Report – Australia vs Pakistan 3rd Test 2021/22


DRS overturned the Azhar not-out decision, as Imam-ul-Haq ended the session unbeaten on 66

Lunch Pakistan 268 and 136 for 2 (Imam 66*, Shafique 27, Green 1-10) need another 215 runs to beat Australia 391 and 227 for 3 dec

Azhar Ali was controversially dismissed before lunch on day five but it failed to derail Pakistan’s daunting chase of 351, with Australia requiring another eight wickets to win the series-deciding third Test.
With the historic three-Test series on the line, Pakistan lost two wickets in an attritional opening session, including the key wicket of Azhar after an overturned review, as replays detected a faint edge from an attempted sweep off Nathan Lyon that lobbed to Steven Smith at first slip.

Having had a torrid time in the slips, Smith was relieved to take an easy chance and looked absolutely convinced that he heard a sound, but UltraEdge showed only the slightest deviation in the wave. Azhar’s first on his home ground ended in major disappointment as he trudged off angrily, with Pakistan’s task of batting through a minimum of a combined 121 overs made more difficult.

However, Pakistan recovered from the setback to reach lunch at 136 for 2, with Imam-ul-Haq unbeaten on 66 and captain Babar Azam not out on 19. In a prolonged morning session due to Friday prayers, Pakistan scored 63 runs in 33 overs, requiring a further 215 for victory as the series goes down to the wire after draws in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

The visiting captain Pat Cummins’ sporting declaration late on day four dangled a carrot to Pakistan, who defied the odds during their remarkable chase of 506 in Karachi when they finished at 443 for 7 from 171.4 overs. But this looms as another formidable challenge on a slow Lahore surface marked by low bounce, with reverse swing and occasional sharp turn evident. If successful, it would be Pakistan’s second-highest Test run chase in their history, and the highest by any team in Lahore.

Having survived 27 overs before stumps on day four, an increasingly upbeat Pakistan started at 73 for 0, another 283 runs away from victory. They aimed to make Australia sweat but received an early setback when in-form Abdullah Shafique fell for 27.
Cameron Green shared the duties at the start and it proved a masterstroke from Cummins, as the towering allrounder was rewarded for a probing spell of reverse swing with the wicket of Shafique, who hung his bat out and edged a good length delivery to fail to add to his overnight total.

As he showed during the Ashes, Green continued his knack of breaking a partnership but it was Lyon who threatened afterwards. Having struggled recently to bowl Australia to victory on the final day, Lyon – with a point to prove – started well by targeting rough patches, occasionally making deliveries spit off the wicket.

Lyon might have added responsibility too, with legspinner Mitchell Swepson – in just his second Test – proving ineffective, although he conjured some rampant turn just before lunch.

Meanwhile, Cummins and Mitchell Starc, who has ran through Pakistan twice in the series but remains wicketless in the second innings in
Lahore, are expected have a say throughout the day after being sparingly used in the first session, with reverse swing aleady into play.

After giving Pakistan a sniff, there remains pressure on Cummins, who is hoping to lead Australia to their first overseas Test series victory since 2016 and end an 11-year drought in Asia.

His gamble has kept the prospect of a result in the historic series, and avoid this being the first three-Test series to end in a 0-0 deadlock since New Zealand hosted England in 2013. Australia last featured in a nil-all draw in a rain-affected three-Test series against New Zealand at home in late 2001.

But on the 30th anniversary of Pakistan winning the World Cup, arguably their greatest cricket feat, the hosts have inspiration of their own as they seek to defy Australia’s desperate attack.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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