AUS vs PAK, 3rd Test: Australia Inch Ahead At SCG After 3 Late Strikes On Day 3

AUS vs PAK, 3rd Test: Australia Inch Ahead At SCG After 3 Late Strikes On Day 3

Josh Hazlewood's late strikes gave Australia the upper hand over Pakistan despite conceding a lead on day 3.

Aayushman VishwanathanUpdated: Friday, January 05, 2024, 01:53 PM IST
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Josh Hazlewood and David Warner celebrate. | (Credits: Twitter)

Pakistan might have thrown away a golden opportunity to win their first Test in Australia in 29 years after a collapse of epic proportions in the final hour of day 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). New-ball bowler Josh Hazlewood tightened the screws and put Australia in the driver's seat by plucking three wickets in the 2nd last over of the day.

After starring with the bat on day 1 by mustering 82 to take Pakistan past 300, Aamer Jamal also brought his A-game with the ball. However, it was Agha Salman and Mir Hamza, who broke the game open earlier by separating the pair of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Pakistan captain Shan Masood set the trap for Smith by setting up an umbrella field and the former felt right into it.

Agha Salman sent Marnus Labuschagne packing for 60 by tossing it onto the rough, followed by Jamal removing Travis Heads for another low score. Mitchell Marsh picked and chose when to attack and scored a calculated half-century. Just when it seemed like Marsh would rally Australia into a healthy lead along with Alex Carey, Sajid Khan struck at the stroke of tea to remove the latter.

With Australia only 24 behind, Jamal breathed fire to take the last 4 wickets for only 10 more runs.

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood leave Pakistan reeling:

Mitchell Starc delivered an absolute nut to Abdullah Shafique to send him back for a pair, followed by Masood fiddling with a harmless delivery from Josh Hazlewood outside off-stump to nick it to the keeper. Saim Ayub and Babar Azam played some enterprising cricket amid their 50-run stand.

Lyon took full leverage of a turning track and trapped Ayub, but the decisive moment was the scalp of Babar Azam, who edged one behind off Travis Head's bowling. Things quickly fell apart for the visitors from that point as Hazlewood returned to wreak havoc as Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan, and Agha all fell in the same over.

With Pakistan's lead only 81 and only 3 wickets left, it would take something special from Mohammad Rizwan to take the lead to a competitive score.

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