Pace spearheads Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc took nine wickets between them and ran through Pakistan’s batting order, knocking out the hosts for 268 to give Australia a chance at a series win in the third and deciding Test in Lahore on Wednesday. At stumps on day three, Australia was 11-0 in their second innings with Usman Khawaja on seven and David Warner on four. Cummins finished 5-56 and Starc took 4-33 to cause an afternoon collapse that saw the home side lose their last six wickets from 40 balls with the addition of just 12 runs.
Australia was able to add only 11 to a commanding 123-run lead in the first innings, as the game ended seven overs early due to poor light.
The series is Australia’s first in Pakistan in 24 years with security fears standing in the way of possible tours, but the match was marred by flat fields.
The first two tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi ended in high scoring draws.
Pakistan looked good at thee 227-3, having lost only Abdullah Shafique (81) and Azhar Ali (78) in the first two sessions, but Starc and Cummins wreaked havoc with the second new ball.
Starc removed Fawad Alam (13) and Mohammad Rizwan (one), while Cummins threw Sajid Khan (six) as Pakistan collapsed to 264-6.
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam fought a solitary battle, scoring 67 runs, including seven borders and a six, but wickets tumbled around him and the last four fell with the addition of a single run.
Starc held Azam’s leg while Cummins polished the remaining tail.
The collapse allowed Australia to cover up their sloppiness in the field after Steve Smith dropped Azam when he hit at 20.
Cummins hoped a good day at work would help them win the test.
“I thought we were really good at bowling,” he said. “We gave ourselves a really good chance (to win) really before the game and hopefully we hit well and then take the last ten wickets.”
Pakistan batted at 90-1 on the third day and reached 159 at lunchtime without losing any more wickets, but in the second session, Shafique and Azhar returned to the locker room in a 44-run space.
Lyon lost form to Shafique in the fifth after lunch when he forced a lead over wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
Umpire Aleem Dar didn’t raise his hand, but a Cummins review proved successful.
Shafique, who scored a century in the first Test in Rawalpindi, hit 323 minutes and reached 11 limits.
Earlier in the day, Azhar hit a 7,000-run milestone in his 94th test.
Azhar said he was happy with his milestone, but not with the result of the match.
“I’m happy with the performance in Lahore but unfortunately I couldn’t go on and we collapsed after tea which affected our chances a bit but hopefully we can turn that around tomorrow,” he said.
The former captain, who put in a priceless 150 runs for the second wicket with Shafique, became Pakistan’s 54th batter and fifth to reach the milestone in Test cricket.
The other Pakistani batters to pass the 7,000 mark are Younis Khan (118 Tests, 10099 runs), Javed Miandad (104 Tests, 8832), Inzamam-ul-Haq (119 Tests, 8829) and Mohammad Yousuf (90 Tests, 7530).
Australia took the second new ball after 80 overs for a total of 191-2, and seven overs later Cummins kept a sharp chance to sack Azhar.
Azhar batted 337 minutes and hit seven limits and a six in his 35th Test half century.
Australia toiled hard in the morning session and could have gotten some reward in the last over before lunch when Azhar, at 62, stroked leg spinner Mitchell Swepson, but Smith failed to hold onto the sharp slip chance.
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