Day 3: Australia Eight Wickets Away To Clinch The Pink Ball Test Against Pakistan At Gabba
As the wickets installed over turf read ‘Can’ with a logo of penguin engraved on it! Which more likely seems a critical question for Pakistan batting order – Can they put a fight back against rejuvenated Aussie bowlers, who had a merry time with pink ball so far, session after another?
At stumps on day three of the day-night first Test at Gabba, Pakistan scored 70 for 2 in 33 overs with Azhar Ali, who looked very positive at one end, is batting on 41 off 104 balls and Younis Khan faced 19 deliveries without scoring a run. Nevertheless, it was the better performance with the bat than the previous inning yesterday where Pakistan batsman looked like a rabbit caught in a headlight.
Pakistan still requires another 420 runs to win which looks a daunting task with eight wickets in hand and Australia has full six sessions to go up 1-0 in the three-match Test series.
With a cautious start, Pakistan batters face a tough task to see off a tricky session under lights at Gabba as they have lost two wickets while chasing the mammoth target of 490.
Just 26 minutes before the end of day three, when Pakistan was looking to rebuild, Nathan Lyon picked Babar Azam while pitching the ball in rough asking too many questions to the young batsman.
Babar, who did not found it easy to face Lyon, was caught by Smith on 14 off 36 balls.
Sami Aslam (15 off 39 balls) nicked a rising delivery off Mitchell Starc straight into the bucket like hands of Matt Renshaw, who looked overjoyed after taking the catch.
Mitchell Starc and off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked wicket apiece. Hazlewood bowled exceptionally well. His figures read as 11 overs 8 maidens while giving away just 5 runs.
Earlier, Steve Smith led-side Australia declared second innings at 202 for five during the dinner break on day three after setting the formidable total for visiting Pakistan.
Steven Smith didn’t enforce the follow-on after Pakistan was bundled out on 142 as the tourists added 45 runs to their overnight score of 97 for eight. The hosts took a solid first-innings lead of 287.
The declaration came when Peter Handscomb was unbeaten on 35 off 26 deliveries and wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade on 1 run.
At one stage, Australia were 24 for 2 when David Warner (12 off 8 balls) felt cheaply followed by Matt Renshaw (6 off 15 balls) in the second inning.
After failing in the first innings, Usman Khawaja blasted 74 off 109 balls, adding 53-run vital partnership for the third wicket alongside captain Steven Smith (63 off 70 balls), who hit his 19th Test fifty.
The youngster Nic Maddison who’s under the firing line has failed in both the innings off the pink ball affair. Maddison scored one off 8 balls in first innings and 4 off three in second.
Rahat Ali picked two wickets followed by Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and leg-spinner shared wicket apiece.
In the eighth over of the third day afternoon, Mohammad Amir was sent back to pavilion by Jackson Bird after caught-behind appeal. The HotSpot revealed the faint edge that was missed by on field umpire Richard Illingworth.
Sarfraz Ahmad and Mohammad Amir added 54 runs for the 9th wicket and that was Pakistan’s best for the first innings before Amir was shown his way by third umpire S. Ravi.
Rahat Ali was the last man out after a direct hit from David Warner at mid-off region. S. Ravi was again in business and found Ali short of his crease.
Sarfraz, who steadied the sinking ship of Pakistan, remained unbeaten on 59. The wicket-keeper batsman was put down by Nic Maddison when he was on 51.
The highest run chase at Gabba is 236 for seven in the fourth inning that was achieved by Australia in 1951 against the West Indies.
Pakistan 70 for 2 in 33 Overs (need 420 runs).
Australia 202 for 5 in 39 Overs (Declare)
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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