Josh Hazlewood doesn’t possess the charm of Pat Cummins. He can’t bowl at a express pace like Mitchell Starc. The right arm pace bowler is incapable of conjuring magic like Nathan Lyon. But Hazlewood is special in his simplicity – bowling consistently on a tight line. Late in the day the Pakistani batters simply had no answer. Josh Hazlewood has picked up 4 wickets to dispel any doubt about the eventual outcome of this match. Apart from any accident, David Warner is going to end his test career with a win in his own backyard.
Pakistan made a big call by keeping Shaheen Shah Afridi out of their squad for the final test. The left arm pacer has been struggling to hit the right spots during the previous two tests and the team management opted for another spinner in place of Afridi. Right arm off spinner Sajid Khan came into the team to replace Afridi. It was a memorable day for Saim Ayub who made his test debut at the top of the order. Imam-Ul-Haque gave way to one of the brightest talents from Pakistan. Agha Salman keeps his place as another spin operator.
Australia fielded an unchanged XI for the third time in this series. That meant Cameron Green would have to wait patiently for his chance. This is the last time David Warner will start the innings for Australia in white ball cricket. The fabulous quartet of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Patrick Cummins and Nathan Lyon play their 28th day together – a record that is being rewritten with every match. It was the 112th and last test of David Warner’s illustrious test career.
- David Warner 2. Usman Khawaja 3. Marnus Labuschagne 4. Steve Smith 5. Travis Head 6. Mitchell Marsh 7. Alex Carey (WK) 8. Patrick Cummins (Cap.) 9. Mitchell Starc 10. Nathan Lyon 11. Josh Hazlewood
- Abdullah Shafique 2. Saim Ayub 3. Shan Masood (Cap.) 4. Babar Azam 5 Saud Shakeel 6. Muhammad Rizwan (WK) 7. Agha Salman 8. Sajid Khan 9. Aamer Jamal 10. Hasan Ali 11. Mir Hamza
Pakistan captain Shan Masood won the coin toss and elected to bat first at SCG. This ground has been known for favouring the spin bowlers more than any other Australian ground. Teams that chose to bat first have won 47 times at the SCG while the teams that fielded first won on 41 occasions. Pakistan added an extra spinner to their side to take full advantage of the conditions. The second day pitch looked better compared with the first day. The ball was coming to the bat nicely with some occasional anomalies. There was a hint of turn for Salman Ali Agha who bowled brilliantly by sticking to a tight line. The bounce seemed to be a lot tamer than the previous day.
Pakistan hasn’t been able to win a Test match in the land down under since 1995-1996. If they lose this test match, the record would read 17-0. They had a wonderful chance to scrape this deplorable record at the previous test at MCG, but the failure to seize the opportunities cost them another test match. Out of the last five tests at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground, four of them ended in a draw with Australia winning the other one. The last time Australia was defeated in a SCG was back in 2011. They lost that match by a huge margin of an innings and 83 runs,failing to retain the Ashes in the process.
|The final game of the series was played at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground in New South Wales in Australia.
|The game started on 3rd January, 2023, at 10:30 p.m. local time.
Captaincy & Tactics
Aamer Jamal has shown his capability with the bat in the first innings with a scintillating 82. But this time he was back with his usual duty as a pace bowler. Jamal secured a six-wicket haul in his first match. He repeated the feat on the third test as well. Jamal kept bowling at the right channel and finished with the figures of 6 for 69. He regularly bowled on the off stump line and tormented the batsmen with swing. The Australian batsmen could not resist the urge to drive and ended up losing their wickets in the process. Mitchell Marsh is enjoying the summer of his life. He posted another fifty to take Australia out of a tight spot. Alex Carey also played an important innings of 38 runs to send the Australian total close to the Pakistan one.
Josh Hazlewood was relatively quiet in the first innings. He got only one wicket and cost 65 runs as Jamal was sending his deliveries regularly towards the boundary rope. But the New South Wales showed his class when his captain needed it most. Hazlewood has been known for his consistent line and length throughout his career and during a late surge, he showed how dangerous he can be with a slighly older ball. Hazlewood picked up 4 wickets including three from the same over. The Pakistani batsmen was guilty of playing some wayward shots, but Hazlewood’s brilliance should not be undermined. This performance set up a brilliant 4th day of Test cricket, the last day of David Warner’s career.
Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) witnessed an exhilarating day of cricket as the final NRMA Insurance Test between Pakistan and Australia reached a thrilling climax. In an unexpected turn of events, Pakistan managed to snatch a slender 14-run lead in the first innings, thanks to an outstanding bowling performance by rookie allrounder Aamir Jamal. However, Pakistan’s joy was short-lived as they ended day three in disarray at 7-68, with an overall lead of 82.
The chaotic last session of play highlighted the challenges of batting on a deteriorating day four track. Pakistan’s hopes of securing a defendable lead rested on the shoulders of Mohammad Rizwan, their first innings top scorer, who remained unbeaten on 6. The atmosphere at the SCG was reminiscent of Steve Waugh’s iconic last-ball Ashes hundred 21 years ago, creating an electrifying buzz among the spectators.
The similarities between Pakistan’s first innings and their second innings collapse were evident. Just as in their previous innings, they lost two early wickets—opener Abdullah Shafique and captain Shan Masood—within eight balls, leaving them reeling at 2-1. However, debutant Saim Ayub displayed nerves of steel and launched a counter-attack, including a breathtaking uppercut for six off Mitchell Starc. But Australia’s resurgence continued, and Saim’s impressive innings came to an end when he was trapped LBW by Nathan Lyon, leaving Pakistan in a precarious position at the close of play.
Babar Azam, Pakistan’s former captain and prolific batsman, also fell victim to Australia’s relentless pressure, caught behind off the partnership-breaking skills of Travis Head. The collapse was further compounded by Hazlewood’s outstanding spell, where he scalped three wickets—Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan, and Salman Ali Agha—in a solitary maiden over. The SCG erupted with euphoric delirium, drawing comparisons to the shortest Test match in history between South Africa and India in Cape Town.
Australia was set to secure the first-innings lead. Mitchell Marsh and Alex Carey’s resilient partnership for the sixth wicket was the main reason behind it. Amid Pakistan’s disciplined bowling, Marsh and Carey set the stage for a potential lead. Eventually the game took a dramatic turn when Carey was dismissed on the last delivery before tea, triggering a collapse of 5-10 for the Australian team. Once again, Aamir showcased his brilliance. He tormented Australia’s batsmen and claimed five wickets to dismantle their innings. Aamer Jamal was the chief agent of destruction once again, claiming six wickets. Jamal has been exceptional on his first tour in challenging conditions. The right arm pacer is handling the responsibility to lead the pace attack of his nation during the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi. Agha Salman has bowled well since his inclusion in the squad as a specialist bowler. Sajid Khan dismissed Alex Carey with a wonderful delivery. Hasan Ali has not been able to fulfill his duty of a strike bowler and he remained wicketless through the entirety of the second innings.
The momentum swung back and forth throughout the day. This lingering drama displayed the delicate balance between success and failure in the high-stakes game of Test cricket. Marsh’s dismissal was the turning point for Australia. It was a testament to Pakistan’s bowlers and fielders’ ability to dismantle Australia’s batting lineup. However, it was Josh Hazlewood who made the day of his own through a magnificent bowling performance. He picked up 4 wickets for just 9 runs to give Australia an edge over their Asian counterparts. The towering bowler needs one wicket to reach 250 Test wickets.
Pakistan has had their moments on this tour but let them slip away by committing the same mistakes over and over again. Mitchell Marsh stood tall for the hosts at a crucial stage of the match, but the Western Australian was gifted a life by Saim Ayub. Aamer Jamal could have removed the burly all-rounder well before 40 but Ayub dropped a catch at mid off. Mitchell Marsh eventually went on to score a half century that took the Australian close to the Pakistani one. The other catching opportunities were properly taken by the Pakistanis.
Australia’s fielding performance was top notch as all the fielders complemented the bowlers. David Warner was called into action twice, he didn’t make any mistakes. Steve Smith took a sharp catch to dismiss Saud Shakeel. After so much ebb and flow, it was the fielding performance that was the chief decider between the two sides.
Aamir Jamal was the pick of the Pakistani bowler’s with a magnificent six-wicket haul for the second time in three games. The 27 year old pace bowler from Mianwali was rewarded for his consistent line and length. Agha Salman picked up 2 wickets for 43 runs in his 20 overs. Mir Hamza and Sajid Khan claimed a scalp each. It was a frustrating day for Hasan Ali who ended his bowling spell with nothing to show for it. Mitchell scored his fifty in a row to lead a counterchage. Alex Carey was his chief companion. The southpaw wicketkeeper-batsman scored 38 off 58.
After failing in the first innings, Saim Ayub showed his immense talent by playing intrepid shots against a formidable Aussie bowling line-up. He left hander scored 33 runs hitting three fours and an impressive six of Mitchell Starc. Babar Azam started well but got out in a frustrating manner from a Travis Head delivery. He has been failing consistently against the Australians since 90 run innings during a World Cup warm-up game. The former captain scored 23 runs off 52 balls. Muhammad Rizwan and Aamer Jamal are at the crease, looking to add crucial runs to put a score before the Australians to chase down. Josh Hazlewood was the pick of Australian bowlers by picking up 4 wickets in a late flurry. Mitchell Starc sent Abdullah Shafique for a pair after hitting the timber with a magical in-swinging delivery.
The match was evenly poised after 24 overs of Pakistan’s 2nd innings. The Asians were 67 for 4 with Muhammad Rizwan and Saud Shakeel batting out in the middle. The lead was 81 runs. A target more than 150 runs on a tricky wicket would be an arduous job for a tricky wicket. But Pakistan’s hope of setting up a big target was dashed in a Josh Hazlewood over. He picked up Saud Shakeel who tried to poke at a short ball outside the off stump. Steve Smith at second slip took a sharp catch to send the left hander back to the pavilion.
Pakistan captain Shan Masood sent Sajid Khan next to protect his remaining batters. But the plan lasted only for a couple of balls as Hazlewood dismantled Khan’s off stump with a crafty inswinger. Salman Ali Agha was the next man in. He could only manage to survive two balls. On the fifth ball of the over, Salman needlessly wave his bat at a wide delivery. The ball found the outside edge and this time David Warner was the man who completed the grab. With a blink of an eye, Pakistan went 67 for 4 to 67 for 7 in a space of five deliveries. This almost sealed the fate of the match, a Pakistani fightback is highly unlikely from this predicament.
Pakistan are 68/7 at the end of day’s play. They are 82 runs ahead of their opponents with 3 wickets in hand.
|Pakistan First Innings: 313/10 (77.1 overs)
|Australia 1st Innings: 116/2 (47 overs)
|Pakistan Second Innings: 68/7 (26 overs)
|Muhammad Rizwan 88 (103)
|Usman Khawaja 47 (143)
|Saim Ayub 33 (53)
|Aamer Jamal 82 (97)
|David Warner 34 (68)
|Babar Azam 23 (52)
|Pat Cummins 5/61
|Agha Salma 1/25
|Josh Hazlewood 4/9
|Mitchell Starc 2/75
|Aamer Jamal 1/29
|Mitchell Starc 1/15
It was a tale of two bowlers. Jamal picked up six wickets, Hazlewood took four of them. But the collective failure of his teammates meant Aamer Jamal would end up on the losing side despite his crucial contributions with bat and ball. Australia would look to clean up Pakistan’s tail as soon as possible to set the stage for David Warner’s last dance. Josh Hazlewood needs just one wicket to reach the 250 mark in test cricket. There will be emotions running high at the SCG tomorrow as the Sydney natives look to bid farewell to one of their own.