Australia faced Pakistan for the third test at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground. The mighty Aussies were looking for another whitewash after winning the first two tests of the series. On the other hand, the boys from the sub-continent were still looking for their first test win after 1995-96. The match is the last for the legendary Aussie batter David Warner, who will retire at his home ground after an illustrious career wearing baggy green.
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.
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.
- David Warner 2. Usman Khawaja 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 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
Shan Masood chose to bat first as he wanted to put some runs on the board to challenge the Australians. However, the Aussies kept it short from the beginning and the wickets kept tumbling. The pace and bounce were too much to handle for the Pakistani batsmen. The top order could not get out of their shells and gave their wickets away easily. However, Shan Masood saw the ball closely and played his shots accordingly. The newly appointed Pakistani skipper was especially fluent while playing the ball on the backfoot. Muhammad Rizwan came in at number 6 and initiated a counter punch to put the Australian bowlers on the back foot.
Despite starting off in a bright manner, the Australian bowlers lost their way during the middle overs. Nathan Lyon was guilty of bowling a lot of wayward deliveries in his spell. Josh Hazlewood also had a bad day with the cricket ball in hand. Patrick Cummins however was doing his usual bit, taking his 5th fifer in a row. The setting up and dismissal of Muhammad Rizwan was a testament to the man’s bowling skill and cricket acumen. He kept the fine leg a bit wider than usual and bowled short to Rizwan. The wicketkeeper batsman was tempted and fell straight to the trap.
Aamer Jamal have had a wonderful first tour with the ball. The 27 year old bowler from Mianwali displayed commendable batting skills on the first day. He was timing the ball perfectly like a seasoned test batter, sending the ball to the boundaries regularly. He also used his feet impressively against a legendary spinner like Nathan Lyon. Jamal’s 82 made sure Pakistan would cross the 300 mark which seemed unattainable after their shaky start. It was a spirited fightback from the Asians who showed plenty of resilience in the last game as well.
Abdullah Shafique has been vehemently criticised for his dropped catches during the build-up to this game. It went from bad to worse for the Pakistani opener who prodded a wide one to the slip cordon. Saim Ayub soon followed with a catch to the wicketkeeper. Both openers were back in the hut after failing to score from two balls each. Then Shan Masood came to launch a counterattack. Babar Azam is having a tour to forget after failing to make an impact with the bat in hand. But the former captain looked to be in prime touch on the day. He played the delectable cover drive three times against Josh Hazlewood. But Patrick Cummins jagged one back in and Babar was trapped in front. Pakistan was reduced to 47 for 4 after Saud Shakeel came and went back to the pavilion.
Muhammad Rizwan has impressed with the bat after coming back to the side in Melbourne. The wicketkeeper batsman played a heroic innings during the last World Cup against Sri Lanka. He targeted the backward point region and started hitting boundaries for fun. Shan Masood however, failed to provide him with support. After surviving a scare off a no ball, Mitchell Marsh eventually took his man caught at slip.
Agha Salman joined Rizwan in the middle and started to bat positively. The pair of right handers added 96 from 101 balls to give the scorecard a commendable look. Muhammad Rizwan seemed destined to become the first centurion off the tour, but a bouncer from Cummins came to his undoing. Agha Salman was timing the ball perfectly, especially on the off side. He completed his fifty and then got out immediately. A flurry of wickets made life easy for Cummins and co. and the Pakistan innings looked to be finishing well below par.
Aamer Jamal had other ideas. The right hander hit nine boundaries and 4 sixes in his innings which exceeded all expectations. Jamal added 86 for the last wicket. Jamal’s timing was exquisite as he played the ball impressively on the front foot. He found the perfect partner in Mir Hamza who survived 43 balls for his seven runs. This partnership added 86 runs for the last wicket which took Pakistan over 300. Jamal continued his onslaught despite Patrick Cummins put five men out on the boundary line.
David Warner came to bat amid a huge roar from the crowd. The iconic left hander was playing the last test of his career at his home ground and the anticipation was palpable. Warner hit the first ball of the innings to the boundary, much to the delight of his home crowd. Australia played only an over before the umpires decided to call it a day. David Warner likes to torment the Pakistani bowlers like he did back at the World Cup with a blistering century against the same opponents.
Patrick Cummings just had a year of his dreams. He won the WTC and the ODI World Cup as a captain and his batting against Afghanistan won hearts across the globe. The 30 year old Australian captain produced a match winning 10 wicket haul in the last test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. He followed that impressive feat with another five wicket haul in this game. The right pacer was hitting the right lengths, bowling on the corridor of uncertainty. He did not give the batsmen a momentary respite as it was not possible for them to score easily off him. Cummins ended the day with five wickets for 62 runs in his 18 overs.
Mitchell Starc found his rhythm early on with bowling at a rapid pace. He managed to find a swing on a rather sedate surface and dismantled the Pakistani top order. Josh Hazlewood had a day to forget with 65 runs conceded from 15 runs. He produced a moment of magic nonetheless, with an inswinging delivery that dismissed Babar Azam.
Nathan Lyon has enjoyed better days at the SCG. But the most recent member of the five hundred club had a tough day with the ball. There was little purchase offered by the wicket and the talismanic right arm off spinner failed to make his mark. Aamer Jamal came down the track and the ball started disappearing down the midwicket region. Mitchell Marsh picked up the wicket of Shan Masood after initially dismissing him off a no ball. Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head rolled their wrists in an attempt to knock over the final wicket partnership.
The Australian fielding was up to the usual high standards. Steve Smith took a couple of good catches at slip. Josh Hazlewood caught Rizwan impressively on the boundary. Agha Salman and Sajid Khan both fell to the trap of Aussie captain Pat Cummins. The ground fielding was good throughout the day with the Aussie fielders showing impressive commitment to save every run possible. Mitch Marsh had a tough chance at the slip. Travis Head could only manage to get a fingertip to the ball when Mir Hamza gloved on from close range.
However, Nathan Lyon missed a catch that could turn out to be a deciding factor in this game. Aamer Jamal gave the ball a good whack and Nathan Lyon threw a hand at it. It did not stick, and Aamer survived to lift the score past 300.
Muhammad Rizwan was the highest run scorer from the first day with 88. The stroke-filled innings make his non-inclusion of him in the first test more baffling. But the star of the day was undoubtedly Aamer Jamal. Jamal’s counter attacking 82 would go down as one of the best innings played by a Pakistani on Aussie soil. It was the third highest individual score made by a Pakistani batting at no. 9. Agha Salman also contributed with a well made 53. But the soft dismissal is sure to frustrate him.
Pat Cummins was the hero of the hour once again. The Australian captain picked up his third five wicket haul in a row. His impeccable line and length made life hard for the Pakistani batters throughout the day. Mitchell Starc started the day in a bright manner by picking up two wickets. Hazlewood, Marsh and Lyon picked a wicket apiece.
The turning point of the day came when Mir Hamza came out as the last batsman of Pakistan, who were languishing at 227 for 9 at that point and likely to be dismissed under 250. Aamer Jamal changed the equation with the bat in his hand. His 82 runs came to the rescue. Some of his shots are surely going to put the top order batsman to shame. Mir Hamza helped him from the other end by fending off deliveries. Hamza survived 43 deliveries and even managed to score a boundary courtesy of an edge. Aamer Jamal hit the ball straight and his timing was commendable throughout the innings. If Pakistan can bowl well then this innings might prove to be a turning point in the larger context of the game.
Australia were 6/0 and 307 runs behind at stumps of Pakistan who accumulated 313 runs in their first innings.
|Pakistan First Innings: 313/10 (77.1 overs)
|Australia 1st Innings: 6/0
|Muhammad Rizwan 88 (103)
|David Warner 6* (6)
|Aamer Jamal 82 (97)
|Usman Khawaja 0* (0)
|Pat Cummins 5/61
|Sajid Khan 0/6
|Mitchell Starc 2/75
Pakistan started their day off in a disastrous fashion but managed to salvage their innings thanks to the efforts of Rizwan and Jamal. Agha Salmam also chipped in with a well made half century. Patrick Cummins led his side well from the front with a five wicket haul. The 313 runs made in the first innings can make things interesting once the Pakistani bowlers hit the right length. It is a tantalising prospect to see what David Warner can do in his last ever test match. Shan Masood would want to take early wickets as the Pakistanis look to grab a consolation victory in the last test of the tour.