It was a day where rain played spoilsport. Australia started off brightly with the familiar pair of Khawaja and Warner worked in unison to add runs to the Australia total. But as they have done one many instances on this tour, Pakistan kept Australia within sights by picking up two quick wickets. Aamer Jamal and Agha Salman were the pick of the bowlers for the Asians. Steve Smith joined Marnus Labuschagne in the middle but then inclement weather stopped play. It did not resume and so, Warner’s walk towards the pavilion after getting dismissed was the highlight of a day where cricket took a backseat..
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. 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.
- 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 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.
|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
David Warner bid farewell to his cricket career with an innings of 34 in the test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground. However, rain and poor light played spoilsport, disrupting the rest of the second day’s play.
Warner, who was playing in his final test match, was caught by Babar Azam off Agha Salman’s bowling just before lunch. Later, bad light caused a halt in the middle session when Australia’s score was 116-2 in response to Pakistan’s 313. This decision was met with dissatisfaction from the crowd and criticism from former players. They thought the play could have progressed if Pakistan skipper Shan Masood had opted to bowl spin from both ends.
Despite a further delay of 40 minutes while 25,000 fans patiently waited, the rain started to pour, forcing the day to be officially washed out. Aamer Jamal 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.
The right hander 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. Patrick Cummins is one of our members in the best Test XI of 2023. He enjoyed a trophy laden 2023, the right arm pacer must be frustrated about the intervention of weather,
When play resumes on Friday, Marnus Labuschagne will continue his innings on 23, with Steve Smith on 6. Justin Langer, Australia’s former coach and test opener, expressed his frustration on Channel 7 television, citing the desire for perfect conditions and the best interest of the team. He also highlighted the importance of having test cricket played despite the prevailing circumstances, as the spectators had come to witness Warner’s farewell game.
Warner might still get an opportunity to bat in the fourth innings of the match. Earlier in his innings, he survived a near dismissal when dropped at slip on 20. He displayed his skill with an impressive square drive for four off Hasan Ali and cleverly guided another ball between slips and gully for another boundary. An edge off Aamer Jamal also found its way to the ropes.
Unfortunately, Warner’s time at the crease ended on 34. Facing a delivery from Salman that gripped and bounced, he edged the ball to Babar at first slip while being squared up on the crease. The 37 year old local boy managed to score four boundaries before his departure. His good mate Usman Khawaja also got four boundaries before edging one towards the slip cordon. The duo averages 48+ as the opening stand for the Australian Cricket Team, making them one of the most successful partnership in the history of the Aussies. It would be interesting to see how the management will refill the gaping hole left by Warner at the top of the order. According to most speculations, Cameron Green would be promoted to open the batting for Australia. There are also some other names floating around like Matt Renshaw, Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft among others.
As Warner walked back to the pavilion, he took a quick glance at the replay on the stadium screen while receiving a standing ovation from the crowd. The man who was born just 1 kilometre away from the Sydney Cricket Ground walked away for the penultimate in Test Cricket. Emotions were high around the ground as Warner’s family members were in attendance.
On Wednesday, after Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat, Australia captain Pat Cummins achieved his third consecutive five-wicket haul, taking 5-61. Pakistan’s top order once again struggled, but a spirited fightback led by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan’s brisk 88, supported by a half-century from Agha Salman and Aamer Jamal’s maiden Test half-century, helped them reach a respectable total.
With Australia already securing the series with wins in Perth and Adelaide, the focus leading up to the match revolved around Warner’s final test. Accompanied by his three daughters, he led the home team onto the SCG before the start of the game.
The Pakistani bowlers were patient and bowled on the right channels throughout the day. Agha Salman has not been considered a mainstream bowler in any part of his career. But the 30 year old all-rounder from Lahore has shown glimpses of talent throughout the series with some sharp turning deliveries. Sajid khan came into the team as a specialist spinner in this test match. The finger spinner was not able to get enough purchase off the wicket, straying from the line quite often. Aamer Jamal has been a revelation for Pakistan on this tour, his first innings 82 made sure Pakistan would end the first innings with a respectable total. The 27 year old bowler hit the deck and was rewarded with the wicket of Usman Khawaja. Salman Ali Agha has been fulfilling his duty perfectly on his tour so far, he managed to pick up the important scalp of David Warner in the first innings.
Pakistan managed to grab both opportunities that were presented to them in the field. Babar Azam has been a bright exception in the rather dismal landscape of Pakistan fielding. Muhammad Rizwan also pouched Usman Khawaja safely in his gloves. But questions might be asked about the commitment of some of the players out in the field. They seemed reluctant and sluggish. Players like Aamer Jamal gives everything for the team and the difference in mentality is sure to hurt the Pakistani cricket. Abdullah Shafique is culpable for missing too many catching opportunities on this tour.
David Warner would have been main talking point even he had scored zero in the first innings. The legendary southpaw batter scored 34 runs in the first innings of his last test. His long time partner Usman Khawaja scored 47 runs in his innings that promised much. Marnus Labuschagne averages 80+ at the SCG and the Australian fans would want the hot streak to continue. Steve Smith is his partner at the other end. Smith has failed to reached three figues in this series so far.
Pakistani bowlers bowled well by not allowing the batsmen to free their arms. Usman Khawaja was patient at the crease and waited for the bad balls to punish. David Warner tried to stroke away at times, but his attempts were thwarted by the brilliance of the Pakistani bowlers.
Aamer Jamal and Agha Salma both balled fantastically on a benign surface. The duo were duly rewarded with one wicket each. Sajid Khan and Hasan Ali proved ineffective on the second day. Mir Hamza has been a fantastic find for Pakistan on this tour, his swing away from the left hander has created a few moments of unease for the batsmen.
The turning point of the day came at the third ball of the 44th over of the Australian first innings. Usman Khawa looked comfortable during his stay at the crease by chipping away in this usual nonchalant manner. Aamer Jamal had been trying to move the ball away from the left hander with some left movement. Khawaja was at the score of 45 at that moment. The ball pitched way outside the off stump. Khawaja tried to nudge it towards the cover region. The ball swang late and found the edge of Khawaja’s bat. The ball flew safely to Muhammad Rizwan’s gloves. Australia was at the score of 108 at that point with Pakistan’s score still 205 runs away. Aamer Jamal who has been the main man for his nation throughout the last month, he was the difference maker once again by delivering something extraordinary.
Australia is still 197 runs behind the Pakistan 1st innings of total of 313 after a rain hit day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
|Pakistan First Innings: 313/10 (77.1 overs)
|Australia 1st Innings: 116/2 (47 overs)
|Muhammad Rizwan 88 (103)
|Usman Khawaja 47 (143)
|Aamer Jamal 82 (97)
|David Warner 34 (68)
|Pat Cummins 5/61
|Agha Salma 1/25
|Mitchell Starc 2/75
|Aamer Jamal 1/29
It was a day that promised so much but ended up delivering nothing in terms of cricketing excitement. David Warner was dismissed for the penultimate time in test cricket as most of the day was washed off due to rain. The Pakistani bowlers were trying to hit the deck hard in order to upend the Australian rhythm. Usman Khawaja batted well throughout the time when cricket was played; however he had to leave the field before completing his fifty. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith was at the crease as the third day promises to be the deciding day of this wonderful test match. Pakistan has been resilient on most occasions, but their sudden slip-ups in the field meant they would spend the whole series chasing their mighty opponents.