Pakistan on the ropes as Australia eye Test series whitewash


Sydney: Australia are on the cusp of a Test series whitewash against Pakistan after the visitors slipped to 68-7 in their second innings in Sydney on Friday.

Pakistan lost two wickets for just a run in their second innings with opener Abdullah Shafique and captain Shan Masood both going back to the hut without scoring.

However, Babar Azam (23) and Saim Ayub (33) added 57 runs for the third wicket to keep Pakistan in the hunt.

But Pakistan lost five wickets for just nine runs to slip to 67-7 as Australia took control of the match.

Pacer Josh Hazlewood took three wickets, Saud Shakeel (2), Sajid Khan (0) and Agha Salman (0), in the penultimate over of the day to push Pakistan on the backfoot.

Hazlwood claimed a total of four wickets, meanwhile Nathon Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Travis Head bagged one each.

Earlier, Pakistan dismissed Australia for 299 in the first innings, taking a lead of 14 runs, in the ongoing third Test in Sydney.

Pacer Aamer Jamal bowled superbly and claimed a six-wicket haul. He is the first bowler in Pakistan’s Test history to take 18 wickets in debut series (3 matches or less).

Pakistan bagged the remaining four wickets, while giving away just 10 runs, after the tea interval.

Mitchell Marsh scored 54 runs before presenting a simple catch to Shan Masood on mid-off as Jamal picked up the crucial wicket.

Earlier, Pakistan reduced Australia to 289-6 at tea on day three with the home side still trailing by 24 runs in the first innings.

Spinner Sajid Khan cleaned up Alex Carey, 38, on the stroke of tea to provide a much-needed breakthrough to Pakistan.

Mitchell Marsh holds key for the Aussies as he is unbeaten on 50 runs in 109 balls.

Travis Head, 10, was the other wicket to fall in the second session after he was trapped in front of the stumps by Aamer Jamal.

Earlier, Pakistan edged ahead of Australia after the visitors grabbed the prized wickets of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne on the third day of the third Test in Sydney on Friday.

Australia were 199-4 at lunch with Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh both on six to trail Pakistan by 114 runs.

Smith and Labuschagne looked in good touch in the extended morning session before a stunning late double-wicket breakthrough.

Smith fell into a carefully laid Pakistani trap of stacking a trio of fielders around short extra cover off medium pacer Mir Hamza’s bowling.

Smith duly walked down the wicket next ball to play an aerial drive, only to be caught by Babar Azam above his head.

Australia’s premier batter made 38 off 86 balls and looked stunned as he glared at a patch in the pitch, before walking disconsolately from the ground 30 minutes before lunch.

He was followed six balls later by Labuschagne, bowled for 60 by offspinner Agha Salman.

Labuschagne played forward only to be beaten by a sharply turning ball out of the rough and spearing through the bat-pad gap to knock over his middle stump.

Pakistan celebrated two quick wickets for no runs after Australia had looked primed to wear away at the tourists’ first-innings total of 313.

It was grinding cricket in the morning session with 83 runs coming off 33 overs at a run rate of 2.49 per over.

It was deserved reward for the toiling Pakistanis, who have battled away with disciplined bowling and determined fielding despite already losing the three-match series.