After three days of play, our current position is in the third innings. Pakistan’s batters put up a fierce fight during the first session, with only the nightwatchman Shahzad being dismissed as Babar and Imam built a steady partnership. However, just before lunch, a sudden loss of wickets reversed the progress made – Babar was caught by Marsh, Imam was stumped while charging at Lyon, and Sarfaraz’s off stump was knocked over by a Starc delivery.
Pakistan was left with a substantial deficit to overcome, despite contributions of 28 runs each from Shakeel and Salman. Lyon took three wickets for Australia as the team shared them among themselves. The game became more exciting when Warner and Labuschagne fell early on, but Smith and Khawaja quickly extinguished any potential comeback for Pakistan.
Tomorrow, Australia will continue playing with control of the game and may announce a declaration if Pakistan’s bowlers do not make any significant moves. We will reconvene then.
In the 33rd over, Australia’s score is 84 for 2 wickets with Khawaja at 34 and Smith at 43. Shaheen delivers a short ball to Smith, who avoids it and then hits another to the third man for a run, extending their lead to 300. Khawaja also avoids a couple of balls, ending the over.
In the 32nd over, Australia’s score is 83-2 with Khawaja at 34 and Smith at 42. Due to Smith’s medical break, we missed out on three overs, which took up a significant amount of time. However, he is now ready to resume and has a brief discussion with Khawaja before doing so. The return of Salman Agha may allow for an over of spin. Khawaja scores a run with a cut shot. Smith does not attempt a run on a ball down the leg side. There are fielders waiting at slip and short leg. Smith hits a drive towards long on for one run. Khawaja defends three balls quickly. With one minute remaining, there will be one more over as the umpire gets into position.
In the 31st over, Australia’s score is 81-2 with Khawaja at 33 and Smith at 41. As we approach the end of the day, Smith takes a run from Shaheen, who hasn’t been performing well in this Test match. Khawaja scores another run with a glance. Smith lets a high ball hit his arm, above the elbow but possibly hitting the forearm on its way through. He’s wearing a small arm guard, which seems insignificant compared to a full arm guard. At the end of the over, he receives attention from the physio and appears uncomfortable.
In the 30th over, Australia’s score is 79 for 2 wickets, with Khawaja at 32 runs and Smith at 40 runs. Jamal begins his over with a wide delivery, a bouncer that is too high outside Khawaja’s off stump. Expecting this type of attack, Khawaja executes a gentle pull shot towards mid-on, gently tapping the ball away. This results in two runs for the team.
In the 29th over, Australia’s score is 76-2 with Khawaja at 30 and Smith at 40. There was a tense moment for Smith as he went back to hook Shaheen over fine leg. He instinctively hit a top edge and there was a fielder on the fence, but the ball just barely cleared him for a six. Smith was not prepared for that shot and simply swung his hands at it as Shaheen bowled from over the wicket.
The 28th over saw Australia’s score at 69-2 with Khawaja at 29 and Smith at 34. Salman’s performance has been neat but not very intimidating, with six overs resulting in 13 runs.
In the 27th over, Australia’s score is 67-2 with Khawaja at 28 runs and Smith at 33 runs. Shaheen returns to bowl. Smith confidently hits the ball down the ground and through cover for two runs each time. Smith is being guarded by a slip and leg slip as Shaheen bowls around the wicket. Shaheen fields well at cover and attempts to throw down the striker’s stumps, but Smith is safely at home. The umpire calls a no ball as well.
In the 26th over, Australia’s score is 61-2 with Khawaja at 28 runs and Smith at 28 runs. Agha Salman smoothly completes another rapid and uneventful over.
Australia are currently at 60-2 after 25 overs, with Khawaja scoring 28 and Smith scoring 27. Shahzad delivers a short ball, and Smith moves out of the way and hits a single behind square. He then changes his angle for Khawaja, who is being very careful with his shots. However, he is forced to play one and unfortunately edges it. The ball was angled in and stayed straight off the pitch, causing Khawaja to have to cover off stump and resulting in a four as the ball barely passes second slip. The bowler is frustrated because he won that round. Khawaja then edges another one, but this time it is a bit thicker and lands safely for two runs through backward point.
At the end of the 24th over, Australia’s score is 53 for 2 wickets. Khawaja is at 22 runs and Smith at 26. Salman almost gets a wicket as Khawaja’s shot results in a leading edge, but it falls short of the bowler. Khawaja manages to hit three runs through the covers before Smith takes back the strike. There are 40 minutes left to play, with additional time added on.
In the 23rd over, Australia’s score is 49-2 with Khawaja at 19 runs and Smith at 25 runs. Shahzad has bowled eight overs so far and has taken 2 wickets for 12 runs. This over only yielded a single run for Khawaja and no additional runs for Australia.
In the 22nd over, Australia’s score is 48 for 2 wickets with Khawaja scoring 18 runs and Smith scoring 25 runs. Smith is content to play defensively against Salman’s spin, only attacking one ball for a couple of runs.
At the 21st over, Australia’s score is 46-2 with Khawaja at 18 runs and Smith at 23 runs. Shahzad approaches Khawaja from around the wicket, delivering a ball just outside the off stump. Khawaja briefly advances towards it, but then avoids a rising ball by moving his gloves out of the way. The next delivery is a bouncer aimed at Khawaja’s front shoulder, causing him to duck. Another bouncer follows, and Khawaja kneels to avoid it. Shan and Shaheen talk to the bowler as he walks back, with one more delivery left in the over. The field consists of two slips and a gully. The following ball is a pitched up delivery which Khawaja hits square, prompting them to attempt a run to the sweeper. Smith is able to make it back to the far end for two runs.
In the 20th over, Australia’s score is 44-2 with Khawaja at 16 and Smith at 23. Khawaja defends the first few balls before finally scoring a run off the last ball by driving it down the ground.
At the 19th over mark, Australia is at 43-2 with Khawaja scoring 15 and Smith scoring 23. Shahzad returns to the game and Smith gains four more points with a shuffle and a glance.
In the eighteenth over, Australia’s score is 37-2 with Khawaja at 15 and Smith at 18. The bowler, Agha Salman, has some spin in his delivery. He had a significant role in the first innings. The current pace is relaxed, with three singles being scored.
In the 17th over, Australia’s score is 34-2 with Khawaja at 14 runs and Smith at 16 runs. Jamal delivers a good yorker at a speed of 136, which is fast for him. The ball tails in slightly, but Khawaja manages to defend it. He also manages to score a single and a double in the over.
Guy Hornsby states, “As a supporter of England, I am pleased to see Nathan Lyon returning to play. He is a skilled player and I am rooting for him to achieve 500 points in this game. I am also eagerly anticipating his presence at Old Trafford in Manchester next summer, as it is a noteworthy acquisition.”
Reworded: He will be playing for Lancashire in all formats for the entire season, unless he is unexpectedly chosen to participate in the T20 World Cup in June. Australia does not have many events scheduled overseas next year, with only Test matches against New Zealand in February and some white-ball matches in September.
In the sixteenth over, Australia’s score is 30-2 with Khawaja at 11 runs and Smith at 15 runs. Faheem slows down the scoring in this over, with only one run for Khawaja and a no-ball. The pitch seems to have some unpredictable movements, as seen with a sharp bounce that catches Khawaja off guard. We’ve witnessed a few of these instances, such as Warner’s delivery that stayed low and Cummins’ ball that swerved away from leg stump according to ball-tracking. This does not look promising for Pakistan’s batting in the final innings.
In the 15th over, Australia has a score of 28-2 with Khawaja at 10 runs and Smith at 15 runs. Khawaja avoids hitting the ball with his pads and instead sends it towards fine leg for one run. The Pakistan fielders are on edge due to the possibility of a leg before wicket (lbw) decision. Jamal bowls a delivery towards Smith, who fails to connect with his attempted pull shot and the wicketkeeper makes the save.
In the 14th over, Australia’s score is 27-2 with Khawaja at 9 and Smith at 15. Smith is using his classic technique of moving across his stumps, but is being selective with which balls he chooses to play. Faheem bowls a wide ball and Smith leaves it alone, but when the ball is straighter, he drives to mid on. The fielders are still positioned with two slips and a gully. Finally, Smith gets a ball that he can hit, not too full but enough for him to hit a powerful drive through extra cover.
In the 13th over, Australia’s score is 23 for 2 wickets, with Khawaja at 9 runs and Smith at 11 runs. Khawaja continues to confidently execute the pull shot against Jamal, picking up a couple more runs.
At the start of the 12th over, Australia’s score is 20-2 with Khawaja at 7 and Smith at 10. There is a substitution as Faheem Ashraf enters from the Langer End. The run rate picks up as Khawaja hits two drives and a pull, while Smith drives two down the ground and hits a short wide ball behind point for four. He also adds a single in the same direction. A total of five scoring shots and ten runs are achieved in this over.
In the eleventh over, Australia’s score is 10-2 with Khawaja at four runs and Smith at three. It is Aamer Jamal’s first over of the day. Khawaja is beginning to wake up and takes a quick single to cover. Smith hits a couple of runs square.
Australia is currently 7-2 in the 10th over, with Khawaja at 3 runs and Smith at 1 run. Smith starts the over with a single, using his signature move of hitting off the pads while moving around the crease. Khawaja then faces more balls from Shahzad before scoring a run of his own to finish the over.
In the 9th over, Australia’s score is 5 runs for 2 wickets, with Khawaja at 2 runs and Smith at 0. Khawaja appears to be taking a cue from Imam’s batting style and plays out six more dot balls from Shaheen.
In the 8th over, Australia’s score is 5-2 with Khawaja on 2 and Smith on 0. The current state of the game is uncertain. Australia had a 216-run lead in the first innings, so they only need to score 150 in this third innings to have control of the game. Although it’s likely that someone will score runs for Pakistan, it’s a good start for Australia considering their current position. Steve Smith has come to the crease and he lets the rest of Shahzad’s over pass by.
Another one goes down! Labuschagne attempts an unconvincing pull shot to a ball that isn’t particularly high. The ball is angled towards his sternum and he awkwardly flaps at it, resulting in a looping top edge to short fine leg. The wicketkeeper is able to get under it as it hangs in the air.
In the 7th over, Australia’s score is 5-1 with Khawaja and Labuschagne both at 2 runs. Shaheen’s over includes a single run from a glancing shot.
Khayyam sends an email saying they are currently in the office in Switzerland and it is their last day before taking a break for Christmas. They are passing time by eating croissants and drinking tea. They ask a question about the test series and what the overall story is. They mention that Australia is playing at home and should have an easy win, but Pakistan has a good team and could potentially do well in Australia. They wonder about the purpose of the Test series and thank Geoff for the OBO.
You’re very welcome. I guess you can argue there’s no specific point to any Test series, or any tournament for that matter. The point is for people who are really good at something to try something difficult, and for the rest of us to enjoy watching what they can do. As far as the story goes, Australia winning comfortably at home is very much the way of the world, aside from the occasional visits from teams with top-class bowling attacks: this century that has been three South African tours, two Indian and one English.
In the sixth over, Australia has scored 4 runs for the loss of 1 wicket. Khawaja has 2 runs while Labuschagne has 1. Labuschagne is facing trouble as he was hit on the glove by Shahzad. The ball rose sharply and hit his bottom hand, causing him discomfort. The deep short leg fielder almost caught the ball. Marnus is being attended to by the physio as his right little finger is injured. He is in pain as his hand is being treated. However, he will continue batting and luckily, he gets a break from strike as he runs for a single. Shahzad has been a tricky bowler, with his deliveries ranging between 127 and 130 kilometers per hour.
Shaheen’s 5th over sees Australia at 3-1 with Khawaja scoring 2 and Labuschagne at 0. Shaheen’s performance is not the best, as he struggles with direction and sends the ball down leg twice. The three slips and gully fielders are of no use against the left-handed Shaheen. Additionally, there is a close square leg fielder, almost acting as a short leg, stationed just a few steps away from the batsman. This fielder is even wearing a helmet for added protection. The rest of the field consists of a fine leg, mid on, mid off, and point. The over results in no runs for Australia.
In the fourth over, Australia’s score is 3-1 with Khawaja scoring 2 runs and Labuschagne scoring 0. It seems that Warner’s exit has resulted in a sluggish beginning. The only noteworthy event in this over is a no-ball. However, Labuschagne does attempt a cover drive that is fielded by Shan Masood at cover.
The third over saw Australia’s score at 2-1 with Khawaja scoring 2 runs and Labuschagne at 0. Khawaja managed to hit a couple of runs square from Shaheen, giving Australia their first runs.
In the second over, Australia’s score is 0-1 with Khawaja at 0 and Labuschagne at 0. Khurram Shahzad, who had a strong performance in the first innings, takes an early wicket.
Warner is out with no runs for him! He receives a ball that bounces low outside the off stump, possibly messing with his mindset. The following ball is directed at his hip, and Warner falls while attempting a shot that he has been trying to eliminate from his game: the short-arm pull shot at that particular height. He ends up top-edging it to midwicket, where the fielder takes a catch while moving backwards. This is a type of dismissal that Warner has faced numerous times in his professional career.
First over: Australia 0-0 (Khawaja 0, Warner 0) Usman Khawaja is the first to bat, while Warner is ready to begin. Shaheen’s delivery has some lift and there is a swing towards the leg side. This over is bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi.
As expected, there will be no follow-up. “Definitely,” Pat Cummins responds as Adam Gilchrist suggests, “I assume you’ll bat again.” There’s no need to overwork your bowlers with two and a half days remaining in the match. This means that we can expect to see some Junk Time Runs™!
David Warner twin tons would be a good laugh.