LAHORE: Fast bowlers Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi equally shared eight wickets between them as Pakistan fought back to dismiss Australia for 391 on the second day of the third and deciding cricket Test match for the Benaud-Qadir Trophy.
Naseem finished with four for 58 and Shaheen snapped up four for 79 as Australia lost their last five wickets for 50 runs in just over 13 overs to slip from 341 for five to 391 all out.
When stumps were drawn for the second day, Pakistan had reached 90 for the loss of Imam-ul-Haq (11). Opener Abdulah Shafique was batting on 45, while Azhar Ali, playing his 94th Test match but first at the Gaddafi Stadium, was 30 not out.
Earlier, Australia resumed their first innings at the score of 232 for five with Cameron Green on 20 and Alex Carey on eight. The two batters took the attack to the Pakistan bowlers by taking the score to 320 for five with Green moving to 56 and Carey racing to 60. However, soon into the afternoon session, the sixth wicket 135 runs partnership ended when Carey became left-arm spinner Nauman Ali’s only wicket of the innings at the score of 341. The wicketkeeper-batter scored 67 runs from 105 balls with seven fours.
Naseem and Shaheen, who until then had bowled their hearts out without any additional success to their Monday’s two wickets apiece, saw a window of opportunity with Carey’s departure and pounced on the lower-order and succeeded in adding two more wickets each to their Monday’s haul.
Mitchell Starc was the eighth batter out at the total of 369 when he tried to launch a counterattack to Shaheen and ended up holing out to Nauman at mid-off after scoring 13. Nathan Lyon demise was no different to Green’s dismissal as the Australia off-spinner was beaten by pace as the ball cannoned into the stumps after brushing the pads. Pakistan began their reply during the second session of the play but were unable to get a flier as Imam was pinned in front of the wickets off Pat Cummins in the 13th over at the score of 20. This was Imam’s third successive failure after he has started the series with two centuries in the drawn Rawalpindi Test match.
However, Abdullah and Azhar held the innings together and safely negotiated the day without being separating and in the meantime put on 70 runs for the second wicket to take the score to 90 for one.
Abdullah has struck six fours in his 117-ball 45, while Azhar has hit a six and a four in his 79-ball 30. Abdullah to date has scored 334 runs and has Usman Khawaja’s firmly in his sights who sits on top of the most successful batter of the series with 392 runs from one less innings. Azhar has scored 235 runs in the series to date and is now 44 runs short of becoming the fifth Pakistan batter to complete 7,000 Test runs. Younis Khan leads the pack with 10,099 runs in 118 Test matches and is followed by Javed Miandad (8,832 runs in 124 Test matches), Inzamam-ul-Haq (8,829 runs in 119 Test matches) and Mohammad Yousuf (7,530 in 90 Test matches).
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022