The opening day of the third test match between Australia and Pakistan saw a rollercoaster. Despite a Pat Cummins fifer, Pakistan rallied from a precarious 47/4 to post a valiant 313 in the final Test at Sydney. Only twice during the batting inning, Pakistan appear to be in control of the game after the Australian pacers Starc and Hazellwod went through their top order. Firstly, they amassed 124 runs in the middle session, spearheaded by a brilliant 88 from Mohammad Rizwan. In the last session, Aamer Jamal’s counterattacking maiden half-century hindered the hosts’ attempts to take that last wicket. Amid all this Cummins brings up his third consecutive fifer, which dismantles the inning of the visitors.
On the second ball of the innings, Starc enticed Abdullah Shafique to hit an expansive drive, and the Pakistani opener paid a heavy price for trying such a risky shot so early. Saim Ayub, making his debut and taking the place of an injured Inam-ul-Haq, then nicked a good-length ball from Hazlewood that nipped away slightly to take the lead. Babar Azam appeared relaxed and even teased with a couple of stunning drives during the disastrous start, but Cummins used DRS to reverse the LBW call after pinging the former captain on the pads with a full ball that swung in sharply. Cummins compounded Pakistan’s problems by getting Saud Shakeel to nick a length ball that held its line in the channel outside off during his opening spell.
In the midst, Rizwan joined Shan Masood, guiding Pakistan to lunch safely and without any more damage at 75/4, but the captain didn’t last long after the interval. Steve Smith caught Masood at second slip, and it was only Mitchell Marsh’s overstep that gave Masood a life on 32. However, Masood was dismissed in the same manner by the same pair, allowing him to only score three more points. After joining forces at a precarious 96/5, Rizwan and Salman Agha produced a 94-run stand that became the focal point of Pakistan’s post-lunch comeback. Rizwan moved his team over the 100 mark early in the afternoon with a couple of fours.
Australia was well on its way to victory after 4 for 37 collapsed, but Jamal chose to rewrite history once more. For 22.1 overs, he bewildered the home team, he and Mir Hamza, who played the perfect second fiddle, put up an 86-run partnership off of just seven of the 43 deliveries he faced. Jamal demonstrated remarkable resolve with the bat in his 97-ball knock. Earlier in the first Test of the series Jamal has taken a six-fer on debut. He was granted a few reprieves when Australia failed to capitalize on difficult opportunities, but he confronted the home team’s short-ball tactic head-on when Cummins and Hazlewood all came under fire.
In reply, Australian openers Usman Khwaja and David Warner came to the middle with thunderous cheers from the spectators and a salute from the rival team. The Australian southpaw, David Warner stepped into the middle for one last time in the whites. He opened his scorecard with a beautiful boundary through the covers in the opening ball. Then, he held his nerve to avoid chopping the penultimate ball back onto his stumps, which allowed Australia to reach six wickets without losing a wicket.