Australia looked set to take a lead at 289 for 5 but Jamal orchestrated a spectacular collapse to push Pakistan 14 in front
With day three tea, fast bowler Aamer Jamal tore through Australia’s lower order, giving Pakistan a 14-run lead in the first innings and setting up a thrilling, back-and-forth third Test match at the SCG.
After in-form Mitchell Marsh produced his fourth consecutive half-century and linked with Alex Carey for a partnership of 84 runs, Australia seemed to be closing in on a significant advantage.
However, Carey was dismissed for 38 by spinner Sajid Khan at the start of tea, setting off an incredible collapse of 5 for 10.
After tea, Marsh was dismissed on 54 after mistiming Jamal to mid-off in the second over. Two balls later, Pat Cummins was out leg before wicket after failing to make a full toss, a judgment that was later reversed by DRS.
When Saud Shakeel’s low catch at gully required replays before being pronounced out, Jamal won his second five-wicket haul. After that, the fast completed his innings with 6 for 69 from 21.4 overs by dismissing Josh Hazlewood for a duck, capping Pakistan’s incredible comeback.
Pakistan’s prospects of halting a 16-Test losing run in Australia have been bolstered by the prediction that the SCG surface will deteriorate during the match, with the growing rough areas being especially beneficial for spin.
After spinner Salman Agha gave Marsh a life, rookie Saim Ayub lost a chance at mid-off after jumping forward. However, Pakistan rallied admirably. Ayub, who earlier in the game had spilt retiring opener David Warner in a sitter at first slip after striking a second ball duck in Pakistan’s first innings, has found his introduction to Test cricket difficult.
Soon after the second session began, Australia lost to 205 for 5, and the match had shifted in favour of Pakistan. Normally an aggressive player, Travis Head played conservatively during a challenging 20 minutes prior to lunch, managing just 6 points from 25 balls. Head was unable to gain momentum and was declared leg before wicket shortly after the interval after being trapped on the front pad by Jamal, a judgment that was confirmed by DRS.
As Salman, who had outbowled specialist spinner Sajid, attempted to entice Marsh to take a reckless stroke, Pakistan postponed taking the second new ball. But since a spectacular ton in his Test comeback during the Ashes at Headingley, a patient Marsh has continued his good vein of form by making rare loose deliveries.
After left-arm pacer Mir Hamza came back into the attack in the 92nd over, Marsh replied with a magnificent straight shot to the boundary. As scoring grew easier, Marsh and Carey appeared to enjoy the tougher ball.
After being dropped early in Australia’s World Cup run, Carey came into the summer under pressure, but an important half-century in the second innings at the MCG gave him much-needed confidence. With multiple impressive strokes through his preferred off-side, he maintained his momentum and the two quickly reached a fifty stand.
On 31, Marsh experienced a moment of anxiety when seamer Hasan Ali gave him out LBW while he was smacked on the rear leg while trying a pull shot. However, the call was reversed on DRS because of Marsh’s height.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith put up a 79-run partnership in the third wicket, but they fell short of lunch, giving Australia hope earlier in the day.
Day two was truncated to 46 overs due to poor light and rain, and Hasan and Hamza’s precise bowling pinned Labuschagne and Smith as they produced five straight maidens.
Jamal proceeded from his plan against the hitters before play had ended on day two, aiming for a short-ball strategy. After the slips were removed and there were numerous fielders on the leg-side, Jamal bowed his back and attempted to bowl a lively spell but was stopped.
Smith, who has been having trouble with short-pitched bowling for a while, did come dangerously close to hitting short midwicket.
In an attempt to brush off a lackluster2023, in which he averaged 35 in Test cricket, Labuschagne was calm but patient, reaching his fifty with a stunning pull shot while handling Hasan’s slow pace with ease.
Smith had complained about a small piece of rolled-up black tape on the white canopy behind the sightscreen, and that had caused a delay of several minutes.
A groundskeeper cleared the object, and in a rare display of anger, a happier Smith used his feet to club Salman down the ground.
When Hamza returned to the attack and there were plenty of catchers on the off-side, Pakistan changed their strategy. Smith on 38 hit straight to cover and gazed at the pitch in bewilderment before hobbling off, thus the change of strategy worked.
Salman knocked Labuschagne clean for 60 in the next over with a superb delivery that skidded sharply off the rough.
In honor of Australia’s greatest player Glenn McGrath’s late wife Jane, who passed away from breast cancer in 2008, the third day of the customary New Year’s Test is devoted.