NewsShaheen Shah Afridi and Mir Hamza impress with the ball on day three of MCG Test

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mir Hamza impress with the ball on day three of MCG Test

Melbourne, 28 December 2023: Left-arm fast bowling duo of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mir Hamza found success against the experienced Australia batting line-up as both registered three wickets to push the opposition on the backfoot. At stumps, Australia’s scorecard read 187-6 after they had earlier dismissed Pakistan for 264.

Pakistan resumed from their overnight score of 194-6 with Mohammad Rizwan and Aamir Jamal at the crease. The 45-run stand between the two was the second-highest partnership for Pakistan. Rizwan (42, 51b, 1×4, 1×6) was the first batter to walk back on Day Three when Australia captain Pat Cummins struck early to break the seventh-wicket partnership.

A 25-run eighth-wicket partnership between Shaheen and Aamir further helped reduce the deficit. Then, Shaheen (21, 28b, 4x4s) was trapped LBW by Nathan Lyon, with Pakistan slumping to 240-8 in the 70th over.

Cummins later dismissed Hasan Ali to complete his 10th five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Mir Hamza (2, 3b) was the last batter to fall in the innings. Lyon, who bagged four wickets, closed the innings as Pakistan were dismissed for 264 in 73.5 overs.

In turn, Shaheen produced magic with the new ball as opening batter Usman Khawaja was caught behind in just the first over and Marnus Labuschagne fell in the same manner on the last ball of the third over.

Hamza bowled a double wicket maiden soon after lunch and Australia were reduced to 16-4. The left-arm pacer rattled David Warner’s stumps on the first ball of the over and then castled Travis Head for a duck on the next delivery.

Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh stitched a perfect recovery for their side. The two batted together to add 153 runs to the total, ensuring Australia remain in the game after the early setback.

Hamza ended the partnership when Salman Ali Agha caught Marsh during the third session of Day Three. The Australian all-rounder was denied a century, falling for a 130-ball 96 studded with 13 boundaries.

Smith completed a gritty half-century (50, 176b, 3x4s) before he gloved it to Salman fielding at gully, falling to the trap set by Shaheen. Smith’s dismissal proved to be the final ball of the day.

Wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey (16 not out, 42b, 2x4s) remained unbeaten on the crease as Australia ended Day Three at 187-6 in 62.3 overs, leading by 241.

Action will resume on day four at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at 0430 PKT.

Scores in brief:

Australia 318 all out, 96.5 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 63, Usman Khawaja 42, Mitchell Marsh 41; Aamir Jamal 3-64, Mir Hamza 2-51, Hasan Ali 2-61, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-85, Salman Ali Agha 1-22) and 187-6, 62.3 overs (Mitchell Marsh 96, Steven Smith 50; Mir Hamza 3-27, Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-58)

Pakistan 264 all out, 73.5 overs (Abdullah Shafique 62, Shan Masood 54, Mohammad Rizwan 42; Pat Cummins 5-48, Nathan Lyon 4-73, Josh Hazlewood 1-43)

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