Brisbane’s day-night Tests: Shafiq’s heroics and Cummins’ career-best

Adelaide Oval is the traditional home of day-night Tests in Australia, but this year the pink ball game is at the Gabba in Brisbane. The venue has previously hosted two such Tests. Here’s a reminder of how they played out.

Australia 429 (Smith 130, Handscomb 105, Riaz, 4-89, Amir 4-97) and 202 for 5 dec (Khawaja 74, Smith 63, Rahat 2-40) beat Pakistan 142 (Sarfaraz 59*, Hazlewood 3-22, Bird 3-23) and 450 (Shafiq 137, Azhar 71, Younis 65, Starc 4-119) by 39 runs

Asad Shafiq almost pulled off a miracle for Pakistan, getting them to within 40 of what would have been a world-record chase. Adding 71 with Yasir Shah into the final afternoon, Australia were getting nervous before a brute of a delivery from Mitchell Starc removed Shafiq for a brilliant 137.
For the majority of the game, it never looked like being so close. Australia were in the early stages of rebuilding their batting order after the series loss to South Africa a few weeks earlier. Peter Handscomb had scored a maiden Test century in a stand of 172 with Steven Smith, while fellow newcomer Matt Renshaw made 71.

In reply, Pakistan were blown away under lights on the second evening as Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird wreaked havoc. Hazlewood was on a hat-trick when he removed Babar Azam and Younis Khan.

After opting not to enforce the follow-on Australia quickly built their lead before leaving a target of 490. There was more top-order resistance this time, but at 220 for 6 a comfortable victory was on the cards, particularly with another night session to come. That wasn’t how it worked out.

Australia 323 (Head 84, Labuschagne 81, Lakmal 5-75) beat Sri Lanka 144 (Dickwella 64, Cummins 4-39, Richardson 3-26) and 139 (Thirimanne 32, Cummins 6-23) by an innings and 40 runs

Despite Australia coming off a series defeat to India, Sri Lanka were predictably overwhelmed by their pace attack. Pat Cummins led the way with what remains his career-best match figures while Jhye Richardson made a mark on his Test debut.

It was Nathan Lyon who claimed the first wicket of the Test, but from then on it was the home side’s quicks who got to work. Sri Lanka were bundled out in little more than two sessions on the opening day, although Australia didn’t initially have it all their own way with the bat.

Early on the second day they were 82 for 4 before Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head – at the time junior members of the team – added 166 for the fifth wicket.

Cummins struck with the final ball of the second day and Australia did not even need the assistance from the night-time session to complete victory with Cummins taking the first four wickets of the innings.

All of Australia’s bowlers have formidable records with the pink ball, led by Starc in terms of the wicket tally.

Although the sample size is small with just the two matches, the third session of the day has the lowest bowling average in day-night Tests at the Gabba. In Adelaide, which has hosted seven day-night Tests, it’s the first session of the day.

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