Recent Match Report – Australia vs Pakistan 3rd Test 2023/24

Australia 299 (Labuschagne 60, Marsh 54, Jamal 6-69) & 130 for 2 (Labuschagne 62*, Warner 57) beat Pakistan 313 (Rizwan 88, Jamal 82) & 115 (Ayub 33, Hazlewood 4-16, Lyon 3-36) by eight wickets

Retiring opener David Warner crushed Pakistan with an audacious half-century to farewell Test cricket in style as Australia won the third Test at the SCG by eight wickets to complete a series sweep.

Warner smashed 57 off 75 balls before his fairy-tale final innings ended shortly after lunch on day four with Australia just 11 runs short of victory. He was given out lbw to offspinner Sajid Khan on review as Warner walked off to handshakes from the Pakistan team and then waved his bat to a raucous ovation from the 24,220 crowd.

Marnus Labuschagne finished unbeaten on 62 from 73 balls with Australia making light work of the 130 target on a dry surface that had played tricks with variable bounce and sharp turn.

Australia batted with intent and scored at over five runs an over as the surface appeared easier for batting compared to on day three when 15 wickets fell. Pakistan succumbed to Warner and Labuschagne’s 119-run partnership with fiery quick Aamer Jamal, their best bowler in the series, surprisingly not used until after lunch.

All eyes were on Warner in his final innings of his 112-Test career. Coming out to a standing ovation, Warner had a long embrace with opening partner and close mate Usman Khawaja before entering a guard of honour from Pakistan.

Sajid opened the bowling for Pakistan and made an immediate impact on the first ball when he beat Khawaja with a sharp delivery that turned past the bat. Sajid revived Pakistan’s slim hopes when he dismissed Khawaja lbw for a duck later in the over in a decision upheld on review.

There was intrigue over whether Warner would dig in or play in his trademark proactive style. His intention was evident when he skipped down the pitch at left-arm quick Mir Hamza and opened his account with a punch through cover as he showcased his sprinting between the wickets to race back for a second.

On his 12th delivery, Warner smashed his first boundary when he plundered a wide delivery from Hamza through cover before unfurling his white-ball skills when he reverse swept Sajid to the boundary. Warner’s approach was nonetheless risky on a tricky surface and he had some luck when he inside edged seamer Hasan Ali past his stumps. He also had an anxious moment when he almost holed out to mid-on off Sajid only to land safely wide of Jamal who had run back in vain.

Marnus Labuschagne stayed unbeaten and hit the winning runs•Getty Images

But Warner notched his half-century off just 56 balls and Australia only needed to knock off 39 runs after lunch. The remaining interest in the contest centred over whether Warner would hit the winning runs. He survived a tight lbw call off Sajid on 53 that Pakistan unsuccessfully reviewed and Labuschagne was dropped by captain Shan Masood at short midwicket to continue their series-long fielding woes.

Labuschagne, who last year averaged a modest 35 in Test cricket, was in sublime touch and scored his second half-century of the match. He hit the winning run after Warner’s dismissal as Australia claimed a series whitewash with none of the three Tests getting into a fifth day.

This match effectively lasted just three days after half of day two was washed out. But Australia were challenged, particularly their batters, with Warner set to leave a big hole at the top of the order.

It was a disappointing finish for Pakistan, who sank to their 17th straight defeat in Australia. They had been highly competitive over the past two Tests and showcased a resilience few touring teams have in Australia. Pakistan unearthed Jamal, who was a shining light in his debut Test series with 18 wickets and he also shows promise as a genuine allrounder having struck 82 in their first innings.

But Pakistan will rue sloppy fielding and batting implosions, which reared late on day three when they crumbled to 67 for 7 in their second innings. Their hopes on day four of setting Australia a challenging total rested on Mohammad Rizwan and Jamal.

Quick Josh Hazlewood opened the bowling on day four, having set the SCG alight in the penultimate over of day three with the wickets of Saud Shakeel, nightwatcher Sajid Khan and Salman Agha. After a cautious start, Jamal scored the first boundary of the day when he hammered Hazlewood through backward point.

Rizwan lived dangerously as he looked to attack Nathan Lyon, but he had better success sweeping part-time spinner Travis Head. Underlining his blossoming confidence, Jamal unfurled a reverse sweep off Lyon to the boundary as Pakistan’s lead passed 100.

Coming off three straight five-wicket hauls, captain Pat Cummins only brought himself on 45 minutes into the day’s play but he could not break a partnership that had reached 42 runs. Just as Pakistan’s hopes increased, as has happened often during this series, they were rocked by a wicket almost out of nowhere when Rizwan, on 28, inside edged Lyon to Warner at leg slip.

Pakistan fell away as Warner took centre stage and finished off his illustrious career with trademark aggression and a comprehensive Australia victory.

Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth

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