Australia Dominates Third Day with Lyon’s Stellar Bowling and Khawaja-Smith Partnership
Lyon did well for Australia, taking 3 wickets for 66 runs, making him the top bowler.
On Saturday, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith seemed to dash Pakistan’s hopes of winning their first Test in Australia since 1995. Meanwhile, veteran spinner Nathan Lyon is just one wicket away from reaching the impressive 500-mark.
At the end of day three in Perth, the home team finished at 84-2, extending their lead to 300. They had earlier bowled out the opposing team for 271 just before tea, responding to their initial score of 487.
Lyon was the standout bowler with a performance of 3 wickets for 66 runs. However, he needs to wait a bit to join the exclusive club of seven other players who have achieved a similar remarkable feat in the game.
Australia had a tough beginning as David Warner, who scored a century in the first innings, was out for zero. Pakistan’s Khurram Shahzad swiftly took two wickets in a row, with Australia starting the day with a lead of 216 runs in Perth.
Warner, who recently scored a strong 164, made a mistake in timing a pull shot from Khurram Shahzad. The ball landed comfortably in the hands of Imam-ul-Haq at mid-wicket, resulting in Warner being caught out.
Labuschagne didn’t last long, getting out for just two runs on a pitch with unpredictable bounce. Shahzad was the troublemaker again, luring Labuschagne into a shot that resulted in a big edge, caught by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed. Australia found themselves struggling at 2-5.
However, Khawaja (34) and Smith (43) turned things around for Australia, guiding their team to a strong position. They formed an unbroken partnership of 79 runs, stabilizing the innings as they headed into day four with a potential declaration on the horizon.
Pakistan started the day at 132-2, looking to continue their strong performance in the run chase. However, they faced a tough challenge against Australia’s high-quality bowling attack.
The resilient opener Haq began the day at 38, while the nightwatchman Shahzad started at seven.
On his debut, Shahzad faced only two balls before Pat Cummins bowled a full and straight delivery, knocking over his middle stump in the first over.
Following Shahzad’s dismissal, Babar Azam, a key player, came to the crease for his 50th Test. He cautiously played 13 balls before finally scoring with a cover drive to the ropes off Cummins.
Taking his time against a seam attack that was getting bounce and speed from a sun-baked pitch, Babar Azam managed to score another run in Cummins’ next over, keeping the scoreboard moving.
On the opposite side, Haq persisted and reached his ninth Test 50, marking his first in Australia. It took him a patient 161 balls, and he achieved this milestone with a single off Lyon.
Scoring runs became a challenge, especially when Mitchell Marsh came into the attack. He quickly made a difference by dismissing Azam for 21. The former captain edged the ball to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
This led to a small collapse, as Haq got stumped for 62 when Lyon returned to bowl. In a moment of lost focus, Haq charged down the wicket, and Carey swiftly removed the bails.
Sarfaraz Ahmed faced only six balls before being bowled out by Mitchell Starc’s swinging delivery, which sent the stumps flying.
Following lunch, Australia took the new ball, and Josh Hazlewood delivered a well-executed bouncer. Saud Shakeel attempted to defend it but ended up popping the ball to Warner at slip.
He left after scoring 28 runs, and Faheem Ashraf went out after scoring nine. Khawaja caught Faheem Ashraf at square leg off Cummins.
Lyon came back and got his 499th wicket, as Aamer Jamal got stumped by Carey. Then, Travis Head, who bowls part-time spin, dismissed Shaheen Shah Afridi.