Cummins and Starc rip through Pakistan to put Australia in command

By Sports Desk March 23, 2022

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc ripped through Pakistan on day three of the third Test to leave Australia scenting a series victory at Gaddafi Stadium.

Captain Cummins and fellow paceman Starc were lethal in the evening session as Pakistan collapsed from 214-2 to 268 all out in reply to Australia's 391 in Lahore.

The outstanding Cummins took 5-56 and Starc 4-33, with Babar Azam's side unable to contend with the reverse swing and pace they generated with the second new ball.

Abdullah Shafique (81), Azhar Ali (78) and Babar (67) had put Pakistan in a promising position, but they lost seven wickets in the final session before Australia closed on 11 without loss - leading by 134 runs.

Australia were unable to make a breakthrough in the morning session after Pakistan resumed on 90-1, Shafique and Azhar bringing up their half-centuries as they added 69 runs before lunch.

A second-wicket stand of 150 finally ended when Nathan Lyon got Shafique caught behind following a review, but Steve Smith was unable to take chances to remove Babar on 20 and Azhar, when he had 62 to his name, in the slips as the runs flowed more freely.

Azhar passed 7,000 Test runs, but Pakistan were 214-3 when Cummins took a brilliant catch off his own bowling to end his excellent knock.

Starc then cleaned up Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan as the momentum swung dramatically in Australia's favour after tea, with the magnificent Cummins also conjuring up substantial reverse swing as he saw the back of Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali and Hasan Ali to claim a five-wicket haul.

Babar was trapped leg before by Starc, who then produced a searing delivery that crashed into Naseem Shah's off stump to end Pakistan's innings with a flash. Usman Khawaja and David Warner then saw off three overs as Australia took command.

Cummins and Starc produce pace-bowling masterclass

After spending much of the day toiling with wickets hard to come by once again, Starc and Cummins were at their brilliant best late in the day.

They got the ball swinging, while also bowling perfect lengths at pace to tear through the Pakistan order, taking seven wickets for 20 runs.

Cummins became the first paceman to take a five-wicket haul in the series and his seventh in the longest format, producing a peach of a delivery that Sajid chopped on before pinning Nauman leg before and getting Hasan caught by Smith.

 

Pakistan crumble after trio build strong foundations

It looked like a first-innings lead was there for the taking for Pakistan courtesy of fine knocks from Shafique, Azhar and Babar.

The trio batted superbly on a good pitch, but the middle order and tail was blown away by Cummins and Starc, with three batters falling without scoring and Rizwan only making one.

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