Lunch – Pakistan 144 for 5, trail by 196 in the third innings
A couple more wickets fell in that session, and it looked like Pakistan might subside, but this has been a really good partnership between Babar and Rizwan. Resolute and skilled to see off the premier fast bowlers, and now they’ll have a chance to rest and rest. Shan Masood was good through the first hour too, sticking it out for a while, and Cummins and Hazlewood bowled beautifully.
Still Australia’s match to win today, but it’ll be interesting to see if this partnership can push on. Once it gets broken, there’s not much batting to come.
I’ll push off now, and Jonathan Howcroft will take over after lunch.
Half century! Babar Azam 53 from 107 balls
Wicket! Iftikhar Ahmed c Paine b Hazlewood 0 (Pakistan 94-5)
Wicket! Shan Masood c Paine b Cummins 42 (Pakistan 93-4)
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Here we are again, for what should surely be the last day of this Test match, even if it’s only the fourth. Pakistan are already three wickets down and a million runs behind (276 if you’re counting), and Australia’s bowlers had a good night’s sleep after a brief frolic yesterday evening following two days with their feet up.
Pakistan haven’t been in this match since lunch on the first day, when their stubborn opening stand turned into a collapse of top-order wickets. Five went down without much addition to the score, and only a substantial rearguard from Asad Shafiq got them to 240. That could have been competitive had they bowled well, but they missed the control of Mohammad Abbas and weren’t consistent enough to build pressure on Australia’s top three, all of whom made big scores.
Now it’s a matter of time, unless Shan Masood and Babar Azam can produce something special. Shan was impressively committed in the first innings and in the field, so perhaps he’ll fight on. Babar has the talent to play a big innings in Australia at some point. More likely, the quality of Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc and Lyon will tell.