Australia put themselves in command

By our correspondent
PERTH: Australia ended the third day of Perth Test having attained a massive lead of 300 against Pakistan. Pakistan were bowled out for 271 in 101.5 overs, owing to a compelling performance by the Australian bowling attack led by Pat Cummins. Australia then rode on an undefeated partnership between Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith to gain a commanding lead at the close of play.

Pakistan resumed from their overnight score of 132-2 in 53 overs, trailing by 355 runs with night-watchman Khurram Shahzad and opening batter Imam-ul-Haq on the crease. Australian skipper Pat Cummins cleaned up the middle stump to dismiss Khurram, who walked back on just the third ball bowled in the day.

Babar Azam, the next batter in, could only manage 21 from 54 including two fours. He was caught behind on Mitchell Marsh’s bowling. Babar’s dismissal was a massive breakthrough in the game for Australia with the Pakistan scorecard reading 181-4 in 71 overs.

Imam was the next man to fall courtesy of a stumping off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The left-handed opening batter was the highest scorer for the side with a gritty 62 from 199 deliveries, including four boundaries.

Mitchell Starc rattled the stumps in just the following over to dismiss Sarfraz Ahmed. The wicketkeeper-batter had a brief stay on the crease and walked back after scoring just three from six.

Salman Ali Agha and Saud Shakeel attempted to stage a recovery, collectively adding 35 runs to the total until Saud (28, 43b, 4x4s) was caught by David Warner on Josh Hazlewood’s bowling.

Salman (28 not out, 76b, 4x4s) was the last man standing as Pakistan lost three more wickets in quick succession. The visiting side was bowled out for 271 handing Australia a first-innings lead of 216.

Each of the Australian bowlers returned with at least a wicket each; Lyon remained the most successful of the lot, as he grabbed three to get to 499 Test scalps.

In Australia’s second innings, debutant Khurram landed two early blows to take out Warner – who went for a duck – and Marnus Labuschagne to reduce the home side to 5-2 in 7.2 overs.

Khawaja (34 not out, 106b, 1×4) and Smith (43, 72b, 3x4s, 1×6) stitched an unbeaten partnership that yielded 79 runs to take Australia to 84-2 at close of play, with their lead reaching a mammoth 300.

The fourth day’s play will resume at Perth Stadium from 0720 PKT.

Scores in brief:

Australia 487 all out, 113.2 overs (David Warner 164, Mitch Marsh 90, Usman Khawaja 41, Travis Head 40; Aamir Jamal 6-111, Khurram Shahzad 2-83, Faheem Ashraf 1-93, Shaheen Shah Afridi 1-96) and 84-2 (Steven Smith 43 not out, Usman Khawaja 34 not out, Khurram Shahzad 2-19)

Pakistan 271 all out, 101.5 overs (Imam-ul-Haq 62, Abdullah Shafique 42, Shan Masood 30; Nathan Lyon 3-66, Pat Cummins 2-35, Mitchell Starc 2-68, Travis Head 1-4, Mitchell Marsh 1-34, Josh Hazlewood 1-49)

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