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Pakistan fast bowlers Afridi, Naseem put Australia in trouble


Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam (L) celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Australia’s Usman Khawaja (not pictured) during the first day of the third and final Test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on March 21, 2022. — AFP
  • Afridi and Naseem take two wickets each.
  • Australia reach 232-5 after opting to bat.
  • In-form Khawaja top scores with 91.

LAHORE: Quick bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah picked up two wickets apiece on Monday to lead Pakistan’s inspired performance against Australia on the first day of the deciding third and final test in Lahore.

Afridi, 21, did the early damage, striking twice in his second over to dismiss opener David Warner for seven and No. 3 Marnus Labuschagne before he had scored, to reduce Australia to 8-2 after they won the toss and opted to bat.

Naseem, 19, drafted into the Pakistan side in place of all-rounder Faheem Ashraf, hurt the tourists in the final session, dismissing a well-set Steve Smith for 59 and Travis Head for 26 as Australia reached 232-5 at the close.

All-rounder Cameron Green was unbeaten on 20 for Australia with wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey eight not out.

After their shaky start, it was opener Usman Khawaja who led Australia’s fightback with a resilient 91, adding to scores of 97, 160 and 44 not out in his last three innings in his country of birth.

The left-handed Khawaja, who added 136 for the third wicket with Smith, appeared set for his 12th test hundred before Pakistan captain Babar Azam completed a one-handed catch at slip off spinner Sajid Khan.

Smith, Australia’s batting mainstay, was out leg before for 59 after completing his third successive half-century.

The first two tests of the series — the first between the sides in Pakistan since 1998 — were drawn.

Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium was hosting a test match for the first time since the 2009 attack by gunmen on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team.

After left-armer Afridi’s two early wickets, Australia could have been in even deeper trouble but Pakistan failed to capitalise on chances offered by Khawaja and Smith.

Looking to dominate left-arm spinner Nauman Ali from the onset, Khawaja, on 12, flashed hard at a full-pitched delivery but the edge flew under the hands of Babar Azam in the lone slip position.

On the next delivery, Nauman failed to hold a straightforward return catch from Smith, who was on 19. Off-spinner Sajid also spilled a return catch off Head when he was on seven.

Playing XI

Australia: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Nathan Lyon.

Pakistan: Imam Ul Haq, Abdullah Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (C), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Hassan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah.



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