Recent Match Report – Australia vs Pakistan 3rd Test 2021/22
The pair put on a record 135-run partnership – the highest sixth-wicket stand for Australia in Pakistan
Tea Australia 391 (Khawaja 91, Green 79, Carey 67, Smith 59, Naseem 4-58, Afridi 4-79) vs Pakistan
Australia were dismissed late in the second session of day two with Naseem gained reward for superb bowling throughout the innings to finish with 4 for 58 from 31 overs. He starred with disciplined bowling on day one, then produced mesmerising reverse swing on day two to restrict Australia.
Australia’s total was lifted by Green (79) and Alex Carey (67) producing a record 135-run partnership – the highest sixth-wicket stand for Australia in Pakistan. But they both missed out on maiden Test centuries after falling early in the second session as Pakistan clawed back into the topsy-turvy contest.
The breakthrough came almost out of nowhere when left-arm spinner Nauman Ali darted a quicker delivery that trapped Carey on the crease as the batter reviewed in vain. Having for the second straight innings not converted a half-century, Carey failed in his bid to become Australia’s first wicketkeeper to hit a ton since Brad Haddin in the 2013-14 Ashes.
Shortly after, Green endured similar disappointment when he was clean bowled by a cracker of an inswinger from Naseem, who was in the midst of terrific swing bowling and he eventually won a riveting contest between two of cricket’s brightest young talents.
Green’s 163-ball knock was a mixture of strong defence, marked by an intent to get his huge frame forward, and exquisite strokes on the off side as he fell just short of his highest Test score of 84.
With Green and Carey failing to convert, Usman Khawaja remains Australia’s only centurion of the three-Test series, the first played between the teams in Pakistan since 1998, and he top-scored in the first innings here too with 91.
With their tails up, Pakistan’s quicks aimed to get through Australia’s tail quickly. Excited by reverse swing, Shaheen Shah Afridi was perhaps a little bit too overeager but he eventually picked up Mitchell Starc for 13 and finished with four wickets.
It was a strong comeback from Pakistan who appeared set for a long session amid oppressive conditions.
After lunch, Green signalled his intent with an attempted heave off spinner Nuaman Ali that skewed to the boundary. He looked to be more aggressive and capitalise on Australia’s momentum but batting became trickier in a rare sight this series amid rampant reverse swing.
Australia couldn’t quite produce a formidable first-innings total but it was still a strong recovery after teetering at 8 for 2 after the early wickets of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne.
Having started day two in a delicate position at 232 for 5, Carey and Green batted through the first session to frustrate Pakistan and restore Australia’s control. They batted fluently to score over three runs an over in the opening session in a far cry from sedate periods on day one when Australia were pinned down by nagging Pakistan bowling.
They were relatively untroubled although Carey was reprieved in a comical series of events when he was given out for a supposed lbw shout off a piercing Hasan Ali yorker. Replays showed the delivery missed his boot and bat but shaved the off stump only for the bails not to dislodge. But umpire Aleem Dar had given him out caught behind only for reviews confirming the ball bounced well in front of wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.
It was all rather confusing but Carey survived and then notched his second straight half-century having come into the series under some pressure after an inconsistent Ashes with bat and gloves. His 105-ball knock was marked by superb driving to thwart the quicks and perfectly executing reverse sweeps to fluster the spinners.
Just as Australia seemed to be getting away, Pakistan fought back through Naseem’s heroics to leave this pivotal Test in the balance.
Tristan Lavalette is a journalist based in Perth