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HomeSportsCummins, Marsh rally; Pakistan regrets missed catches in Test

Cummins, Marsh rally; Pakistan regrets missed catches in Test

  • Pakistan misses crucial catch
  • Australia’s Marsh, Smith rescue
  • Test series advantage for Australia

Pakistan seemingly squandered their most opportune moment in a generation to secure a Test victory in Australia when Mitch Marsh seized a simple dropped catch to avert a historic collapse at the MCG on behalf of the hosts.

Marsh (96) and Steve Smith (50) rescued Australia from a dire start to a Test innings at the MCG since 1911, preventing Pakistan from reaching 4-16 in the Boxing Day Test.

The duo contributed 153 runs to Australia’s sixth-wicket stand of 187 at stumps on the third day, giving the hosts a 241-run lead and the opportunity to move ahead 2-0 in the three-match series and secure their sixteenth consecutive home Test victory against Pakistan.

However, on the final delivery of the day, Smith was dismissed by Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi (3-58), leaving wicketkeeper Alex Carey (16 not out) to recommence his partnership with Mitchell Starc on Friday.

Pakistan could have taken complete control of the Test if opening batsman Abdullah Shafique had not twice in three days dropped easy catches in the slips. On Thursday, with Australia on the verge of elimination at 4-46, Shafique missed a golden opportunity to dismiss Marsh after dropping Warner in the third over of the first day’s play.

“This was an enormous opportunity… “This could be the deciding factor in whether we win or lose this game,” said Pakistani legend Waqar Younis in Seven Network commentary. “Pakistan fought incredibly, extremely hard for the duration of this match, and that catch could prove to be decisive.”

Pakistan’s Victory Charge and a Missed Century

Pakistan’s improbable charge was dashed by the missed opportunity, as Marsh maintained his brilliant form since being recalled to the squad for the third Ashes Test of the year. However, an unexpected development occurred when Marsh (96) narrowly missed out on his fourth Test century after Salman Ali Agha held on to an extraordinary acrobatic catch in the slips.

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Smith struggled to fifty off 176 deliveries in his first Test appearance since the Ashes, which was the second-slowest fifty of his glittering career.

Afridi and Mir Hamza (3-27), both Pakistani quicks, instigated chaos for the tourists on either side of the lunch interval in order to secure the victory. Hamza completed a hat-trick by dismissing Travis Head (first-ball duck) and David Warner (6) in consecutive deliveries, leaving Australia floundering at 4-16.

The destructive spell evoked recollections of Pakistan’s golden age, during which formidable swing bowlers such as Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, and Imran Khan instilled fear in the opposing batsmen.

Warner was greeted with a standing ovation from the MCG audience as he exited the arena following his final Test innings at the renowned venue prior to his retirement following the series finale in Sydney next week.

During a chaotic 15 minutes of play on Thursday, Australia adjourned to lunch at 2-6 after Usman Khawaja (duck) and Marnus Labuschagne (4) both fell. Before the interval, Pakistan’s dismissal for 264 runs compelled Australia to bat for a challenging duration.

Cummins’ Decimation and Pakistan’s Tail-End Resilience

Formerly, in order to help terminate Pakistan’s innings, captain Pat Cummins took his tenth five-wicket haul in Tests earlier. Cummins, whose late-day two-wicket contribution shifted the second Test in Australia’s favour, finished with figures of 5-48 after taking two wickets on Thursday morning.

The infamously fragile tail of Pakistan overcame much more opposition than anticipated to increase their overnight tally from 6 to 194 in response to Australia’s 318. Aamer Jamal, a fast bowler, amassed an unblemished 33 runs, while Afridi (21), whose average with the bat is 6.74, amassed his highest Test score.

After joining the 500-wicket club during the first Test in Perth, spinner Nathan Lyon (4-73), who has the fifth-most Test scalps at the MCG and shows no indication of slowing down, provided Cummins with tremendous support. In terms of Australian bowlers who have amassed over 100 victims in Tests, Mitchell Starc follows Cummins with the second-highest strike-rate (48.94).

Pat Cummins leads Australia in Boxing Day Test as wickets fall

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