The men’s first Test between Pakistan and Australia is heading for a draw on a lifeless Rawalpindi pitch, but the final session of matchday four was host to some absorbing moments.
Just as Australia fly-half Usman Khawaja (97) did on day three, teammates Marnus Labuschagne (90) and Steve Smith (78) both squandered a chance to make a hundred as Australia struggled to stumps at 7-449, behind Pakistan’s first excavation. by 27.
The last session kicked three wickets, which in the context of this largely uneventful test can be seen as a Pakistani blitz, as tweaker Nauman Ali and paceman Naseem Shah reinvigorated the game.
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Ali executed a clever tactic to take out Cameron Green (48) and replicated the strategy to fire Smith four overs later, tossing the ball wide outside the leg stump and urging them to sweep as he made the counters.
“They’re happy because they’ve bought a wicket,” former England Test batsman Rob Key said on Fox Cricket as Green moved from midfield.
Shah then sent Australian glover Alex Carey on his way in the penultimate innings of the day when he produced a magnificent bowling delivery around the wicket.
The right arm quickly angled the ball into the southpaw, shredded it and crashed it high.
Carey never looked like he had a bat and sureties flew.
” And that ! said Key.
“It’s an absolute beauty. It’s turned into a stump. Made by length and speed more than anything.”
Former Pakistan international Urooj Mumtaz called Shah’s delivery “absolutely stunning”.
“Perfect length,” she said.
“How often do you see this?
“Hit the top and he did it absolutely perfectly.
Ali, an orthodox left-arm bowler, finished the day with the numbers 4-107 from 37 overs.
Smith had been looking for his first Test century since January 2021, when he took off 131 against India at SCG.
The insatiable right-hander has completed 27 test hundreds but has now gone 11 innings without hitting triple figures.
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