Pakistan is in Trouble as Australia Dominate the Test Match

PERTH: Pakistan’s hopes of saving the third and final test match against Australia faded away as the hosts tightened their grip on the game at the Perth Stadium on Saturday.

Resuming their second innings at 64 for 2, Pakistan lost six wickets for 177 runs and ended the day at 241 for 8, still trailing by 246 runs with only two wickets in hand.

The visitors were undone by the pace and bounce of the Australian bowlers, who exploited the conditions well and kept the pressure on the batsmen throughout the day.

Mitchell Starc was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon chipped in with two each. Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh claimed one wicket apiece.

Pakistan’s top order once again failed to provide a solid start, as Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq fell to Lyon in quick succession. Shafique, who scored a gritty 42 in the first innings, was caught by David Warner at slip for 15, while Imam, who made a patient 62 in his comeback innings, was stumped by Alex Carey for 18.

Shan Masood, who was leading the side in the absence of injured Azhar Ali, tried to steady the ship with a fluent 30, but he too fell to a sharp catch by Carey off Starc.

Khurram Shahzad, who was promoted to number four as a nightwatchman, could not last long and was bowled by Cummins for seven.

Babar Azam, Pakistan’s best batsman in the series, looked in good touch and played some elegant strokes, but he fell victim to a loose shot and edged Marsh to Carey for 21.

Saud Shakeel, who impressed with his maiden test fifty in the first innings, showed some resistance and added 45 runs with Sarfaraz Ahmed for the sixth wicket. However, he also perished to a soft dismissal when he drove Hazlewood to Warner at short cover for 28.

Sarfaraz, who was playing his first test since being sacked as captain last year, did not last long either and was bowled by Starc for three.

Agha Salman and Faheem Ashraf then tried to delay the inevitable and put on 24 runs for the eighth wicket. But Cummins broke through when he had Ashraf caught by Usman Khawaja at gully for nine.

Aamer Jamal, who took four wickets in his debut innings, survived till stumps with Salman, who was unbeaten on 13.

Earlier, Australia had declared their first innings at 487 for 10 after adding 40 runs to their overnight score of 447 for 9. Starc remained not out on 52, while Jamal took the last wicket of Lyon for eight.

The match is part of the Benaud-Qadir Trophy, which is named after two legendary leg-spinners from both countries. Australia has already clinched the trophy after winning the first two tests in Brisbane and Adelaide by an innings margin.

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