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Australia v Pakistan, 2nd Test Day 3: 5 Talking Points

Usman Khawaja of Australia
Usman Khawaja of Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

While David Warner completed his century for Australia, it was Usman Khawaja who was left stranded on 95 and will be expected to join Warner as the Aussies take the field in the morning session of play. However, in spite of this, there will be a lot of butterflies as far as the southpaw is concerned as it certainly is not every day that one is stranded on the verge of a well-deserved century. One thing that will work in the Australia batsman’s favor would be the fact that the MCG wicket is a clear batting paradise, something that will ensure a massive and competitive score for the hosts as well.

While the duo batted extremely well, it was the luck factor that came into play as Wahab Riaz simply could not control the fact that he overstepped the line as much as he did. So much so that he breached Warner’s defenses, only for it to be called a no-ball. While that was certainly a talking point, here are five talking points at the close of play for the Aussies on the day.

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1. Azhar Ali completes impressive double

Azhar Ali’s impressive form in recent times has seen him become one of the most important players in the Pakistan side. While there is a clear contrarian view on how Azhar has issues while batting in different conditions, it seems clear that he has been one of those players who has rather excelled in overseas conditions as compared to the most of his teammates in recent times.

When Azhar Ali completed his double century at the MCG, there were a few records to his name. Of course, the most prominent of these records include the fact that he becomes the first Pakistani to complete two double centuries in a calendar year. What is better is the fact that he has amassed both these tons in overseas conditions including one in the second Test match against England. This is certainly a hallmark of not only his incredible batting acumen but also his character, something that makes him the top contender for the skipper’s role in the future.

2. The tail wags as Mohammad Amir impresses with the bat

A feature of the new and rejuvenated Pakistani batting unit has been the fact that they bat extremely deep. The depth in their batting has seen them come up trumps in recent times including the fact that they have been successfully preventing collapses since South African Mickey Arthur took over. The part of the tail that can frustrate the opposition whilst adding the important runs largely comprises of Mohammad Amir and Sohail Khan. The previous evening had seen Amir slash his way to a quick 24 as his contribution was duly noted. However, it was Sohail Khan who stole the show with a whirlwind run-a-ball 65 runs to his name. There was also the reason for one and all to cheer as the fireworks were there for all to see as Sohail’s innings included 6 boundaries and 4 sixes.

3. Yasir Shah strikes early for Pakistan

Yasir Shah has been Pakistan’s best bowler in the Test circuit by a country mile. The 30-year old has also flirted with the number one tag on multiple occasions in the Test arena, especially following his impressive outing in the first Test against England at Lord’s. However, on the day as well, Yasir ensured that he left his mark on the innings once again as he dismissed uncanny Matt Renshaw early on in the innings. A wrong’un from Yasir ensured that the defenses of Matt Renshaw were well and truly breached and that the visitors had their first wicket.

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4. David Warner stands tall yet again

David Warner has had a tremendous year in Tests. Australia might not have been the world leader and also may have been on the receiving end of a few results overseas and at home as well, but the consistency of Warner has been an absolute joy for the Aussies to watch. Apart from being one of those players who has indeed nailed down a place in the squad, his 144 on the third day in Melbourne was a hallmark of Warner’s increasing influence on the side. The 28-year old was impressive with the bat for the most part as he went on to smash the ball to different parts and also proved that lady luck was well and truly smiling upon him when he survived a wave of Wahab Riaz. Of course, he would be dismissed by the 32-year old pacer but Warner survived in spite of being cleaned up by Wahab on the day. Apart from that, it was a trademark Warner performance with the bat.

5. Usman Khawaja moves closer to hundred

Left-handed batsman Usman Khawaja had a terrible time with the bat in Sri Lanka. However, he has turned his form around rather significantly with a string of high scores with the bat in recent times also meaning that his numbers have looked good including his unbeaten 95 at the MCG on the third day’s play. While he brandished his variety of sweeps and impressive cover-drives, cuts and pulls have all been things that have seen him coast over to an abundance of tuns in recent times. His 95, though unlucky to conclude at the close of play, is expected to convert to a hundred as the following day beckons.

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