Australia v Pakistan 3rd Test – 5 Talking Points
Updated - Jan 7, 2017 7:05 am
Pakistan and done and dusted. Steve Smith & Co. have won the series 3-0 and the inevitable happened. On the last day, Pakistan started with Azhar Ali and Yasir Shah and 51 runs in their account. Australia needed just 9 wickets to finish the game up; the visitors needed a mindset to get runs and not just count on the overs. Nathan Lyon and Steven O’Keefe picked the momentum after the initial burst from Hazlewood and didn’t quit let the Pakistani’s escape. Eventually, they were all and out on 244 before the tea interval and the Aussies completed a clean sweep.
1. Australian spinners hunt in pair
The Aussie spinners haven’t quite had a say in the series; rather the spinners on the whole. Yasir Shah who has been so effective for Pakistan hasn’t had the least of impacts he would have liked. But on the last day of the Test on a crumbling SCG wicket, Lyon and O’Keefe got into the act together. They bowled good lines, stuck to the target and were willing to wait – to wait for the batsmen to make the mistake. An attribute that would yield them rich rewards on the tour to India.
Lyon bowled 27 overs and picked 2 for 100 while O’Keefe certainly had better figures to show with 3/53 in his 17. This experience and feeling of coming into the party for the team will certainly help their cause on their way to the subcontinent.
2. The Cult hero – Mickey Edwards
David Warner had to walk off the field for a bit and with Jackson Bird already there in as a substitute for Matt Renshaw a new face came in as a sub for Warner. Nobody had seen him before; he was surely not a part of the Australian squad. The commentators were wondering as well. But the blonde dude with long hair got a huge cheer from the SCG crowd they loved his cult look and it turns out he is a cricketer. Mickey Edwards plays for New South Wales and also for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL. When Warner was back and time for our hero to take off the jersey the crowd wasn’t pleased and there were boos in the SCG.
3. Sarfaraz Ahmed
Amidst all that and his teammates giving in against the Aussies, one man who has stood out on most occasions and hasn’t walked off without a fight wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed defied the Aussies yet again and got together the lower order to contribute a bit as well. He scored almost a run-a-ball 72 in a situation while swimming against the tide and though he couldn’t impact the outcome of the game definitely talks a lot about his character. Sarfaraz’s performance is one of the positives Pakistan would want to take back.
4. Will Misbah stay?
Without an ounce of doubt, Misbah-ul-Haq is one Pakistan cricket need. Even though he hasn’t been able to contribute substantially with the bat he certainly is the leader they need at this time. The kind of report he has with all the players in the team and the respect he commands along with the fact that there is no other player with that potential and enough credibility who could be appointed immediately if he hangs his boots. But that cannot keep away the fact that the time is near for him to take the big call. After the game though he dodged the question and said, “There is a lot of time before I retire. For now, there is the one-day series, then there is the Pakistan Super League,”
5. Boosting win for Australia before the tough ride
The Aussies are definitely rejoicing the series win here but they certainly have this on the back of their mind that they have to soon pack their bags and leave for India. Their record in the subcontinent coupled with Virat Kohli & Co’s dominance at home makes it even tougher. Lyon and O’Keefe were probably at their best today but the conditions and pitches in India will be completely different. Australian spinners who have done well down under haven’t really been able to translate it there.
Keeping the worries aside Steve Smith and Darren Lehmann will be mighty pleased they are back the winning ways and will want the team to remember the feeling of victory and to want to keep that with them since the real test is just around the corner.