Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah ensured Pakistan came out on top after a hard-fought opening day of Test 3 against Australia on Monday at Lahore’s Gadaffi Stadium. Australia were limited to 232 for 5 at stumps, despite Pakistan not being at their best on the field.
Shaheen Afridi scored twice in his second over, much to the delight of Lahore fans as Test Cricket returned to Lahore for the first time since gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team. He got opener David Warner, who held LBW captive, and sacked in-form Marnus Labuschagne for 0.
Pakistan vs. Australia, highlights of Day 1 of the Lahore Test
However, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith hit resilient fifties to help Australia recover from the two early strikes. Khawaja missed his 3rd hundred of the Tour by just 9 runs, but the left-hander led in damage control and helped Australia to a respectable total in a spicier place than those offered at Rawalpindi and Karachi.
Khawaja and Steve Smith had a 138 run tally for the 3rd wicket as the duo batted 53.3 overs combined and blocked the attack on Pakistan.
Australia could have been in even bigger trouble but Pakistan failed to capitalize on the opportunities presented by Khawaja and Smith.
Khawaja, at 12, eager to dominate left arm spinner Nauman Ali from the start, flashed hard on a full throw but the edge flew under the hands of Babar Azam in the lone slip position.
On the next delivery, Nauman was able to make a direct return capture from Smith, who died on April 19.
After his solid performance on Day 1 of Test 3, Pacer Shaheen said, “I always try to take early wickets with the new ball. The wicket is pretty good for taking, my plan was to roll in the right areas.
“We haven’t gotten much help in the last two Tests so we’ve been thinking about being consistent bowling wicket-to-wicket. We (as a bowling group) wanted to carry out our plans and think we did,” he said.
PAKISTAN STRIKES LATE
Young Pacer Naseem, who had replaced Faheem Ashraf in the XI for the 3rd Test, broke the stand by bringing in Steve Smith for 59. Off-spinner Sajid Khan took the big wicket from Khawaja in the final session when Babar held Azam on a stunning catch on the slip chain.
Naseem Shah removed Travis Head for 20 to take his 2nd wicket but Cameron Green and Alex Carey were solid for their 20 and 8 respectively that didn’t come out. The duo helped Australia finish the game undamaged.