Drop catches of Labuschange, Khawaja cost Pakistan on Day 3

Published: 07:34 PM, 6 Mar, 2022
Drop catches of Labuschange, Khawaja cost Pakistan on Day 3
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Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja, dropped opportunities, heap misery in Pakistan as the hosts were badly exposed on another weather-shortened Day 3 of the first Test match against Australia, played at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

Earlier, Australia resumed their first innings at the overnight score of 5 without loss in one over and it took very little time for Warner and especially Khawaja to unleash hell on Pakistani bowlers, this correspondent had earlier warned Pakistani team management had badly missed the trick by opting to enter the match against such mighty opponents with only 4 bowlers with Iftikhar as more off batting al-rounder, but no heed was paid, despite the fact, the Sunday morning was highly in favour of pacers, as gloomy and overcast cast conditions were ideal for Shaheen and Naseem and they both did troubled Australian openers, but after few early nerves, both openers looked completely set, especially Khawaja was in devastating form, he hit boundaries at will and at one stage Australian’s were scoring more than 4 runs an over.

Khawaja was especially highly fortunate as first Fawad dropped a dolly catch and then it was Muhammad Rizwan’s turn to give another charm life to the left handed opener, while on the other hand, Warner was mostly living under Khawaja’s shadows, as the Pakistani born left hander was dealing in boundaries, but once Khawaja entered into 70s, he started to consume more dot deliveries, while the introduction of Iftikhar gave Warner license to kill, as the flamboyant lefty, hit three boundaries of the very first over of Ifikhar, Warner was also settled down and was scoring quick runs, before Sajid Khan finally gave massive crowd something to cheer, as he cleaned up Warner with a perfect delivery, but not before Warner had scored 68 with the help of 12 boundaries both openers were involved in 156 runs stand, Khawaja after losing his partner never showed any signs of slowing down and came down the wicket to hit both spinners Nauman and Sajid Khan at will, he never showed any nerves in 90s and continue to create shots, while attempting a reverse sweep, the ball jump into the air, Imam grabbed the ball, all Pakistani fielders jumped in air including bowler Nauman, but Aleem Dar was not in mood to raise is finger, Babar after consulting Rizwan took the review and it was spot on, as replays clearly showed spike at the toe-end of the bat, Khawaja departed after scoring superb 97, studied with 15 boundaries, pack to capacity Rawapindi crowd rise on their seats to give resounding ovation to Khawaja.

Smith joined Labuschagne at the crease, as we all know, Smith takes time before settling down and there were few butterflies in Smith’s stomach, but Smith negotiated Shaheen and Naseem well, both Shaheen and Naseem had glared at Aussie pair, but like we know, Labuschagne and Smith are masters when it comes to mind games, both were not bothered about Pakistani pacers tactics.

Labuschagne played some wonderful shots to complete his maiden 50 on Pakistani soil, while Smith was looking comfortable, just when bad light comes into play; floodlights were fully functional, but after only few overs, slight drizzle also started and light was also not good to continue play and umpires call it the day, but not before Labuschagne was unbeaten at 69 with the help of 9 fours and Smith was batting at 24 with 3 boundaries, both were involved in 68 runs third wicket unbroken stand, Sajid and Nauman had shared a wicket apiece, while Shaheen, Naseem and Iftikhar remained wicket less.

Australia scored 266 runs on day-2 in 72 overs with the run rate of 3.71, while Pakistan while they were batting consumed 162 overs to put 476 runs on the board with less than 3 runs an over, had Australia was batting first, they would have posted around 600 runs in as many overs, what is the purpose of preparing such batting paradise, securing 4 points won’t help Pakistan cause, but it would serve quite well to Australia, like Cummins had said, we will consider as win win situation, if we manage a draw at Rawalpindi, it was huge disappointment for massive local crowd, who wanted to see their team doing wonders, but Pakistan team management just decided to provide out of touch Imam, Azhar and others full chances to secure their places for next two test matches, it will make no sense if Pakistan Cricket Board keep on producing dead pitches for the coming tours of New Zealand and England, it is high time PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja must take notice of the situation and try to ensure pitches suited both to batters and bowlers.

Categories : Sports
Mohsin Ali

Mohsin Ali is a seasoned senior sports journalist, analyst and writer from Islamabad. Mohsin Ali never hesitates to appreciate the new talent as well as point out their flaws. He keeps nudging sports federations and authorities without any concessions to make them realise their incompetence and wrong decisions and always strive for the betterment of Pakistani sports.