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Hosts finish the day at 465/6, ahead by 22 runs with the captain unbeaten on 100.

smith

By Abdullah Ansari (29th December, 2016)

Toss: Pakistan won the toss, Misbah-ul-Haq opted to bat first.

Teams

Australia: MT Renshaw, DA Warner, UT Khawaja, SPD Smith (c), PSP Handscomb, NJ Maddinson, MS Wade (wk), MA Starc, JR Hazlewood, NM Lyon, JM Bird.

Pakistan: Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz.

Play commenced early on Day 4 as expected and Pakistan straight away looked to have a clearer bowling plan. Wahab started well, bowling good lines to Khawaja who was not out on 95 overnight. Ably supported by Amir from the other end, the runs were blocked - it paid off in the fifth over of the day as Khawaja drove loosely at one outside off, edging behind to Sarfraz for 97. Handscomb began slowly until he took a liking to Wahab, hitting him for a few fours in an over as he looked to take over the mantle of the aggressor. Amir bowled well again but couldn't pick a wicket, despite beating Handscomb's edge approximately four times in an over. Yasir came on to bowl and the batsman was aggressive against him as well as the Pakistan bowlers wilted. Handscomb brought up his fifty with a boundary to long leg off Wahab, overtaking Smith who was kept relatively quiet at the other end. Amir returned to bowl with the second new ball and shelled a tough return catch as Pakistan continued probing away. After stringing together a few tight overs, it was Sohail who struck as Handscomb, looking a bit bogged down, drove one uppishly to get caught for 54. Smith, in the meantime, passed the fifty run mark yet again. The Paksitan bowlers got in a few more tough overs before Lunch with Australia going to the interval at 395/4.

Pakistan resumed after the break, looking to dry up the runs for the two Australian batsmen to try and induce a mistake. Maddinson was the one to oblige as he charged at Yasir, missing the delivery which spun back in to dislodge the bails. There was a scare for Azhar at short-leg as Wade smashed a pull straight at his helmet but he recovered from the blow to get back on his feet. Sohail got a further wicket as a slightly shortish delivery was enough to make Wade flash hard at it, getting a thick edge for an easy catch. Starc hit one big six off Yasir while Smith at the other end finally got to his 17th Test ton, off 168 balls. With the light fading, the umpires decided to take an early Tea and that proved to be Stumps as well, with the last session washed out due to a good amount of rain.

Summary: A much better day with the ball for Pakistan. There were periods where they were able to bowl consistently at last, enabling them to shut scoring down. In most cases, that also led to a wicket. However, Smith was firm and resolute at one end, ensuring that the Australians went past the first innings score by Pakistan and leaving them an outside chance of victory on the final day. The rain has probably ensured that a draw will be the outcome.

Fall of wickets:

3-282 (Khawaja, 62.1 ov)
4-374 (Handscomb, 85.4 ov)
5-433 (Maddinson, 104.3 ov)
6-454 (Wade, 111.3 ov)

Discuss!