Recent Match Report – Australia vs Pakistan 1st Test 2023/24

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Australia 487 lead Pakistan 271 (Imam 62, Shafique 42, Lyon 3-66) by 216 runs

Offspinner Nathan Lyon finished tantalisingly on 499 Test wickets as Australia’s formidable attack bowled relentlessly on day three to thwart Pakistan in the first Test at the Optus Stadium. Having taken three wickets in the first innings, the tension was palpable as Lyon tried to reach the 500 Test-wicket milestone late in the second session and wrap Pakistan up.

But he was thwarted by Salman Ali Agha and Shaheen Shah Afridi, who ultimately holed out to part-time spinner Travis Head as the fans in the terraces groaned. Thus, Lyon will have to wait just a little bit longer to become the eighth bowler to reach the landmark, and join Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as the only Australians to do so.

Showing no signs of fatigue after a taxing year and less than a month since Australia’s World Cup triumph, quicks Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc claimed five wickets between them. Cummins and Hazlewood, particularly, were tireless as they chipped away on a surface which appeared to be playing better than on the previous two days.

Pakistan fell away after talisman Babar Azam on 21 fell to allrounder Mitchell Marsh, whose short-of-a-length delivery had him caught behind. It continued an outstanding match for Marsh, who had made 90 in Australia’s first innings to justify the faith of the selectors to stick with him over Western Australia team-mate Cameron Green.

Pakistan lost 3 for 14 before lunch, as their hopes of avoiding a 15th straight Test defeat in Australia sank. Lyon bowled a couple of overs after lunch but could not add to his tally. Australia took the second new ball, but Starc was unable to find his earlier rhythm with one errant delivery barely pitching on the surface and flying through the slips to the boundary.

Full report to follow…

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