This was the Pakistan of old that failed to show the steel required to stand up to a team that was bossing them around. A lot of pre-mediated shots as well as some tired shots could be seen. But if the day could be said to belong to someone, it was Mitchell Starc. He came in, bossed around Pakistan’s vaunted leg spinner, straight into the stands and then did a Wasim Akram to Pakistan. (Hope Wahab Riaz was taking notes on how to bowl fast and effectively.)
The wind had been taken out of the sails in the morning session, when Starc took over from Smith and clattered Yasir Shah to all parts of the ground. Once again, Pakistan bled runs, with no lack of control being exerted on the extremely quick scoring that was taking place. Smith looked like he was batting on a practice net session, kept bunting the ball into gaps and occasionally hitting the brilliant boundary. But take nothing away, he batted aggressively, ran aggressively and constantly believed that he would be able to force a result out of Pakistan. And it would be shown in the way he captained his team.
Once the Australians had declared their innings after piling on 600 odd runs with a lead of a 180+, it required a watchful approach from Pakistan to dent the Australian hopes. Usually in these kind of scenarios, the openers dig in and after a session of defending, usually Captains agree to call it a day. But Sami Aslam played a half hearted shot and bought the Australians straight away into the game. After that Starc was able to get Babar Azam out straight after lunch.
Smith had the right fields for his bowlers. It almost seemed that it was a different match, run scoring wasn’t easy but there were no real demons in the wicket. The wicket had continued to be a road as it had over the past four days. At this time, the old experienced veterans(Misbah and Younis) swept away their wickets to Lyon along with Asad Shafiq courtesy of an excellent bat pad catch(who might now be able to keep his place for the Sydney Test) and then Starc returned to deliver the coup de grace to the resistance that was continuing . Azhar was once again exemplary and very unlucky in the way that he got out. The first ball to misbehave on this surface, kept low and hit him in front of the stumps. And with him, went all of Pakistan’s hopes.
Sarfaraz tried as all Pakistani wicketkeepers do, and then Starc burst through. Wahab Riaz had once again no answers to his counter part who was reversing the ball at this stage in shades of Wasim Akram and no doubt buoyed on by his batting heroics earlier in the day. The rest was all history.
Pakistan can count themselves desperately unlucky in this test match, Mohammad Amir being the major victim, constantly going past the edge but unable to get a wicket. Throughout the Australian innings, the batsmen were troubled by the seamers consistently with the new ball but no edges materialized and the Australian batsmen continued their merry way, helped out by some weird field placings and the batting brilliance of Warner, Smith and Khawaja. But the lack of discipline in the bowling and the lack of control offered by Yasir on Australian pitches is becoming a growing problem. Inspite of torrential rain and so many sessions lost to it, the quick scoring rate from Australia enabled them to push for a result.
In summary, the team that kept on believing that it should win, won.