Australia remains well on top after the third day and can still force a result but there was some silver linings in the dark gloom that Australia has gathered around Pakistan. Younis and Azhar batted really well, and Younis got to his 34th 100, his first at the SCG and first at this venue.
There was the expected resistance from the Pakistani batsmen finally and also the expected rain in the morning, washing out a session. But again not as much as we normally expect(neither the resistance or the rain). Azhar Ali and Younis Khan batted without too much fuss, except for a few moments of concern from Hazelwood, who has looked a totally different bowler. Always threatening and very much at the stumps.
There was an excellent partnership between Azhar and Younis Khan, before a freak runout got Azhar out when he looked set for another century. Misbah ul Haq looked a very tired man, not physically but mentally. He kept on trying to sweep Lyon on a wicket that was taking turn and bouncing a bit and looked like it would definitely result in a top edge at anytime. It was surprising cause the situation was well set for a batsman of Misbah’s calibre to really shut out Australia. Lyon and O Keefe didn’t really look like they could get a wicket. If you would pardon the expression, they are very one dimensional bowlers, who just have a single way of turning the ball and don’t really have much variety. Their strength lies in their consistency, but good batsmen should be able to easily counter their threat.
The wicket seems to be taking spin finally, but the spin is slow and the ball is keeping slightly low. It wouldn’t seem to worry any set batsmen. Pakistan gave away some wickets instead of sticking around with Younis, who batted imperiously. There were many well hit sweeps and quite a few drives. He used his feet well to Lyon and even when sweeping always got to the pitch of the ball, he didn’t really look like that he would be bothered by much.
He is now the only batsman to score centuries in all 12 Test playing countries. Pakistan needed to show some more steel along with their most experienced batsman. Except for Asad Shafiq, who was out to an exceptional catch from Steve Smith, every other dismissal was more batsman error orientated. Perhaps it has been a long tour and some of the guys just want to go home, but there is still plenty of time left in this game as yet.
So far, it seems that Australia will come out tomorrow, look to get the two wickets from Pakistan as soon as possible, not enforce the follow on but instead get batting again. Maybe bat for a session or so, encourage Pakistan to come and bat again for around 6 sessions and see if they get a clean sweep. It will be a real challenge for the batsmen again to save Pakistan’s blushes from another whitewash.