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Captain fantastic! Pakistan lose 7-20 as Cummins, Starc spark stunning collapse to put Aussies in command

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23rd March, 2022
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Pat Cummins became the first Australian bowler this series to take five wickets in an innings as the m,oribund series against pakistan explode dinto life late on day three of the third Test.

After 13 days of mostly dull cricket, Cummins (5-56) and Mitchell Starc (4-33) reduced the home team to rubbleas they took the final 7-20 and the last 5-4.

Australia finished day three on 0-11 with a lead of 134.

Paksitan were well placed at 3-248 in reply to Australia’s first innings 391 before Starc started the incredible rout.

He bowled Fawad Alam with a beauty that cut through the gap of bat and pad and Pakistan’s batsmen lost the plot to some brilliant good length reverse swing.

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Starc followed up the Alam wicket by bowling Mohammad Rizwan for one before Cummins had Sajid Khan playing on. Cummins trapped Nauman Ali in front for a duck and Hasan Ali edged him behind for another nought.

Earlier, Azhar Ali (78) drove Cummins hard down the ground but the captain removed him with a classic catch.

“That was absolutely sensational, Pat Cummins, a remarkable catch,” Mike Haysman said in commentary.

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“He is extraordinary the way he is able to just keep coming,” said Robert Key. “He never lets up, every single ball.

“He’s been an inspired choice as captain.”

“Pakistan looked like they were setting in their nicely but Australia toiled hard, they hung in there just long enough and that second new ball with the reverse, a 123 run [first innings] lead is a big advantage,” Katich said.

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Katich said Cummins’ performance was “what you needed from a captain. There was not much happening in this series , on these wickets, then he stood up today, got that magnificent caught and bowled, big wicket of Azhar Ali and that’s changed the dimension of this Test.”

Cummins said the team had done a lot of work on their bowling length coming into the Test and they had executed well, while Katich noted the key was they didn’t bowl too full.

“Yes, they pitched the ball up at times but those wickets , a lot were top of the stump length and that’s hard for the batsmen when it starts to reverse, they get caught on the crease and we saw a number of bowleds in the last session.”

The blur of falling wickets has opened the match and series wide open for Australia.

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“We know if Dave Warner gets going he’ll like to score quickly,” Katich said. “That’s something that will put pressure on this Pakistan team. They know there’s lots to play for and a lot of hard work to be done.”

Cummins said he felt the team had bowled well in the first two sessions without due reward.

“The message at tea was hang in there. We saw in our batting things can happen quickly, especially when the ball’s reversing.

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“We got that breakthrough through Starcy and things sped up.”

He said the focus on the bowling length had been two fold. “The first one to maintain the scoring rate and that’s where we feel where the most opportunities present themselves on this wicket – there’s not a lot of bounce so we thought we could hit that seven, eight metre length and still hit the top of the stumps.”

Cummins said everything happened too fast for him to consider his plans for the next two days in terms of a declaration, but added: “We’ve given ourselves a big opportunity.”

Cummins also paid tribute to Starc’s efforts.

“I’ve got the luckiest job in the world playing alongside someone like Starcy at the other end or Nath Lyon. It’s awesome, as captain I feel there so many options of who to throw the ball to.”

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