Sydney: Josh Hazlewood claimed three wickets in an electrifying over to bowl Australia into a potential winning position over Pakistan in an absorbing third Test in Sydney on Friday.
Paceman Hazlewood ripped through to reduce the tourists from 67 for four to go to the close on the third day at 68 for seven, a lead of 82, on a deteriorating Sydney Cricket Ground pitch.
Pakistan’s last genuine hopes of getting a challenging target on Thursday for Australia to chase in the fourth innings hinge on Mohammad Rizwan, who is six not out, and bowling hero Aamer Jamal who is yet to score.
Hazlewood swung the contest, taking 4-9 off five overs, after Australia snared two wickets for just one run in the first eight balls of the second innings to rock the Pakistan top order.
The visitors looked to have the edge after dismissing Australia for 299, to take a first-innings lead of 14, on the back of an inspired 6-69 from Jamal.
In a superb four-wicket spell after tea, Jamal first had Mitchell Marsh caught at mid-off by Shan Masood for 54.
Two balls later he had Pat Cummins lbw for a duck and. followed up with the dismissals of Nathan Lyon (5) and Hazlewood (0).
Australians roar back
But the stung Australians roared back removing Abdullah Shafique for his second nought of the Test and skipper Shan Masood first ball.
Young debutant Saim Ayub, out without scoring in the first innings, showed poise and technique in putting on 57 runs with Babar Azam, before he was lbw to Lyon for 33. It was Lyon’s 507th Test wicket.
Azam fell 14 balls later, getting a nick off Travis Head to wicketkeeper Alex Carey for 23. Then Hazlewood struck with his electrifying fifth over, the penultimate one of the day.
Earlier, Marsh continued his rich vein of form in Australia’s first innings after scores of 90, 63 not out and 96 in the first two Tests.
Marsh and Alex Carey (38) put on 84 to restore the innings after the loss of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Head earlier in the day.
Head was lbw to Jamal for 10, losing a review in the process after scores of 40, 14, 17 and 0 in the first two Tests of the series.
Pakistan grabbed the prized wickets of Smith and Labuschagne, who both average over 70 in Tests at the SCG, within the space of six balls.
Smith, on 38, was caught by a carefully laid Pakistani trap of a trio of fielders around short extra cover, off medium-pacer Hasan’s bowling.
He was soon followed by Labuschagne, bowled for 60 off 147 balls by off-spinner Salman.
It was a deserved reward for the toiling Pakistanis, who have battled away with disciplined bowling and determined fielding despite already losing the three-match series.