MELBOURNE: Australia’s captain Pat Cummins picked his second ten-wicket haul in Test cricket and helped his side register a 79-run victory against Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Friday.
Australia bowled out Pakistan for 237 in the fourth innings in the pursuit of 317 to win the three-match Test series 2-0.
While chasing 317, Pakistan lost opening batter Abdullah Shafique (4) in the fifth over as he edged to Usman Khawaja in slips off Mitchell Starc.
Skipper Shan Masood joined Imam-ul-Haq and they knitted a formidable 41-run stand for the second wicket, which was dominated by the former.
However, Australian skipper Pat Cummins got Imam-ul-Haq out LBW in front of the stumps early in the second session, which was reviewed by the batter but the third umpire upheld the on-field decision, breaking the partnership.
Masood was joined by Babar Azam and together they formed a dominant partnership of 61 runs to push the team’s total past the 100-run mark.
Cummins once again broke the partnership as he dismissed his Pakistani counterpart with a brilliant catch by Steve Smith in the slips.
Masood departed after a well-fought 60 off 71, laced with seven boundaries.
Azam then shared a brief 36-run partnership with Saud Shakeel before Josh Hazlewood produced a gem to hit the stumps going through the batters’ defence.
Azam scored 41 runs from 79 balls, with the help of four boundaries.
Mitchell Starc got Saud Shakeel (24) caught behind to send him back to the pavilion and reduce Pakistan to 162-5.
Mohammad Rizwan and Agha Salman produced a fighting partnership of 57 runs to give Pakistan hope to chase the daunting total.
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However, a controversial caught-behind decision off Cummins saw Rizwan depart after a gutsy 35 with 219 runs on the board.
Cummins appealed for a caught behind but the umpire refused the appeal, prompting Cummins to review.
The review showed that the ball went past very closely to Rizwan’s wrist band and the hotspot showed no mark as Rizwan looked away from the ball in the last second.
However, the third umpire decided to overturn the decision after viewing the ball from different angles as there was a spike as the ball passed Rizwan’s wristband much to the batter’s disbelief.
Australian bowlers dominated from there as they did not allow any incoming batter to open their account, while Agha Salman completed his fighting half-century.
Starc dismissed Salman as Mitchell Marsh took a sharp running catch at third man, followed by a stunning catch by Smith to dismiss Mir Hamza and wrap up Pakistan’s innings at 237.
Cummins led the Australian bowling charts with 5-49, while Starc picked four wickets for 55 runs.
Earlier in the day, Australia resumed their innings with 187 runs on the board at a loss of six wickets and Alex Carey standing firm at 16.
Carey led the charge amid Pakistan’s brilliant pace bowling as he was involved in two brief partnerships of 22 and 28 with Mitchell Starc (9) and Pat Cummins (16) respectively to drag the team’s total to 237.
Carey was the last man to fall as he was out lbw off an inswinging ball by Mir Hamza, which he asked to review but to no avail and the Australian innings was wrapped up at 262, setting Pakistan a 317-run target.
Hamza returned with impressive bowling figures of 4-32 for Pakistan, while Shaheen Afridi picked up four wickets and conceded 76 runs.
Meanwhile, Aamir Jamal contributed with two wickets and gave away 74 runs.
Notably, Australia defeated Pakistan in the first Test by 360 runs in Perth after bowling the visitors for 89 in the fourth innings in Perth.