• Thu. Jul 7th, 2022

‘Really, guys?’ Pakistan’s horror triple blunder spares Aussie openers


Mar 24, 2022

Fresh from a stunning collapse of 7-20 on day three, Pakistan needed to bounce back strongly on Thursday to stay in the third Test against Australia.

This was not the start Pakistan captain Babar Azam had in mind.

Pakistan needed to take every chance possible in Lahore but inside the first hour of play, it had handed massive reprieves to both openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner.

Warner was let off the hook in the fifth over when an outside edge to Hasan Ali went undetected by the entire team.

Replays — which were also shown at the ground and were seen by Hasan — showed a small spike on Ultra Edge as the ball past the bat.

“Look at that … a little nick, a heartbeat,” Mike Haysman said in commentary. “No one, no one went up. No response from anybody. ‘Really, guys?’.”

Waqar Younis said that Pakistan didn’t appear to be switched on at the start of the day, with thoughts of day three still at the forefront of minds.

“This can happen when you sit back on your heels, not really focused and thinking about what happened yesterday,” he said.

Pakistan’s woes only became deeper from there.

Teen speedster Naseem Shah clean bowled Khawaja for 31 with a delivery that stayed low.

He celebrated wildly and shouted in Khawaja’s direction, but the wicket was ruled out due to a no ball.

The missed chances allowed Khawaja and Warner to get set, and quickly rack up runs for Australia in the hunt for an earlier declaration.

Marnus Labuschagne then became the third consecutive Aussie batter to be given a life by Pakistan.

Early in the second session, he hit his reverse sweep straight to Nauman Ali who misjudged the flight and went under the ball, much to the anger of his captain Babar Azam.

And then Steve Smith became the fourth as Azhar Ali put down an absolute sitter in the outfield to give the right-hander a second life in the final session.

Victory in Lahore will see Australia claim its first away Test series win since February 2016.

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