SYDNEY – Pacer Aamer Jamal led Pakistan’s charge against Australia’s lower order on day three, propelling them to a 14-run first innings lead in a closely contested third Test at the SCG.
Australia, with Mitchell Marsh’s resilient half-century, seemed poised for a crucial lead in an 84-run partnership with Alex Carey. However, Carey’s dismissal for 38 by spinner Sajid Khan triggered a remarkable collapse, losing 5 wickets for just 10 runs.
Jamal’s impressive six-wicket haul, including the key wickets of Marsh and Pat Cummins, played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s resurgence. His sixth wicket, dismissing Josh Hazlewood for a duck, capped off a stellar performance, finishing with figures of 6 for 69.
With the SCG surface expected to deteriorate, Pakistan’s hopes of breaking a 16-Test losing streak in Australia have been rejuvenated, especially with the rough patches favoring spin.
Australia’s Travis Head struggled, managing just 6 off 25 balls before falling lbw to Jamal. Despite a valiant effort from Marsh, who was given a lifeline by Saim Ayub’s dropped catch, the momentum shifted towards Pakistan as Australia slipped to 205 for 5.
Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith’s 79-run partnership, overcoming a short-ball barrage, was a brief period of control for Australia before both fell before lunch. Labuschagne reached a patient half-century, but Salman Agha’s delivery spun sharply off the rough to dismiss him for 60.
The day’s play also saw concerns raised about the pitch, with Smith expressing displeasure over a foreign object near the sightscreen.
Dedicated to the late Jane McGrath, wife of Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath, the third day of the traditional New Year’s Test added another layer of significance to the ongoing contest.