Recent Match Report – Australia vs Pakistan 3rd Test 2023/24

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Tea Australia 289 for 6 (Labuschagne 60, Marsh 50*, Salman 2-43) trail Pakistan 313 by 24 runs

In-form Mitchell Marsh once again capitalised on ragged Pakistan fielding as Australia inched towards a valuable first-innings lead in a see-saw third Test at the SCG.

Marsh scored his fourth half-century in five innings and combined with Alex Carey in a partnership of 84 for the sixth wicket to give Australia the edge. But Carey was bowled by offspinner Sajid Khan for 38 on the stroke of tea in a much-needed wicket for Pakistan.

Pakistan could be in a favourable position, but Marsh was given a life on 7 by debutant Saim Ayub, who dropped a chance at mid-off after diving forward off the bowling of Salman Agha. It’s been a tough initiation into Test cricket for Ayub, who earlier in the innings had spilled retiring opener David Warner in a sitter at first slip after making a second-ball duck in Pakistan’s first innings.

On day three of the Boxing Day Test, Marsh was given a life on 20 when Abdullah Shafique dropped a sitter at first slip in what proved a significant moment. Marsh made Pakistan pay with 90 and he is on track to do something similar in an innings where he mixed firm defence with cavalier strokeplay.

Australia will be eying a handy lead on an SCG surface that is expected to deteriorate as the match wears on with the expanding rough patches set to be particularly helpful for spin.

The contest had edged towards Pakistan when Australia fell to 205 for 5 shortly into the second session. No. 5 Travis Head, normally aggressive, played within himself during a tricky 20-minute period before lunch and scored just six runs off 25 balls. Head could never get going and he was given out lbw shortly after the interval when he was trapped on the front pad by quick Aamer Jamal in a decision upheld by the DRS.

Pakistan resisted taking the second new ball as Salman tried to lure Marsh into playing a rash stroke. But a patient Marsh picked off rare loose deliveries to continue his rich vein of form since a memorable ton in his Test comeback during the Ashes at Headingley.

Full report to follow…

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