Pakistan and Australia will lock horns in the final game of their three-match Test series, starting on Monday, March 21. The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will host the encounter.
Pakistan and Australia have drawn their first two Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi so far. While the first game turned out to be a damp squib, the second Test at the National Stadium kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The hosts conceded a massive first-innings lead of 408 runs to their opponents.
Usman Khawaja’s 160-run knock put the Aussies in the driver’s seat. Despite a big lead, the visitors didn’t enforce the follow-on and declared their second innings on 97 for two. With over 500 runs to win, the home team found themselves in quite a bit of trouble.
After Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq, both of whom scored tons in the Rawalpindi Test, got out, Australia would have fancied their chances of taking a 1-0 lead in the series. But Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafique put on 228 runs for the third wicket to put Pakistan in a commanding position.
While Babar scored a massive 196, Shafique made 96 runs. After both perished, it was Mohammad Rizwan who put his head down and took Pakistan to a draw. The Aussies picked up seven wickets, but resistance from Rizwan and Nauman Ali denied them a victory.
THE TEAM NEWS
Pakistan was able to grind out a resolute draw and almost pulled off the unthinkable as they attempted to chase down a target of 506 in what was a brilliant second Test match in the series against Australia.
That now back-to-back draws with just one game left to decide the series but with key batsmen Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan performing so well in the second innings of the second game, they could well prove to be the difference between the two teams.
Australia was left frustrated in their efforts to clinch the win in the second game of the series against Pakistan and that frustration will largely surround their decision not to enforce the follow-on after superb first innings.
Usman Khawaja continued his fine series with a knock of 160 with his opening effort and he now boasts more runs than any other player from the two games to date with the opener set to be important to his side’s chances of claiming victory in the series.
PAKISTAN VS AUSTRALIA, 3RD TEST MATCH DETAILS:
Match: Pakistan vs Australia, 3rd of three Tests.
Date: 21 March 2022.
Time: 10:30 AM IST.
Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
The pitch at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore has been an excellent one for batting over the years. Bowlers will have to work hard to get wickets in at least the first two days of the game. Winning the toss and batting first should be the way forward for teams.
The playing conditions will be cool throughout the five days. There is no chance of rain for the time being. The temperature will be around the 35-degree Celsius mark.
PREDICTED PLAYING XI
Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Sajid Khan
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson
TOP PICKS – BATTERS
Babar Azam batted for more than 400 balls to help his team save the match and looked determined in that knock of 196. He will look to play a good knock once again.
Usman Khawaja has looked the most secure batter throughout the series and he will once again be the hot pick in the batting section. He got a big century in the previous match.
TOP PICKS – ALL-ROUNDERS
Faheem Ashraf has been doing well in the last few series although he did not click with the bat he picked up crucial wickets with the ball and will once again be the man to watch out for.
TOP PICKS – BOWLERS
Mitchell Starc got 3 wickets in the previous match and got the ball to reverse so he will be a handful in this match.
Nathan Lyon picked up 4 wickets in the previous Test and that would give him a lot of confidence. The off-spinner will look to put up a good show in this match.
TOP PICKS – WICKET KEEPERS
Alex Carey missed out on a century (93) but looked secure while batting, he can be backed to do well in this match.
The pitch in the first two Tests turned out to be helpful for the batters. It won’t be a surprise if the hosts prepare a similar track at the Gaddafi Stadium. Another drawn game seems to be the cards.