Australia complete ‘comprehensive’ sweep in Sydney

Steven Smith

Steven Smith’s fresh Baggy wearers secured another crushing victory over the lackluster visitors in Sydney to complete yet another clean sweep against Pakistani touring side, making it 12 consecutive wins and four straight clean sweeps in a row in home Tests.

When tailender Imran Khan skewed the second new ball to gully, it prompted a victory whistle reminiscent of Australia’s 5-0 triumph over England three years ago.

The final victory margin was 220 runs as Pakistan never looked to chase the target of 465 set by Australia.

Pakistan entered the day last day of Australian summer knowing that no team had scored more than 411 runs in the first innings at the SCG, and even that could not save England from a defeat by 200 runs when they managed that mammoth tally in 1924-25 Ashes.

And also, the most successful fourth innings chase on a pitch that historically becomes increasingly spin-friendly due to the wear and tear was 2-288 by Australia against South Africa

So from the Pakistani point of view, a draw seemed the best-case scenario.

The result was scarcely in doubt for much of the afternoon as Josh Hazlewood struck twice in the first hour of play to give visitors a shock. Then onwards, Nathon Lyon and Steve O’Keefe took no time to run through the Pakistan line-up claiming figures of 2-100 and 3-53 respectively.

Hazlewood removed Azhar Ali in the first over of the courtesy a return catch and followed up by claiming the wicket of talented Babar Azam who was pinned in front of leg stump.

Lyon’s perseverance and accuracy was rewarded when Younis Khan charged him down the wicket at a slower, droopier delivery that teased him to whack it in the leg-side infield as he did so successfully during his epic 175* knock in the first innings, but could only manage a leading edge which was held safely by mid-on fielder.

Yasir Shah, who was sent as a nightwatchman the previous evening, showed more fight than some of his specialist batting counterparts.  He was ultimately undone by O’Keefe’s delivery that bounced more than his expectation and took the edge which was carried low down by Jackson Bird at second slip.

Then Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who was in shambles throughout this campaign, finally found the application and defied Australia anything till lunch along with more proactive Asad Shafiq.

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On resumption, Asad Shafiq was undone by a Starc’s reverse swinging delivery that he could only manage to drag onto his stumps. Sarfraz continued in his attacking manners alongside Misbah, the pair added 52 in 13.3 overs.

However, Aussies broke through when Misbah once against tried to throw away his wicket in the same fashion as he did in his previous outing to the middle – an extravagant heave when there was no need of it.

Wahab went next, apparently surprised as to how the standing umpire’s non-out verdict could have been overturned as Steve O’Keefe claimed his wicket. Amir’s brief stint was ended by a wretched run-out.

Minutes before tea, Smith took the second new ball which allowed Hazlewood to end his summer with excellent figures of 3 for 29.

Australian summer has ended on a high note, but their Assignment – playing India in India – is a far more difficult task.


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