The story of Pink Day in Sydney was no different than any other day this series has seen so far. After waiting more than four hours in the rain, the pink-bathed SCG crowd experienced a delightful couple of sessions. For Pakistan, it was the veteran Younis Khan who batted throughout a rain-reduced day to manufacture his first and only century in Australia. For Australia, it was a cluster of Pakistani wickets which gave them a solid grip of the Sydney Test.
With no radical change in the batter-friendly SCG pitch, Pakistani wickets fell as much due to their own inattention as to Australia’s excellence. It was a matter of Pakistan’s inevitable lapses as there was no movement in the air and as much deviation from the surface for both spin and seam.
Azhar & Younis continued from where they left off on the second day and swiftly progressed for an hour with the only mild concern being the LBW shout against Azhar which was turned down by Indian umpire S. Ravi.
Upon the review demanded by Australia, the ball seemed to be clipping the portion of leg stump but not by an amount sufficient enough to see the back of Azhar Ali.
But Azhar perished soon after courtesy a brilliant laser-like throw from Mitchell Starc— who was fielding at mid-on –and miscommunication with Younis Khan.
Thus leaving the salvage job to Younis and his senior partner Misbah-ul-Haq – who had so cheaply discarded his wicket from the second delivery he faced at MCG.
This time he stuck around for almost seven overs before he decided to swing for the Bill O’Reilly stand only to find the substitute fielder Jackson Bird.
Asad Shafiq, the most successful number six (in terms of centuries scored) Test has seen, fell on a delivery that skidded on seemingly past the inside edge. Smith was appealing too but somehow composed himself to claim a one-handed catch via Handscomb’s leg. The reply indicated the thinnest of deflections from the bat.
Sarfraz Ahmad was accounted for the extra bounce Starc had offered with the newish ball. Amir and Wahab failed to put up any resistance as they had shown on previous visits to the middle.
The tumbling of wickets didn’t perturb Younis, who on the other continued in his methodical manner and brought up his maiden Test century in Australia with a characteristic sweep shot off Nathon Lyon. He finished the day unbeaten on 136.
That milestone made him the only man to have made a three digit score in all Test-playing nations plus Pakistan’s adopted home.
However, he will need to go past one of his six previous scores of 200 or more if Pakistan is to find a safe route out of this Test match – currently they remain 267 runs adrift with just two first innings wickets intact.