PAK vs AUS 3rd Test Preview: Pakistan eye consolation prize

Having already lost the PAK vs AUS Test series 2-0, Shan Masood and co will enter the final game at SCG eyeing a consolation win

Having failed to secure yet another Test series Down Under, Pakistan will head into the third and final PAK vs AUS Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 3. A rather out of form Pakistan have been completely outfoxed by Pat Cummins and co. Not to forget, the Shan Masood and co’s fielding misses and pathetic batting display may have contributed more than the opposition or the conditions to their losses.

Pakistan will enter the SCG on Tuesday, with wounds of their previous thrashing still fresh in their minds. As if a 360-run thrashing at the hands of the hosts in Perth wasn’t enough, the Men in Green made a mockery of themselves at the MCG to hand victory to the Australians. And yet, there’s still scope for redemption, with one last attempt left.

PAK vs AUS: Pakistan eye consolation prize

To start with, Pakistan’s batting seems to be in tatters, with just skipper Shan Masood’s bat doing the talking. While Abdullah Shafique has fortunately had more success with the bat than with his hands on the field, his partner Imam-ul-Haq has been a consistent failure in the last 4 innings. Youngster Saim Ayub, who has 14 first-class games under his belt, will replace Imam. Babar Azam ended 2023 on a rather disasterous note, with his string of poor scores continuing in this series as well.

While young pacers Aamir Jamal and Khurram Shahzad starred in the 1st Test, only one managed to appear for the 2nd at MCG. To top Pakistan’s miseries, injuries have been the cherry on top for the side, with Abrar Ahmed, Shahzad, Noman Ali injured. The fiery Shaheen Afridi hasn’t been in his usual best in the ongoing series, with just 8 wickets to his name so far in two games. With Afridi leading Pakistan in the T20I series against New Zealand, the left-arm pacer has been rested for the 3rd ODI.

Meanwhile, hardly anyone has been impressed with Hasan Ali’s pace and lengths. The combo of Mir Hamza and Shaheen Afridi seemed to have started working well for the visitors and they will hope it continues for the final Test as well.

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Pakistan’s history of sloppy fielding has continued into the current series as well, with blunders witnessed at both Perth and the MCG. While many, incuding former PAK cricketers like Wasim Akram have admitted that it is a grave concern plaguing the team for decades, it remains to be seen if the side can do any better in their last game Down Under.

Australia stick with unchanged XI

As for Australia, there is hardly anything to complain about, with the side having sealed the series already. An unchanged XI is expected to be announced for the 3rd Test.

Pat Cummins led the side from the front as the hosts clinched the three-match series with a splendid victory at the MCG. Southpaw David Warner will be playing the final Test of his career at the SCG and will be hoping to end it on a high note with a ton. His opening partner Usman Khawaja has also been in stellar form over the past year.

Playing XI

Australia: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

Pakistan: Abdullah Shafique, Saim Ayub, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Mohammed Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mir Hamza, Sajid Khan, Aamer Jamal

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