Thrilling 2nd Test: Australia Battles Pakistan in 2023/24 Match Report

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Australia captain Pat Cummins showed his prowess, but Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne were dismissed by Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi as a tight Boxing Day Test hung in the balance.

Initially trailing by 54 runs, Pakistan bounced back on a challenging MCG surface in overcast conditions after Afridi caught Khawaja behind for a duck. Afridi also dismissed Labuschagne on the last delivery before lunch.

Prior to their bowling performance, Pakistan’s lower-order kept them in the contest and they were dismissed for 264. Cummins finished with 5 for 48 from 20 overs.

Having dismissed Australia for 318, Pakistan produced a strong response with half-centuries from opener Abdullah Shafique and skipper Shan Masood before a collapse of 5 for 64.

The start of day three was delayed by 45 minutes due to drizzle in Melbourne, despite no rain being forecasted.

Resuming at 194 for 6, Pakistan’s hopes rested on recalled wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan. He and Aamer Jamal had come together late on day two with Pakistan reeling at 170 for 6 due to Cummins’ spell.

Cummins displayed a tactical nous and tempted Rizwan to be caught at short cover. Afridi and Jamal tried to attack but fell to Lyon and Cummins respectively.

Cummins furthered his growing legacy with his 10th five-wicket haul in Test matches. Lyon had Mir Hamza stumped to finish with 4 for 73 off 18.5 overs. Jamal was left stranded on 33 not out.

The match was delicately poised at the end of day three, with both teams having their moments in the contest.

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