Courtesy: Dawn News/AFP/Reuters
A fired-up Pat Cummins bagged five wickets and 10 for the match to earn Australia a nail-biting 79-run win in the second Test and clinch the series against Pakistan on Friday.
Set 317 to win, the visitors put up a stellar fight, but were dismissed for 237, with the last five wickets falling for just 18 runs.
Cummins was the chief destroyer, taking 5-49 to go with his first innings of 5-48 — only the second 10-wicket haul of his Test career. Just when it looked like the match would go down to the wire on the final day, the pacer stepped in to remove batter Mohammad Rizwan and claim his 250th test wicket.
Mitchell Starc chipped in with 4-55 as the tail collapsed after Shan Masood (60), Agha Salman (50) and Babar Azam (41) gave them a fighting chance.
It was always going to be a tough task, with the highest-ever successful fourth innings run chase at the Melbourne Cricket Ground the 332-7 England managed in 1928, with no other team getting past 300.
Opener Abdullah Shafique departed for four during a tricky session before lunch, caught by Usman Khawaja in the slips off Starc following a period of intense pressure.
Iman-ul-Haq survived the initial blitz, but was no match after the break for Cummins, who sent down a probing ball that nipped back and trapped him lbw for 12.
Masood was given out lbw by the umpire on 12, but it was overturned on review and he quickly got back in his stride. He took a nasty ball to the ribs that needed treatment, but was undeterred and raced to a gutsy 50 before Cummins again came to Australia’s rescue, enticing an edge to Steve Smith.
Plenty was resting on the shoulders of Azam as the side’s premier batter and he looked in good nick. But after reaching 41, Josh Hazlewood got a ball to jag back and it clattered into his off stump.
Rizwan also looked dangerous on his way to 35 before Cummins again worked his magic, with Alex Carey collecting a catch behind the stumps after the ball went off the batsman’s glove. Cummins then removed Aamer Jamal and Shaheen Shah Afridi in quick succession before Starc cleaned up.
Pakistanis padded up after the hosts were all out in their second innings for 262, after resuming on 187-6.
Mir Hamza was the best of the bowlers with 4-32, while Afridi took 4-76. Carey slammed 53 to help Australia build their overnight lead and quieten chatter about his form after losing his place in the one-day side to Josh Inglis.