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In-form Khawaja, Smith guide Australia to 145-2 in series-deciding third Test

LAHORE, Pakistan,:Opener Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith hit half centuries apiece Monday to help Australia recover to...
Published 21 Mar, 2022 05:17pm
File: Photo
File: Photo

LAHORE, Pakistan,:Opener Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith hit half centuries apiece Monday to help Australia recover to 145-2 at tea on the opening day of the third and deciding Test against Pakistan in Lahore.

The in-form Khawaja was unbeaten on 69 and Smith 58 as they added 137 runs for the third wicket after Australia were jolted early by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who took two wickets off three deliveries.

Australia, who won the toss and batted on a brownish Gaddafi Stadium pitch, added 75 in the post-lunch session without losing a wicket.

Shaheen had Australia in trouble at 8-2 in the third over of the innings when he trapped David Warner lbw for seven and then had Marnus Labuschagne edge behind to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan for a duck two balls later.

But Pakistan-born Khawaja batted in the same vein, which earned him scores of 97, 160 and 44 not out so far in the series. He has so far hit eight boundaries and a six in his 16th Test half century.

Smith pushed spinner Sajid Khan for two to reach his 36th Test half century, having so far hit six boundaries. He is just eight short of completing 8,000 Test runs.

The three-match series is tied at 0-0 after the Tests in Rawalpindi and Karachi ended in draws.

Earlier, the 21-year-old Shaheen was fiery with the new ball, troubling the batsmen with skidding deliveries during an incisive five-over spell of two wickets for 17 runs.

Smith, who survived a confident leg-before appeal off Shaheen's first ball, also saw spinner Nauman Ali fail to hold a hard caught and bowled when he was on 19.

Australia are unchanged from the second Test while Pakistan brought in fast bowler Naseem Shah for all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.

The match marks the return of Test cricket to Lahore for the first time since the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus.

Those attacks forced Pakistan to play their home matches abroad, mostly in the United Arab Emirates.

Australia are touring Pakistan for the first time since 1998, having previously refused to play in the country because of security fears.

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Usman Khawaja

Steve Smith


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