Australia hit 241 at 7.53 in bid for sweep

Pakistan 315 (Younis 175*, Azhar 71, Hazlewood 4-55) and 1 for 55 need 410 runs to beat Australia 8 for 538 dec and 2 for 241 dec (Khawaja 79*, Smith 59, Warner 55)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

David Warner smashed 22 runs off a Yasir Shah over © Getty Images

Rain cleared in Sydney for the second time in as many days to allow further progression of the SCG Test but Pakistan will require a world record cloudburst of strokes to prevent Australia advancing to a third victory from as many matches in the series on Saturday.

A firecracker of an innings by David Warner and handsome hands from Steven Smith and Usman Khawaja helped the hosts set Pakistan a distant 465 to win after Younis Khan’s excellent rearguard dissuaded the hosts from enforcing the follow-on. The wicket of an aggressive Sharjeel Khan gave Smith an opening before the close.

The entirety of the first session was lost for the second time in as many days, but Smith’s team made up for lost time by rattling off 241 in a mere 32 overs. Warner was certainly not in the mood to linger, hammering 55 from 27 balls to put Pakistan immediately on the back foot. He took particular toll on Yasir Shah, taking one over for 22.

Smith and Khawaja followed up with plenty of telling blows of their own to stretch the lead, with the captain ultimately closing the innings with 16 overs left in the day and another 98 on day five. Sharjeel’s attacking instincts were given brief vent but his time in the middle on debut was ended when he flicked without due care and attention to Warner, lurking at midwicket.

Earlier, Yasir had lasted more than an hour in the company of Younis to ensure Smith needed to call upon Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood more than he would have preferred if he were to send Pakistan back in. Hazlewood finished an exemplary display with four wickets, the last of which a sharp reverse swinger to bowl Imran Khan for a duck.

Australia had one glimmer of hope to end Pakistan’s innings quickly when play got under way, as Starc coaxed an outside edge from Younis’ bat. However, Matthew Wade, back on the field having missed most of day three due to illness, was unable to hold onto the edge as he dived to his right.

By the time Hazlewood found Yasir’s edge, 44 runs had been wiped off the deficit and Younis had gone well past 150. Australia will be without Matt Renshaw, ruled out of the match due to the symptoms of concussion after being struck twice in the helmet in the first three days.

Khawaja duly walked out with Warner, and was in a great spot for a spectator as Australia’s vice-captain fired shots to all parts and briefly threatened the world record for fastest Test hundred as a follow-up to his century before lunch on day one of this match.

In the end Warner got a fraction ahead of himself, bowled when aiming an ugly smear at Wahab Riaz, but he earned a second standing ovation of the Test and allowed Khawaja and Smith to carry on comfortably in his wake – the captain ended the session with a thumping six into the SCG Members.

The runs continued to flow after tea, Smith moving along at a scarcely slower pace than Warner had set, and he was surprised to be given out when the third umpire Ian Gould detected the merest touch on the glove down the leg side when he tried to sweep Yasir. There was time for some flourish from Peter Handscomb before the declaration arrived, leaving Australia with plenty of time to chase a clean sweep of the series.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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