Australia v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Sydney, 4th day

Australia canter to series whitewash

The Bulletin by Anand Vasu

January 5, 2005

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Australia 568 (Ponting 207, Gilchrist 113, Kaneria 7-188) and 62 for 1 beat Pakistan 304 (Butt 108, MacGill 5-87) and 325 (Kamal 87) by 9 wickets
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Asim Kamal's 87 helped Pakistan avert an innings defeat © Getty Images
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Australia wrapped up the whitewash by nine wickets, but were made to work harder than they would have liked to bowl out Pakistan for a second-innings 325. Asim Kamal, compact at the crease, happy to defend out sequences of deliveries and bide his time, waiting for the right ball to hit, stood firmly in Australia's way, but even he, with 87, could only eke out a lead of 61. The innings-defeat was staved off, but was small consolation to a team that was comprehensively outplayed 0-3. Australia lost Justin Langer (34), bowled around his legs by a Danish Kaneria googly, but knocked off the 62 needed easily enough.

Kamal, a natural stonewaller, gave the innings backbone with the not-so-stodgy Shahid Afridi. They put on the best partnership of the innings, 74 for the 5th wicket. It must be said, though, that the Afridi-Kamal partnership was frought with danger. The running between the wickets - when there simply wasn't the need for any sort of urgency - left much to be desired. It was only Kamal's good sense, by taking an impatient Afridi off the strike every time he got restless and eyed the long boundary at midwicket, that delayed the inevitable till the 66th over.

Kamal turned MacGill to square leg and set off for a single, Damien Martyn swooped on the ball and threw the stumps down, finding Afridi (46) short of his ground (5 for 238). And then, the resistance ended.

When Kamran Akmal tried to jam Shane Warne to the on side, Matthew Hayden kept his cool at short-leg, held his ground, and instinctively wrapped his hands around a sharp chance (6 for 243). Rana Naved-ul-Hasan came up against a front-of-the-hand fizzer from Warne that pitched on leg stump and straightened towards off. David Shepherd, who had upheld a similar appeal against Hameed earlier in the day, once again sent the batsman packing (7 for 261).

Kamal nudged Pakistan past the ignominy of an innings defeat, but the tail, till Mohammad Asif arrived at No. 11, did not seem to share his need to redeem pride. Shoaib Akhtar and Kaneria both made ducks and Pakistan teetered at 9 for 270, before Kamal and Asif put on 55 for the last wicket. Kamal used simple tactics well, playing only when he had to, padding the ball away when it was not on the line of the stumps, and going for the big drive over the off side whenever the legspinners tossed the ball up a bit more.

Kamal, who was in sight of a maiden Test century, fell on 87 (143 balls, 15 fours) when Ricky Ponting plucked a stunner out of thin air, diving to his right from second slip and snatching the ball with one hand in front of Shane Warne at first slip. Pakistan were all out for 325 and left Australia with 62 to win.

The tail had folded dramatically - going from 4 for 238 to 9 for 270 - but it was not simply a matter rolling the arm over and picking up wickets. Yasir Hameed (63) for one, did not think the game was wrapped up with two days to go, but was adjudged lbw to Warne playing a defensive prod at a ball that drifted towards his pads, pitched in line and straightened (2 for 104).

Younis Khan (44) and Yousuf Youhana (30) followed Hameed's lead and defied, but unfortunately for Pakistan both wasted starts. Youhana was bowled around the legs when he swept MacGill and missed, while Younis gave Shane Watson his first Test wicket when he copped a ball that swung in on the pads. Pakistan had lost two wickets in two balls and slumped to 4 for 164. With these batsmen gone, it was only a matter of time before the others followed suit, and if it wasn't for Kamal, even the 61-run lead that Pakistan managed may never have materialised.

Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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