Third Test Match

AUSTRALIA v. PAKISTAN

Victory stared Pakistan in the face but their batsmen were overwhelmed by the occasion. On a green and responsive wicket, the Pakistan pace bowlers Saleem Altaf and Sarfraz Nawaz gave their side the chance to regain prestige only to see their batsmen fall to a remarkable piece of swing bowling by Walker who took six for 15 from 16 overs.

Australia had Stackpole, Edwards, Walters and Massie back in the team, but the selectors continued their experimentation for the West Indies tour by playing the Newcastle leg-spinner Watkins after only five first-class games. They omitted Benaud, O'Keeffe, Thomson, Sheahan and Mallett, the last two because of their unavailability to tour. Nasim-ul-Ghani was chosen to open for Pakistan following Saeed Ahmed's fall from grace with the touring team management. Australia struggled hard throughout this game and that they won reflected no small credit on Ian Chappell and his team. With Lillee hampered by a back injury all seemed lost, especially when Pakistan gained a vital break-through in the Australian second innings.

Pakistan won the toss, a happy event in the circumstances, and had their trio of pace men used the new ball as skilfully on the first day as they did later, Australia would almost certainly have lost. Redpath survived for four hours for his 79, valuable runs painfully achieved after being dropped off Sarfraz at nine; Edwards made a neat 69.

Nasim had some good fortune, but played a number of splendid drives in his 64, prompting again the question why greater use was not made of this accomplished all-rounder. Mushtaq had had meagre success for a batsman of his repute but he made his first century against Australia in 28 Tests, and his fourth century in all. He played some fine cover drives in an innings of just under five hours, aided by Saleem Altaf in a stand of 56 when it appeared Mushtaq might be denied his hundred by lack of partners. Lillee delivered only 10 overs before he withdrew with a slight back strain and G. S. Chappell, who took the new ball with Massie, earned five wickets with his lively medium-pace.

In the last session of the third day, Saleem and Sarfraz seamed the ball dangerously to have Australia in a critical position at seven for 94, a lead of only 68 runs. Watkins and Massie shared a record ninth wicket partnership of 83 runs but with a lead of only 158, defeat for Australia seemed inevitable. Edwards brought off a superlative diving one-handed catch at point to dismiss Sadiq and this proved a major setback for the tourists. The following day, with Lillee returning to aid his team at reduced pace, Walker's swing and accuracy demoralised Pakistan, his six for 15 including a period of 30 deliveries in which he took five wickets for three runs. Lillee bowled splendidly as his support.

© John Wisden & Co