The cricket gods were looking down on David Warner on the first day of his final Test match for Australia.
Warner was agonisingly made to wait all day to get his chance to bat on Day 1 of the Sydney New Year’s Test on Wednesday, with Pakistan tail-ender Aamer Jamal hitting an impressive 82 from 97 deliveries to inflict an 86-run 10th-wicket partnership with Mir Hamza on Australia.
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When Jamal was finally dismissed, Warner and opening partner Usman Khawaja were left with just one over to navigate — and it almost ended in disaster.
Warner cracked the first ball for four in typical style, while also scoring two more with a shot into the leg side.
But he was almost bowled on the penultimate ball of the day when a Sajid Khan delivery bounced off his bat and over the stumps, just millimetres from the top of the bails.
The ball was a coat of paint away from the bails. Credit: Channel 7How did it miss? Credit: Channel 7
Warner survived though, and will resume on Day 2 on six not out, with Khawaja yet to face a ball.
But while this Test is all about Warner, the day belonged to Cummins.
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Cummins’ golden summer continued on Wednesday, bagging his third five-wicket haul in a row for Australia to help dismiss Pakistan for 313 at the SCG.
On another big day for Australia’s captain, Cummins was again his country’s best as his 5-57 put the hosts on top in Warner’s farewell Test.
His wickets included Pakistan star Babar Azam, as well as Mohammad Rizwan just as the wicketkeeper-batter threatened to drag his side back into the match.
With Rizwan motoring towards a century and on 88, Cummins brought himself into the attack just before tea and had Rizwan top-edging a well-directed bouncer to fine leg.
The wicket ended a quickfire 94-run sixth-wicket partnership between Rizwan and Agha Salman, who hit 53 before being caught pulling Mitchell Starc.
Cummins then struck again almost immediately after the break, having Sajid Khan caught at mid-wicket for 15 before knocking over Hasan Ali for a duck.
Australia were eying off having Pakistan out for less than 250 at that point, before No.9 Jamal played his cameo in an innings that included four sixes.
Still, Cummins’ was the star.
Australia skipper Pat Cummins bagged his third successive five-wicket haul against Pakistan. Credit: AAP
Australia’s skipper has had a knack of bringing himself on at the right times recently, doing so in the fourth innings at the MCG last week.
Wednesday’s wickets took his return for the series to 18 wickets at 11.33, after leading Australia to World Cup success less than two months ago.
The bagful of wickets made him the first Australian since Nathan Lyon in 2017 to take three successive five-wicket hauls, in what is quickly becoming the summer of Cummins.
Making Cummins’ streak even more impressive is that he continues to get the big wickets.
The quick again got the better of Babar earlier in the day, trapping Pakistan’s best batter lbw for 26 with a ball that tailed back in at him after a number of flourishing cover drives.
He then backed it up with the wicket of Saud Shakeel, capping a horror morning for Pakistan that left them 4-47.
After the tourists rested quick Shaheen Afridi with the three-match series already surrendered, they lost both their openers for ducks in the first two overs at the SCG.
Shaheen Shah Afridi was left out of the third Test. Credit: Getty
Abdullah Shafique’s dismissal from the second ball summed up a dismal tour for the 24-year-old, wafting at a ball well outside off stump from Starc (2-75).
The edge was a repeat of Shafique’s dismissal in the second innings at the MCG and comes after he dropped three chances in the slips this series.
Saim Ayub then showed the inexperience of a 21-year-old with 14 first-class games to his name.
With Josh Hazlewood angling his second delivery across the left-hander, Ayub felt for the ball and only succeeded in edging it through to a diving Alex Carey.
And while Pakistan captain Shan Masood offered some resistance with 35, he was caught in the slips off Mitch Marsh after lunch following an earlier reprieve off a no-ball.
That left Rizwan to lead a counter-attacking fightback, scoop-pulling Hazlewood for one six over fine leg and slog-sweeping Lyon for another with two of the most audacious shots of the day.
– With AAP