Pakistan are set to sweep the series 2-0 in Abu Dhabi against an Australian side struggling for consistency and answers against spin bowling. Leading by 370 runs in their second innings the hosts will be looking to bowl at the Aussies early on day 4.
Three Australians made starts with the bat, but had their wickets snuffed out by some good bowling and poor shot choices.
David Warner was keen to get going on a good wicket that had flattened more overnight. His enthusiasm resulted in a poorly controlled cut shot on 19 off the bowling of Yasir Shah, that went straight to the fielder at point.
This brought Glenn Maxwell to the crease. The latest answer for Australia in the number three position wasted no time with bat in hand. Smashing 2 boundaries and a six in a quick-fire 37 from 28 balls, someone needed to tap him on the shoulder and remind him of the position his team were in. He gave up his wicket after dancing down the pitch to smash another shot over the rope.
Michael Clarke went on the offensive too, playing aggressive shots in a masterful display of timing and patience. The Aussie captain was undone on 47 by an absolute ‘jaffa’ of a delivery. With some wicked movement from the upright seam back into the wickets, Imran Khan uprooted the middle stump and Clarke was on his way.
This ended a solid partnership between Clarke and Mitchell Marsh who put on 64 and steadied the early tumbling of wickets. Marsh played a stand-out innings of 87 from 116 balls which included 13 boundaries and a six.
Marsh’s innings concluded via a loose scoop at a full toss. Clearly disappointed the batsman paused at the crease in almost disbelief at the shot he had just played. It was an innings that would have impressed selectors and filled Marsh with confidence, playing in a tough game situation for his country.
After little resistance from the tail, Australia’s innings was concluded on 261. Refusing to enforce the follow-on, Pakistani captain Misbah Ul-Haq again told his men to put on the pads.
Two quick wickets for Mitchell Johnson with the new ball had the Aussies excited in the field, dreaming perhaps of a Pakistan collapse. The Australians will have to bat for at least a day and a half to salvage something from the match, a proposition that seems very unlikely against a fired-up Pakistan.