December 28, 2023

Australia vs Pakistan LIVE: Gilchrist defends Carey despite batting woes; Cummins chases five-wicket haul

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Hamza misses out on hat-trick

Mitchell Marsh was able to leave the hat-trick ball and let it go to the keeper.

The previous two balls had seen him force Warner to edge the ball into his stumps and then clean bowled Travis Head with a cracking delivery.

Australia are 4-16 with a lead of just 70 runs.

Mir Hamza.Credit: Getty Images


WICKET: Head clean bowled

Travis Head has been cleaned bowled first ball.

Hamza is on a hat-trick and Australia is in free fall at 4-16.


WICKET: Warner has dragged it on

David Warner has bottom-edged the ball into his stumps off the bowling of Hamza.

He is receiving a warm ovation from the crowd as his MCG batting career is now over, at least in Test cricket.

Australia are 3-16.


Warner, Smith on front foot

Both Warner and Smith have found boundaries in the opening couple of overs as Australia looks to get on top of Pakistan’s attack and build a competitive total.

Smith clipped a ball of his legs, it was called leg byes, for four while Warner drove Afridi to the boundary the next over.

Steve Smith.Credit: Getty Images

Skipper Pat Cummins told his batters to “cash in” this innings but they will be mindful of the two wickets lost just before lunch.

Australia are 2-16 with Warner on six and Smith on zero, the lead is 70.


Play delayed by umpire stuck in lift

Play has been delayed for a few minutes as the third umpire is stuck in a lift heading back to his perch in the stands.

“It’s a slow lift, we use it,” former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Fox Cricket.

“I know the one they are talking about.”

Players were called in briefly and asked to wait by the umpires before starting play.


300 the target lead for Australia

By Malcolm Conn

Australia will need a lead of at least 300 to feel safe in the second Test at the MCG.

Already 54 in front on the first innings, but losing anchorman opener Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne at the start of the second innings, Australia will need to work hard on a well grassed pitch that is still offering some assistance to the bowlers.

David Warner bats in the first innings.Credit: Getty Images

The overcast conditions will also help the ball move, as Khawaja found with a delightful delivery from Shaheen Shah Afridi that left him.

No team has reached 300 batting last at the MCG since Pakistan in 1990, who still lost the Test by 92 runs.

*Play is about to start in the second session with Warner and Steve Smith at the crease


A tough end to a tough year for Labuschagne

By Malcolm Conn

Marnus Labuschagne finished a disappointing year in disappointing fashion, caught behind in a tangle of bat and legs flicking down the leg side for 4.

It gave him an average under 35 in 2023 with just one century.

Marnus Labuschagne.Credit: Getty Images

This is a far cry from the four previous years since he established himself in the Australian side.

His annual averages were 65 in 2019, followed by 67, 66 and 56 last year.

The modest performances of Labuschagne and Steve Smith were a significant reason why Australia failed to win the Ashes after leading 2-0.


WICKET: Labuschagne is out, Australia 2-6 at lunch

Labuschagne touched a ball down the leg side and was caught by Rizwan.

Lunch is called with Australia 2-6.

What a 15-minute session from Pakistan who lured Labuschagne into playing down the leg side and he fell for it.

Australia leads by 60, Pakistan is right in this match.

Play will resume at around 1.25pm AEDT.

Marnus Labuschagne sets off for a run.Credit: Getty Images


WICKET: Khawaja is gone

Khawaja is gone second ball after Afridi made the ball move away from him

He edged it to the keeper and suddenly Australia’s second innings is off to a tough start.

Australia are 1-0.


‘Time to cash in’: Cummins calls on Aussie bats to step up

Australia will have 15 minutes of batting before lunch after bowling out Pakistan for 264.

Captain Pat Cummins said he was happy with a 54-run lead and thought conditions would suit his batters and they needed to capitalise on them.

Pat Cummins.Credit: Getty Images

“Any first innings lead is one you are happy with and we think the wicket is in a pretty good position now, so it’s time to cash in,” Cummins told Fox Cricket.

Cummins finished with 5-48 and Nathan Lyon 4-73.

Lyon is now fourth all-time on the list of MCG wicket-takers in Test cricket, he has 45 wickets. Dennis Lillee still leads that list with 82 wickets at the MCG.

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