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Josh Hazlewood turns SCG Test on its head as cricket world stunned by 'crazy' scenes

The Aussie fast bowler left Pakistan reeling with a triple-wicket maiden late on the third day of the third Test.

Josh Hazlewood.
Josh Hazlewood left Pakistan reeling with a triple-wicket maiden. Image: Getty

Josh Hazlewood has put Australia in the box seat to claim a 3-0 series whitewash of Pakistan, after a stunning triple-wicket maiden left the tourists reeling in the third Test at the SCG. Hazlewood dismissed Saud Shakeel, Sajid Khan and Agha Salman in the space of five balls as Pakistan slumped to 7-68 at stumps on day three.

The tourists had fought bravely on Friday, but held a lead of just 82 heading into the fourth day. The Aussies still have to bat last on an SCG wicket that is deteriorating quickly, but are clearly on top after Hazlewood snared 4-9 on a day in which 15 wickets fell.

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Pakistan looked to be building a handy second innings lead, before Hazlewood turned the match on its head. After being brought back into the attack late in the day, the 32-year-old had Shakeel caught at slip for two before he skittled nightwatchman Khan for a duck.

By the time he had Salman (duck) edging the fifth ball of his over to David Warner at first slip, the 37,129 fans at the SCG were rocking. "You can't do that. You cannot give Australia that opportunity," Ian Smith said in commentary for Fox Sports. "I don't believe it. I don't believe what I'm seeing here. This is crazy cricket."

Hazlewood snared the key scalp of Shan Masood for a golden duck earlier in the innings, after Mitchell Starc sent Abdullah Shaffique packing in the first over. "That's why Test cricket is so exciting," Australia's wicket-keeper Alex Carey said.

"You have six hours of play and then the last five minutes you get the crowd going like that. Growing up you play backyard cricket, you come in, you watch the last little bit and it's just so exciting to see an over like that. It means a lot for this playing group to win games of cricket, to stay in contests, to never feel like we're out of it.

Said Ayub (33) and Babar Azam (23) offered some resistance for Pakistan. But their dismissals to Nathan Lyon and Travis Head opened the door for Hazlewood's magical spell that swung the momentum back in Australia's favour.

Australia collapse as Pakistan take first innings lead

Starting the day at 2-116, Australia lost wickets in clumps as the dry SCG pitch started to play some tricks. Marnus Labuschagne (60) and Mitch Marsh (54) had worked Australia towards parity, but the hosts lost 5-10 late in their innings to hand Pakistan a 14-run lead after the first innings.

They became the first touring team to claim a first-innings advantage in Australia since India in the 2020 Boxing Day Test. Australia also lost 3-18 either side of lunch after Steve Smith (38) and Labuschagne put on 79 for the third wicket.

Josh Hazlewood, pictured here in the SCG Test.
Josh Hazlewood led Australia off the ground after the third day of the SCG cricket Test. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images) (Cricket Australia via Getty Imag)

Marsh and Alex Carey (38) had a stand of 84 for the sixth wicket, with the former's half-century his sixth score above 50 since his return to the side six months ago. But when Carey was bowled on the last ball before tea, the game turned and Australia collapsed quickly.

Aamir Jamal, Pakistan's best player this series who took 6-69 at scored 82 in the first innings, believes the tourists still have a sniff. "I'm still pretty confident that we are in the game," he said. "(The late collapse) could've happened to any team. It happened to us.

"We are still confident that if we can get to 150, 170, I think that will be a fighting total. We will try to score as much as we can."

with AAP

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