Nathan Lyon delivers historic series win in tense final day finish

Cricket

Australia has won a Test series in Pakistan for the first time since 1998 after a 115-run win in the final Test of the three-match series.

Set 351 to win, Pakistan fought gamely in its second innings before being dismissed for 235, giving Australia a 1-0 series win.

Nathan Lyon was the key architect behind Australia’s day five success, finishing with figures of 5-83 in 37 overs. Australian captain Pat Cummins was also excellent, finishing with figures of 3-23 off 15.1 overs.

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Cummins was named the player of the match after picking up a total of eight wickets in the series finale, while Usman Khawaja was named the player of the series after scoring a remarkable 496 runs at an average of 165.33 across the three Tests.

Pakistan came into the final day with faint hopes of recording a historic victory, starting the day on 0-73, but it would not take long for Australia to make inroads.

Abdullah Shafique was gone in the fourth over of the day, but the wicket of Pakistan’s No.3 Azhar Ali was much more contentious a little while later.

The ball from Nathan Lyon smacked into his front pad, but a referral showed the ball crazy the slightest of edges before it did so – the looped up ball easily caught by Steve Smith.

The Aussies sent it upstairs and although there was nothing on Ultraedge barring a few faint spikes as the ball passed through. The TV umpire, Asif Yaqoob, saw enough to overturn the on-field decision, leaving Ali fuming.

Lyon operated largely from over the wicket to left-handed opener Imam-ul-Haq, and instead of padding the balls pitching outside leg stump away with his front foot, Imam continued to play the ball, a tactic which eventually brought him undone.

Batting on 70, Imam inside-edged a ball onto his pad off Lyon after lunch, with Marnus Labuschagne taking the catch at silly point.

Imam’s wicket allowed the tourists to get on top in the middle session, with Cummins sending both Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan back to the sheds in quick succession, leaving Pakistan skipper Babar Azam to fight alongside his bowlers.

Cummins elected to take the new ball shortly after the tea break, and Lyon provided what would be the killer blow from a Pakistan perspective, dismissing Babar for 55, as Smith took a terrific catch to his left in the slips.

Following Babar’s dismissal, the win became a formality for Australia, with the bowlers falling in quick succession.

The win is Australia’s first in an overseas Test series since a Trans-Tasman trophy win over New Zealand back in February 2016.

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