The third and final Test between Australia and Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) reached a critical juncture on Day 3, showcasing an enthralling display of cricket from both teams. Amidst the closely contested battle, the standout moment that grabbed everyone’s attention was the dismissal of Australian stalwart Steve Smith, courtesy of Pakistan skipper Shan Masood‘s tactical brilliance.
Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh shine
Resuming their innings at 116/2 in 47 overs, Australia exhibited determination, with Marnus Labuschagne (60) and Mitchell Marsh (54) steadying the ship with impressive fifties. Contributions from Alex Carey (38) and Smith (38) added to the home side’s resilience. However, it was Smith’s departure that became the highlight of the day, thanks to a strategic move by Masood.
Shan Masood’s tactical brilliance and Smith’s dismissal
In the 73rd over, with Mir Hamza delivering a full ball, Masood deployed a funky field setup. Three players were strategically positioned on the off side inside the circle, tempting the batter to go for an aerial drive over them. Smith, known for his unconventional stroke play, took the bait, walking forward and across to play the shot. Unfortunately, he failed to get the necessary elevation.
Babar Azam’s sharp catch
As Smith played the shot, the unconventional field placement proved effective. Babar Azam, stationed at short extra cover, displayed impeccable timing and athleticism, leaping to perfection to take an overhead catch. The Pakistani team erupted in joy, celebrating the success of Masood’s strategic move, while a disbelieving Smith shook his head in response to his unexpected dismissal.
Here’s the video:
The funky field worked!
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 5, 2024
Despite the setback of losing Smith, Australia managed to close in on the gap with Pakistan’s first-innings score of 313. The determination displayed by Labuschagne, Marsh, Carey and Smith ensured that the hosts remained in contention, setting the stage for an intriguing continuation of the Test match and ending their innings on a score of 299.