About the Match
The rain intervened once again on the fourth day of the Sydney Test and took another complete session out of the game but the record-breaking manner in which the Australian batsmen proceeded to score gave them enough time to try and press for a victory. Pakistan started off brightly and has nine wickets to try and see out day 5. Can they?
Day 5 Preview
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb all put on an absolute batting clinic on day 4. Against an attack that has one of the best spinners in the world and one of the fastest men going around, they scored 241 runs at 7.53 to try and give their bowlers the maximum amount of time possible to force a clean sweep.
Pakistan was out of ideas and Misbah-ul-Haq had given up trying to take wickets by the end of it while failing to stem the flow of runs as well. Such a hammering is sure to take a psychological toll on the entire team.
Sharjeel Khan does not look like test batsmen to us and he made a breezy 40 before getting out. On the crease now is going to be Azhar Ali and Yasir Shah, the nightwatchman.
The task ahead of Pakistan is very simple. They need to play out the day for a draw because even though a victory might be statistically possible, it is highly improbable. No team has ever chased more than 287 successfully at Sydney and a Pakistani batting lineup that is as brittle as this one is not going to be able to change that around.
Their chances of securing a draw are better than at the MCG in our opinion. There is some expectation that the rain will take some more time out of the day which is a variable that no one can really control. They also have an in-form Younis Khan to depend on now in addition to Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq.
If we assume that close to 60 overs will be possible tomorrow as has been the case for the last two days then with nine wickets in hand, Pakistan should be safely able to navigate the remaining overs.
The problem with Pakistan is that they seem to manufacture some of the most bewildering defeats from positions where no one thought so possible.
Australia will be looking towards Nathan Lyon to be their lead spinner although Steve Smith will depend on Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc to provide him the breakthroughs whenever a partnership ensues.
We think backing Hazlewood as the lead wicket taker might be a good bet.
Pakistan will look to Azhar Ali to bat for as long as possible especially since next man in Babar Azam is in terrible form. A couple of quick wickets is all that will take to spark a collapse and Australia will feel they are in with a shot till the very end.
Pakistan’s chances of defeat grow proportionally to the amount of play possible on day 5. We think Australia will pull off another nail-biting victory to win the series 3-0.