Australia went into Day 5 of the second Test against Pakistan with a lead of 22 runs after rain had played havoc for the past two days. It all seemed to be headed for a draw with pitch not offering much and two innings left to be played. But as is now a norm with Pakistan cricket team, the unpredictable nature of the side turned it into a result and not one they would have hoped for.
By the end, Australia had beaten the visiting team by an innings and 18 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Test series.
This is the second contest in a row where the unpredictable nature of the Pakistan team produced a surprising result. At Brisbane, in the first Test, Pakistan were put in to chase 490 runs with nearly two days of cricket to be played. Despite such a difficult situation, Pakistan battled it out to almost bag a win before a comic collapse on the final day did them in to give Australia the win.
At MCG, the reverse happened. A draw was the most likely outcome but a collapse of dramatic proportions meant Australia would take a 2-0 lead in the series.
With the loss, Pakistan have now built up an unsavoury streak of five straight defeats and extended their abysmal show in Australia to 11 straight losses.
On the fifth day in the morning, Steve Smith added to his 17th Test century to stay unbeaten on 165 when Australia declared for 624/8 with the wicket of Nathan Lyon the last to fall. Smith was given strong company by Mitchell Starc who was dismissed for 84. This allowed Australia to take a lead of 181 runs.
In reply, Pakistan started miserably to lose two wickets in under ten runs. Only Azhar Ali (43) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (43) provided some serious fight with others falling cheaply. Eventually, Pakistan were bundled out for 163 runs.
Here’s how Twitterati reacted to the dramatic finish to the Boxing Day Test:
Got to be @stevesmith49 for man of the match for mine. The run machine!
This sums up Pakistan’s performance on the fifth day. https://t.co/MgvxGoWp0A
— Moulin (@Moulinparikh) December 30, 2016
— Damien Fleming (@bowlologist) December 30, 2016
Amazing win from the Aussies!!! 👍🏻👍🏻
— James Faulkner (@JamesFaulkner44) December 30, 2016
Massive win by the Aussies. A huge congratulations. Pakistan will be extremely disappointed with that batting performance
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) December 30, 2016
Pakistan do the predictable. Play unpredictably.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 30, 2016
Brilliant win for the aussies. How Mitchel Starc deserved the MoM in my book for his batting and bowling. https://t.co/Bu4RQqcMTg
— Graeme Swann (@Swannyg66) 30 December 2016
Incredible Win for the Aussies … Unfortunately England fans they look like they are back … !!!!!!! #AUSvPAK
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) 30 December 2016
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) 30 December 2016
Unbelievable effort @CricketAus boys. You just never no. Well done.
— John Hastings (@johnhastings194) 30 December 2016
Pakistan now will hope to turn tables and pick up a consolation win in the third and final Test which will be played at Sydney.