Australia v Pakistan - 1st Test: Day 3
Australia v Pakistan - 1st Test: Day 3

‘Human after all’: Rare Smith shocker in perfect win

After a local hero played a glorious, match defining innings that secured his place in the top order for the rest of the summer and more, there is little question over whose name will come to mind when Australia's first Test victory over Pakistan is remembered.

Though if you picked the lowest scoring member of Australia's XI ahead of the first ball, you are either a clairvoyant or a liar.

Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith top and tail the list of performances at the Gabba. Here's how the rest shaped up.

 

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The Gabba Test will always be remembered as Marnus Labuschagne’s coming of age in Australia. Picture: AAP
The Gabba Test will always be remembered as Marnus Labuschagne’s coming of age in Australia. Picture: AAP

David Warner - 9

Warner's longest innings in Test cricket, in terms of balls faced, produced a monster ton that set up the Australian victory and broke Pakistani spirits. Was given a couple of lives and became becalmed when Pakistan belatedly came round the wicket and starved him of runs on day three. But his fine work had been done before that and his Ashes failings put firmly in the rear view mirror.

Joe Burns - 8

Three runs short of a fifth Test century in 17 appearances, Burns overcame understandable nerves in the opening overs to provide a perfect foil for Warner, while constructing his own innings by picking his moments when to attack a listless Pakistan attack perfectly.

 

Marnus Labuschagne - 9.5

Ever since Ricky Ponting's retirement Australia have been searching for someone to fill the void at No.3 on a permanent basis. Labuschagne's commanding 185 in Brisbane suggests he could well be the man. An innings of complete control, concentration and exquisite shot selection.

Steve Smith - 3

A wave of disbelief washed around the Gabba as Smith's first Test appearance on home soil in two years was over in a matter of minutes. And for just four runs. Tried to play an expansive shot to a Yasir Shah delivery that stayed straight and lost his off stump. A rare misjudgment and a rare failure. The first time in 125 innings he has been the lowest scorer of the XI. He is human after all.

 

Human after all... Steve Smith was due a down game after his remarkable Ashes. Picture: AAP
Human after all... Steve Smith was due a down game after his remarkable Ashes. Picture: AAP

Matthew Wade - 7

A soft dismissal when trying to place one to third man but getting too much on it, Wade nonetheless did an effective job for the team in moving the scoreboard on in the middle part of Australia's sole innings. Busy and full of intent throughout, he brought energy to the task of turning the screw.

Travis Head - 5

An opportunity missed by Head to silence those remaining doubters over whether he deserves his place in the middle order. On a batter's paradise against a half broken opposition he got in and looked good scoring at pace. But will be disappointed by the manner of his dismissal, reaching to tickle an innocuous Haris Sohail delivery down leg when he didn't have to. A sharp catch by the keeper but Head played his part in his own downfall.

Tim Paine - 6.5

Paine gets credit for his captaincy and even more his reliability with the gloves, as well as simplifying the DRS system to good effect, initially at least, after a horror show with technology in the Ashes. But his batting contribution was poor and the shot he played to get out - trying to pull a delivery that wasn't nearly short enough - is a familiar failing of his that needs addressing.

 

 

Pat Cummins - 8

The best bowler in the world today - and at times he showed why again. His relentless accuracy aligned with pace never allowed Pakistan to settle and the pressure he exerted drove Pakistan's first innings collapse as well as those wickets lost late on day three.

Laboured hard on the final day when he was asked to rough up his opponents with more short stuff than was probably useful, but only following team orders.

Mitchell Starc - 8

Starc continued his emphatic Ashes rebound to remind any lingering doubters of his potency with the red ball. His 4-52 in the first innings, when he mopped up the tail with near contempt, was followed up by two quick wickets in the final chapter of the third day that shot into sharp focus the difference in the two teams' pace attack.

 

Nathan Lyon (L) and Mitchell Starc chipped in as part of a concerted team-bowling effort. Picture: AAP
Nathan Lyon (L) and Mitchell Starc chipped in as part of a concerted team-bowling effort. Picture: AAP

 

Josh Hazlewood - 8.5

Australia's ever reliable exponent of pressure building line and length once more straggled an opposition and was Australia's best bowler across the match. His six wickets for the match for 83 runs is a fine contribution, but aside from the numbers, whenever he was at an end Pakistan simply had nowhere to hide and not for the first time he can lay claim to helping set the conditions for others to cash in, too.

Nathan Lyon - 6

With the match concluding early Lyon's contribution with ball in hand was limited to a degree by the lack of opportunity he had to shine. Though when he did bowl he wasn't at his threatening best. Was, however, economical and tidy and took a key wicket on day four to remove the well set Babar Azam. Thrilled the crowd, too, with a smart cameo with the bat. His 13 off 17 balls included as good a late cut for a boundary, off Yasir Shan, as you'll see this summer.

News Corp Australia

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