Nathan Lyon captured three late wickets to edge Australia closer to a 3-0 Test series sweep over Pakistan, despite an unbeaten century from veteran Younis Khan.
It was a frustrating day for many of the fans in attendance in Sydney, with the entire first session – and more than half of the second – lost to drizzling rain.
Younis finished day three 136 not out, his 34th Test century, as the tourists went to stumps 8-271 – still trailing Australia by 267 runs.
Much of the focus on Thursday centred on the Jane McGrath Day, though, which raises money for the McGrath Foundation that places breast care nurses in communities across Australia and raises awareness. As of Thursday evening, almost $320,000 of the $390,000 target had been raised.
This year, the ninth that the third day of the Sydney Test was turned pink, big donations came from the Nine Network ($50,000) and the Commonwealth Bank ($40,000).
New South Wales Police officers working at the SCG also donated their day’s wage, while they wore pink, as did their horses and dogs.
It was a gesture that Glenn McGrath said was “absolutely incredible”.
“It just blows me away, the support we’ve received right around this incredible country of ours,” he told reporters.
“For the NSW Police to come out and support us this way … I’m not often left speechless.
“I’m very proud to see the boys wearing the pink – they look a bit like the pink baggy caps [worn by players]. I think they look amazing.”
Play finally got under way at 2.35pm local time and Younis immediately got going, hitting Mitchell Starc (1-65) for four through backward point from the first ball.
But just over 10 minutes after the resumption, Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade left the field.
It was later revealed that Wade was suffering from nausea and diarrhoea, with his Victorian teammate Peter Handscomb, a part-time keeper, taking the gloves.
Azhar survived an lbw review from Josh Hazlewood on 59 on umpire’s call and the lives for Pakistan continued when Younis edged straight to where second slip would have been.
Australia could sense a wicket, though, and it duly came when a terrible piece of running saw Azhar dismissed for 71.
Azhar, at the non-strikers end, hesitated when Younis wanted a single to Starc off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, and the paceman’s throw was good – resulting in the first wicket of the day.
New batsman Asad Shafiq did not last long, caught off a blinding Steve Smith catch for 4 off Steve O’Keefe’s (1-37) bowling.
O’Keefe and Handscomb initially went up for an LBW appeal against Shafiq, but the batsman had got an inside edge on the ball, only to see it zip off Handscomb’s glove to a low-diving Steve Smith, who added another screamer to his collection of catching gems.
Australia took the new ball in the 81st over and Starc soon struck, as Sarfraz Ahmed (18) sent a drive rocketing to 12th man Jackson Bird in the gully.
Amir (4) was next to go, courtesy of a typical Lyon dismissal, caught by David Warner after mis-timing a big drive.
Lyon then produced the ball of the day to dismiss Wahab Riaz, getting one to turn viciously off the pitch to clean bowl the tailender for 8.
Plenty of pink on display
A host of stars were dressed in pink at the SCG on Thursday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull taking time out of his busy schedule to be there.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) January 5, 2017
The Channel Nine commentary team, as tradition, also dressed up in pink.
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) January 4, 2017
Despite the weather, a strong crowd stayed – with some fans losing patience more quickly than others.
McGrath said that the positive feedback his foundation received made all the hard work setting his foundation up worth it.
“To think back to when the foundation was first set up, by telling our story, we could help one person – that’s why we decided to do it,” he said.
“To see where it’s started to where it is now, the people that have got involved, it just continually blows me away.
“One, it tells me what we are doing is the right thing. I guess I’m in a lucky position where I travel around the country a lot and I speak to a lot of people that have dealt with our nurses.
“The positive difference they say it has made on their lives is incredible.
“So hearing those stories makes me realise what we are doing is making a big difference but also inspires me to keep going.”