Sport Cricket Hazlewood, spinners steer Australia to clean sweep against Pakistan

Hazlewood, spinners steer Australia to clean sweep against Pakistan

Australia defeats Pakistan
The Australians pose with their trophy after the 3-0 series win over Pakistan.
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Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe have spun Australia to a 220-run win over Pakistan in the SCG Test, completing a 3-0 series sweep.

The tourists resumed at 1-55 on day five in Sydney, having been set a target of 465 following Australian captain Steve Smith’s declaration at 2-241 on day four.

Pakistan almost dragged the contest into Saturday’s final session but was dismissed for 244, with Lyon and O’Keefe turning the screws ahead of a four-Test tour of India.

David Warner was named man of the match, having rewritten the record books with a pre-lunch ton on day one of the Test then a 23-ball half-century on day four.

Smith earned man-of-the-series honours.

“I’m really proud of the way the boys have played in the last few weeks,” Smith said.

“Nathan bowled particularly well in Melbourne to get us on that role on the final day and he backed it up here.”

Josh Hazlewood grabbed two wickets in his opening spell on Saturday and returned with the second new ball to end the series by dismissing Imran Khan.

Lyon, whose status as the nation’s top spinner was in immense doubt earlier this summer, finished the match with five wickets.

“Nathan Lyon couldn’t bowl much better than he’s bowled,” legendary spinner Shane Warne said on the Nine Network.

“I just love the way the ball’s left his hand.”

Lyon, who regained confidence by helping bowl Australia to victory in the Boxing Day Test, started day five with a fantastic nine-over spell from the Randwick End.

The highlight was his removal of first-innings century-maker Younis Khan.

Younis, who finished 175 not out on Friday and was responsible for more than half of Pakistan’s first-innings total, loomed as the batsman most likely to defy Australia.

The veteran skipped down the pitch to Lyon but skied an edge to Hazlewood instead of clearing the rope, falling 23 runs short of boosting his Test career tally to 10,000.

Lyon held a swirling skied edge to dismiss Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who was one of O’Keefe’s three victims on Saturday.

“It was a tough series … they played far better than us,” Misbah said.

O’Keefe accounted for nightwatchman Yasir Shah, who showed admirable resistance in a 93-ball stay at the crease, and Wahab Riaz.

The left-arm tweaker, likely to play a key role in next month’s tour of India, also ran out Mohammad Amir.

Memories of Pakistan’s epic run-chase in Brisbane, where they suffered a 39-run loss after threatening to haul in an imposing target of 490, would have been at the back of Smith’s mind in the morning.

But Hazlewood, who has been Smith’s go-to man in good times and bad this summer, single-handedly grabbed the crucial scalp of opener Azhar Ali with his sixth delivery of the day.

Josh Hazlewood enjoys taking the wicket of Pakistan's Azhar Ali.
Josh Hazlewood enjoys taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Azhar Ali.

Azhar, who produced a masterful double-ton in Melbourne and set a Pakistani record for most runs in a Test series in Australia, attempted to clip a ball off his pads but instead offered Hazlewood a simple catch.

Hazlewood then needed just 10 balls at Babar Azam to trap the out-of-form batsman lbw for the second time in the match.

It was Pakistan’s 12th consecutive Test loss in Australia, with both teams now focusing on a five-match ODI series that starts in Brisbane on Friday.

Veteran batsmen George Bailey and Aaron Finch have been axed from Australia’s ODI team, replaced by uncapped duo Chris Lynn and Billy Stanlake.

Usman Khawaja is expected to open alongside Warner at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday.

“George (Bailey) has scored one fifty in his past 10 ODIs and, while his form has not been disastrous, it has not been to his usual standard,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.

Australia’s 14-man ODI squad: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Mitch Marsh, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Billy Stanlake.