Australia win series

Josh Hazlewood struck early and Australia’s spinners drove home the advantage as the hosts closed on a 3-0 series sweep by reducing Pakistan to 128 for five at lunch on the fifth day of the third test on Saturday.

The tourists had resumed on 55 for one at sun-drenched Sydney Cricket Ground looking to bat out the day and save a draw after being handed a world record victory target of 465.

Pakistan were still 337 runs short at the break with captain Misbah-ul-Haq leading the rearguard action on 18 not out with Asad Shafiq, who had made 23, holding up the other end.

Paceman Hazlewood struck with the final ball of the first over of the day, removing Azhar Ali for 11 when the in-form opener bunted the ball back to him for an easy catch.

The new batsman, Babar Azam, made nine runs off 11 balls before becoming Hazlewood’s second victim of the morning, trapped plumb lbw by a delivery that nipped in to continue his disappointing tour.

Younus Khan, who hit an unbeaten 175 in the first innings, needed 36 runs to become the 13th batsman, and first from Pakistan, to record 10,000 runs in test cricket.

But the 39-year-old was denied even that solace, departing for 13 when he went at a Nathan Lyon delivery only to miscue his slog sweep to mid-on where Hazlewood took another simple catch.

Nightwatchman Yasir Shah has shown better form with the bat than the ball in this series, his leg spin having been hammered for 672 runs, but his dogged resistance ended with 13 runs to his name when he got a thick edge to a Steve O’Keefe delivery.

Jackson Bird took the catch in the cordon, his third in the test as a substitute fielder for opener Matt Renshaw, who was withdrawn from the match after taking a blow to the helmet on Thursday.

Australia skipper Steve Smith almost gave Mitchell Starc his first wicket of the innings when he got his fingertips to a Shafiq edge half an hour before but was unable to hold on.

Pakistan will look in vain for help from the weather as the rain which washed away the opening session on days three and four of the test was nowhere to be seen, with sunshine forecast for the remainder of the day.

Australia hold a 2-0 lead in the series after wins in Brisbane and Melbourne.

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