Pakistan vs Australia: Azhar Ali heaps praise on Pat Cummins

Pakistan batter Azhar Ali has put his team’s first innings collapse down to excellent bowling from Australia, in particular, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

Azhar rued Pakistan’s inability to capitalise on their starts as they gave up a 123-run first-innings lead to the tourists.

The veteran batter passed 7000 Test runs during his stay at the crease but couldn’t convert as he fell for 78 when he pushed one back to Cummins.

Pakistan collapse hands Australia initiative

“The collapse we had after tea has dented our chances a little bit in the game but Test cricket is like that – it goes up and down,” Azhar said.

“That’s the beauty of Test cricket, and hopefully, we can turn things around tomorrow.

“We have to give credit to them. We always knew how good they are, especially Starc, when it comes to reverse-swing.

“Cummins, he’s an outstanding all-around bowler – he is the top bowler in the world right now, and he exploited the conditions really well.

“It was hard work for the fast bowlers, but there was always a kind of low bounce, and reverse-swing was going on since yesterday.

“They kept on bowling on the right areas and kept asking questions, even to the set batsmen as well, and late in the day, there were some good results for them.

“It was lovely to see good, fast, reverse-swing bowling, and unfortunately, we were on the receiving end.”

Azhar said that patience was key on the slow pitch at the National Stadium in Karachi.

“When you play on these pitches you have to bat long, because runs don’t come very quickly.

“Our intent was to maximise the partnerships because it becomes a little difficult for the new batsman, because runs don’t come quickly, you don’t become set, and reverse-swing starts very early.

“So I think against a quality bowling side like Australia who have Cummins and Starc, they can cause problems in these conditions, especially for new batsmen.

“Our 80s, we wanted to convert them into 150s and 170s because it was difficult for the new batsmen.

“Once our partnership [Azhar-Shafique] was broken, it wasn’t easy for the new batsmen who came in.

“Unfortunately the collapse happened very early, and yes, we are in some trouble.

“But we will try to change [our situation] and in a similar way we have the opportunity to take quick wickets and change things around.”

Australia will resume their second innings on day four of the third Test in Pakistan on 11 without loss with David Warner and Usman Khawaja at the crease.