Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith fire in Lahore but hosts regain momentum on day one

Usman Khawaja is caught at first slip by Babar Azam.Credit:AP

When Head was caught behind for 26, Australia were 5-206 before Cam Green (20) and Alex Carey (8) batted well before stumps.

Khawaja’s return to international cricket, after his 35th birthday, has been nothing short of remarkable.

This was Khawaja’s fifth score of 50 or more from eight innings. Twin centuries in Sydney before knocks of 97, 160, 44 not out and 91 in his country of birth has solidified Khawaja’s spot at the top of the order.

At an age when the motor skills of batsmen traditionally tend to wane, Khawaja is giving every indication that he is as sharp as ever. His shots square of the wicket remain a feature of his game, complemented by a defence purpose-built for batting in the subcontinent.

Khawaja has the most runs of any player this series – 392 at 130.67 – and will be a lock to open the batting for Australia on their next tour of Sri Lanka in June and July.

It was an important toss for Pat Cummins to win, with spin duo Nathan Lyon and Mitch Swepson visibly pleased when the coin fell the captain’s way before play on a scorching morning at Gaddafi Stadium.

Warner, who couldn’t get bat on ball to Shaheen Afridi, was adjudged LBW and sent back to the pavilion for seven – his fifth single-digit score from seven innings since the SCG Test against England in January.

In and out came Labuschagne, who departed for a second ball duck; the second time he hasn’t troubled the scorers in this three-Test series.

The 27-year-old has replicated Smith’s idiosyncrasies and clearly modelled his game off him accordingly but not been quite at that level of excellence on a tour that he desperately wanted to impress on given how little Test cricket he has featured in overseas.

David Warner walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal for seven on the first day of the third Test.

David Warner walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal for seven on the first day of the third Test.Credit:AP

Labuschagne has compiled 134 runs at 33.50 in the series so far. However, from 14 innings across nine matches away from home, Labuschagne is yet to make triple figures. His Test average outside of Australia is 37.86.

The No.3’s dismissal, caught behind off Shaheen, was the shot of a player extremely eager to get bat on ball early in his innings. There was no need for Labuschagne to go so hard so early outside off stump and he paid the ultimate price with a third career duck in Tests as Australia lost two wickets in an over.

From there, Smith and Khawaja chalked up their second century partnership in as many matches after a clinical 159-run stand in the second Test in Karachi.

Pakistan had chances to remove the duo, with Babar missing a sharp chance at first slip off Nauman Ali before the bowler spilled Smith the very next ball.

Meanwhile, thousands of police, toting huge guns over their shoulders, lined the streets as both teams were given the royal treatment once again on their way to the ground.

It was an emotional return to Test cricket in Lahore. The city has been deprived of five-day red ball cricket since 2009 when Sri Lanka’s team bus was shot at by terrorists, resulting in eight deaths and injuries to seven players.

At the Liberty Roundabout, where the Sri Lankan team was shot at, locals on the street go about their life normally. Thirteen years ago, it was the scene of one of cricket’s darkest hours, but Pakistan cricket has done everything in its power to move on.

There were at least five checkpoints before getting anywhere near the stadium and although the power went down at the stadium twice before play, Test cricket made a welcome return to Lahore.

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