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Sport What pulled the GOAT out of worrying slump

01:51  03 december  2019
01:51  03 december  2019 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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David Warner standing in front of a crowd: David Warner celebrates reaching 300 runs© Getty David Warner celebrates reaching 300 runs Australia has completed a 2-0 clean sweep of the series against Pakistan, with a second consecutive innings victory.

Here's how former Australian captain Mark Taylor rated the players, exclusively for Wide World of Sports.

David Warner – 10 – I've always said it takes remarkable physical fitness to score a Test match triple century, and Warner's innings proved exactly that! Batted brilliantly, apart from being caught off a no-ball I can barely remember Warner playing and missing, much less giving a serious chance. Been in remarkable touch in all forms of the game since the start of the season.

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Joe Burns – 1 – It can't have been much fun for Joe Burns looking at the scoreboard on day two with Australia 1-369, given he'd been dismissed for just four, but that's the way things go in cricket sometimes. He could so easily have played and missed, instead he nicked off and spent the next day and a half watching his teammates pile on the runs.

Marnus Labuschagne – 9 – It's not often a player makes 162 and is almost completely overshadowed, but that was the reality for Marnus Labuschagne in Adelaide. Became the first Australian since Phillip Hughes in 2009 to make his first two Test centuries in consecutive innings, and has taken full advantage of a poor Pakistan bowling attack to put some big scores on the board in these two matches. Did the hard work in England a few months ago, and was rewarded by being able to cash in against Pakistan. Only misses out on a perfect score after dropping a reasonably straightforward caught and bowled on day three.

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Steve Smith – 5 – As an opening batsman I never had to sit through a partnership of 361 before getting a bat, but I can't imagine it's much fun. No doubt his teammates were having fun reminding him that someone always misses out after such a large partnership! Got himself out with a big swipe across the line, but with the score nearing 500 at the time that's of no concern. Broke Wally Hammond's long-standing record to become the fastest player in history to score 7000 Test runs.

David Warner, Steve Smith in uniform: David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.© Getty David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith.

Matthew Wade – 7 – A bright and breezy 38 not out off 40 balls as Australia looked for a declaration on day two. Did what was asked of him, in a situation where he didn't have much to gain.

Travis Head – N/A – Poor Travis Head must feel like the 12-year-old kid drafted in at the last minute to play in Dad's team, because he didn't get to bat or bowl for the entire game. Disappointing for the home town hero, but Test cricket is a team game and I'm sure he'll take the win above personal achievement any day.

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Tim Paine – 7 – There's been some criticism of Tim Paine for declaring with David Warner on 335, and denying Warner a chance to break Brian Lara's world record, but I don't buy that. You don't play for individual records, and given the weather forecast at the time Paine did exactly the right thing in giving Australia the best chance to win the game. His keeping was highlighted by a brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss Iftikhar Ahmed in the first innings, although that was balanced by a missed stumping off Nathan Lyon. I liked his decision to enforce the follow-on, although day three wasn't his finest day as Australian captain.

a baseball player wearing a helmet: Tim Paine roasts Marnus Labuschagne after a mishap when called upon to bowl on day 3 of the second Test. Tim Paine roasts Marnus Labuschagne after a mishap when called upon to bowl on day 3 of the second Test.

Pat Cummins – 8 – Another impeccable performance by the world's top-ranked bowler. Rarely bowls a bad over, much less a bad spell. Australia's trio of fast bowlers were outstanding in this series, and it's scary for opposition teams to consider the likes of James Pattinson are still on the sidelines.

Mitchell Starc – 9 – He's bowling exceptionally well at the moment, and his remodelled action seems to have given him greater control, without sacrificing any pace. After only playing one of the five Ashes Test matches he's bounced back beautifully in these two matches against Pakistan.

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a group of men playing a game of baseball: Yassir Shah has been dismissed LBW by Nathan Lyon. Yassir Shah has been dismissed LBW by Nathan Lyon.

Nathan Lyon – 8 – There's little doubt that Nathan Lyon was down on confidence in the first innings, he had absolutely no luck and his body language wasn't great. But that turned around when he claimed his first wicket in the second innings, and from that point on he bowled so much better. He got his line right, and challenged the right handers to play him through the offside rather than allowing them to work him through the legside with the spin.

Josh Hazlewood – 8 – Once again Hazlewood didn't have the best of the bowling figures, but picked up the wickets that mattered in another very impressive performance, complementing Starc and Cummins beautifully.

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