'Grand final for worst dismissal of all time'

Tim Paine breaks the stumps to run out Azhar Ali.
Tim Paine breaks the stumps to run out Azhar Ali.

MARNUS Labuschagne's obscure meltdown has just been trumped by arguably the biggest brain explosion in the history of cricket.

Pakistan's batsmen thought a shot through third man had safely traveled for four.

It hadn't.

Azhar Ali was run out in the most inexplicable circumstances as he chatted to Asad Shafiq in the middle of the pitch completely oblivious to Mitchell Starc throwing the ball back from a foot inside the rope.

Australia is currently trying to manage Starc through hamstring tightness, and having him run to the boundary was exactly what they were trying to avoid by fielding him at slip. But it resulted in a Test cricket moment of madness that will be replayed for eternity.

Labuschagne was out the previous day when he failed to ground his bat as the non-striker and a ball deflected from the bowler's middle finger to run him out.

Which run out was worse?
Which run out was worse?

But the rookie Queenslander only needed to wait 24 hours to feel a whole lot better about himself.

Not for the first time in the match, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur's poker face completely disappeared as he shook his head and audibly sighed.

Arthur appeared to turn to a fellow coach and say "how does that happen?"

Assistant Grant Flower buried his head deep in both hands.

Once Ali finally realised what had happened, he cursed himself and slammed his bat into his pads as he walked off having blown a hundred, out for 64.

Like Marnus the previous day, who held his bat hovering above the ground even as he saw the ball hit back down the pitch - it at no point registered for the two Pakistanis why wicketkeeper Tim Paine was hustling forward to take Starc's throw and whip the bails off.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was dumbfounded.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was dumbfounded.

"We'll get Marnus and Azhar Ali to star in a movie - dumb and dumber," Allan Border said in commentary.

"I've never seen that before. I've seen a lot of strange things. But nothing quite like that."

Fellow former Test star Mark Waugh said: "That's in the grand final for the worst dismissal of all time."

Ali's shot through third man may have taken a deflection from fielder Shaun Marsh, but the fact it was slowing up in the outfield seemed clear.

It's unclear whether Starc was aware of the mix-up when he picked up the ball, but captain Paine was all over it and anticipated the entire astonishing episode.

Pakistan was 4-232 early on day three with a lead of 369, with Asad Shafiq (42*) not out with Babar Azam (34*) after  Haris Sohail was stumped for 17 off the bowling of Nathan Lyon and Ali was run out.

Australia was bowled out for 145 on day two in reply to Pakistan's first innings total of 282.

Mohammad Abbas was the best of Pakistan's bowlers, removing Usman Khawaja (3), Peter Siddle (4), Shaun Marsh (3), Travis Head (14) and Mitchell Starc (34) to complete a five-wicket haul, while Bilal Asif took 3-23.

Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez (6) to Starc while Nathan Lyon took a stunning reflex catch off his own bowling to account for Fakhar Zaman (66) on day two.

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