| Glenn McGrath acknowledges cheers after sweeping past the 400-wicket mark on Day III of the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah on Monday. (AFP)
Sharjah: Australia’s Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne demolished Pakistan as Waqar Younis’ team headed towards a series whitewash in the third and final Test on Monday.
McGrath, who became the eighth man to take 400 Test wickets before Pakistan were forced to follow on after being dismissed for 221, once again exposed the brittleness of the top order.
Pakistan ended the third day on 176 for eight, still 47 runs short of avoiding a second successive innings defeat.
McGrath, 32, reached his landmark right on lunch with Waqar’s wicket on his way to figures of four for 41 and added three for 18 in the second innings. He is the second Australian after leg-spinner Warne, to capture 400 Test victims.
Warne, who had claimed five for 74 in the first innings, added three for 56.
McGrath, thrilled to reach the 400-wicket mark , is already eyeing 500. “Of course, my immediate goal is take 450 wickets and then go on to get 500 in Tests and 300 in one-day games,” said McGrath, who has also taken over 250 one-day wickets. “I am still enjoying my bowling and my body is going well. Everything is going well though I miss my family but I have to put bread and milk on the table.”
McGrath, estimating another two or three years at the top, said: “I have always liked to bowl against the best of batsmen like the (Brian) Laras and the (Sachin) Tendulkars.”
“It took a while to sleep thinking about my 400th wicket. But I didn’t have to wait long this morning and it was very enjoyable out there in the middle.
“I try to learn from each match and I am always learning. I like to bowl to a plan.”
Pakistan’s Hasan Raza provided the stiffest resistance with 56 not out after making an unbeaten 54 in the first innings.
The start to the Pakistan second innings was depressingly similar to the first. McGrath provided the early breakthroughs, removing Taufeeq Umar and Younis Khan to leave Pakistan struggling at 12 for two.
Andrew Bichel made further inroads by dismissing Imran Farhat cheaply and Faisal Iqbal ran himself out to a direct throw from substitute Nathan Hauritz from the deep.
Hauritz was substituting for Justin Langer. The Australian opener was taken to hospital for a scan after being hit by a drive from Raza off Warne.
Langer, fielding at forward short-leg, received the blow on the back on his neck and collapsed on the field. He was unconscious for a few seconds before being led to the pavilion by the Aussie physio Stephen Partridge. Scans at the hospital revealed no serious injury.
Warne wasted no time in exploiting the early pressure. Bowling with a lot of variation, the leg spinner dismissed Misbah-ul Haq (17), Rashid Latif (17) and Saqlain Mushtaq (10), all falling leg before to his straighter deliveries.
Raza dug in, in the company of Waqar, and the two put on 55 for the eighth wicket — the only highpoint of the Pakistan innings — before Waqar was caught off McGrath for 24.
Pakistan had started the day on 163 for six in their first innings but when McGrath struck in his first over by bowling Saqlain for 44 and then cracking the 400 landmark, the familiar writing was on the wall.