Pakistan were 90/1 at stumps, trailing by 301 runs against Australia on the second day of the third and final Test at the Gaddafi Stadium, here on Tuesday. Abdullah Shafique (45 not out) and Azhar Ali (30 not out) were unbeaten at the crease, when play ended on Day 2.
Resuming the day at 232/5, Australian batters — Alex Carey and Cameron Green batted through the opening session to regain control of the match. The batters slowly built their partnership, steadily pulling Australia out of the delicate situation.
Both Carey and Green continued to frustrate the Pakistani bowlers, completed their respective half-centuries and took Pakistan to 320/5 at lunch.
Immediately after the lunch break, there was some respite for Pakistan as they were eventually able to break the 135-run partnership. Carey was trapped at the crease by Nauman Ali’s quicker delivery as he walked back to the pavilion on 67. And shortly after, Green was done-in by a brilliant in-swinger from Naseem Shah, a delivery that came back in sharply ended his knock of 79.
With two quick wickets of the set batters, Australia were under the pump. Mitchell Starc and captain Pat Cummins tried to steady the ship. But Starc, who was batting aggressively, lost his wicket on 13 while trying to hit Shaheen over mid-off. Pakistan cleared the Australian tail easily as Naseem Shah in the very next over dismissed Nathan Lyon (4) with a big reverse-swinging delivery, an ICC report said.
Shaheen with a brilliant inswinging yorker then dismissed Mitchell Swepson on nine and Australia were bowled out for 391. With their respective bowling figures of 4/79 and 4/58, Shaheen and Naseem starred with the ball for Pakistan.
With tea being taken early, Pakistan started their innings in the final session of the day. The in-form Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq started their innings looking solid against Starc and Cummins, batting easily through their first stint.
All-rounder Green was brought into the attack and Imam welcomed him with a beautiful drive towards wide mid-off, and Nathan Lyon was introduced into the attack from the other end, and he bowled at an accurate length to keep the Pakistani batters in check.
But a change of end did the trick for Australia, as Cummins, in the very first ball of the 13th over, dismissed Imam on 11, trapping him in front of the stumps. Shafique, joined by Azhar Ali, then stitched together a solid partnership and ensured that Pakistan were not in any trouble for the remainder of the day’s play.
Brief scores: Pakistan 90/1 (Abdullah Shafique 45 not out, Azhar Ali 30 not out; Pat Cummins 1/27) trail Australia 391 (Usman Khawaja 91, Cameron Green 79; Naseem Shah 4/58, Shaheen Afridi 4/79) by 301 runs