Dhaka, Bangladesh
Pakistan remain top in Dubai

Pakistan remain top in Dubai

A small box checked. Australia will be pleased with the way they have started in pursuit of what appears to be an improbable target to win the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai. To add to it, it’s widely assumed that the visitors are only a wicket away from suffering a collapse, similar to the one in the first innings. In spite of all that, going into the session break at 136 for 3 wickets in a 462-run chase will certainly settle some nerves in that dressing room. Pakistan didn’t take a long time to declare post lunch. After going through a few quite overs, Asad Shafiq broke the shackles with a huge six over midwicket off Nathan Lyon. In the process, Shafiq and Babar Azam dragged the lead beyond 450 before the former played an ugly shot to find the man in the deep and perished for a 56-ball 41. Pakistan wasted little time to declare their innings and didn’t entertain thoughts of breaching the 500-run mark. Australia had a minimum of 137 overs to either force a draw or go for a result and they played according to the merit of the delivery. Mohammad Hafeez, handed the new ball alongside Mohammad Abbas, was punished by Usman Khawaja for a boundary in each off his first two overs. Similar to the first innings, Khawaja brought out the reverse sweep whenever possible even with a fielder stationed at the boundary to prevent the batsman from fetching four runs. Bilal Asif’s introduction did slow down the scoring rate a touch but whenever the lengths of the Pakistani spinners were inconsistent, they were duly punished. Brief scores: Australia 202 & 136/3 (Aaron Finch 39*, Usman Khawaja 32*) need another 390 runs vs Pakistan 482 & 181/6d (Imam-ul-Haq 48, Haris Sohail 39; Jon Holland 3-83).

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