Dominant Pakistan close on series victory

ABU DHABI: Pakistan grabbed an early wicket after Babar Azam struck a fluent 99 to edge closer to claiming a series victory over Australia in the second Test at Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Azam narrowly missed out on a hundred after an aggressive innings, while skipper Sarfraz Ahmed followed up his first-innings 94 with 81 as Pakistan declared their second innings at 400-9, setting a daunting 538-run target for the tourists.
By the close on the third day, Pakistan had Shaun Marsh dismissed for four — bowled by left-arm paceman Mir Hamza for his first Test wicket — to boost their chances of victory after Australia clung on for a thrilling draw in the first Test in Dubai last week.
Aaron Finch (24) and Travis Head (17) were at the crease with Australia, who are 47-1 and need another 491 for an unlikely win or to bat out two full days on a weary and spinning Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch.
Pakistan piled on the runs with Azam, Sarfraz and Azhar Ali — who was the casualty of a bizarre run out — all making half-centuries to build on the hosts’ 137-run first-innings lead.
After a dull opening period, the embarrassing dismissal of Azhar brought the day to life. The batsman edged a Peter Siddle delivery towards the third-man boundary and, thinking the ball had crossed the rope, halted in the middle of the pitch to talk to fellow batsman Asad Shafiq.
But Mitchell Starc picked up the ball less than a yard from the boundary and threw it back to wicket-keeper Tim Paine, who ran Azhar out, leaving the Pakistani duo stranded and looking bewildered. — AFP

Scoreboard

Pakistan 1st innings 282
Australia 1st innings 145
Pakistan 2nd innings
Fakhar Zaman c and b Lyon 66
Mohammad Hafeez c Head b Starc 6
Azhar Ali run out 64
Haris Sohail st Paine b Lyon 17
Asad Shafiq c sub b Labuschagne 44
Babar Azam lbw M Marsh 99
Sarfraz Ahmed lbw Labuschagne 81
Bilal Asif c Head b Lyon 15
Yasir Shah lbw Lyon 4
Mohammad Abbas not out 0
Mir Hamza not out 0
Extras: (lb 2, nb 2) 4
Total: (for nine wkts dec; 120 overs) 400
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-106, 3-154, 4-160, 5-235, 6-368, 7-390, 8-394, 9-400
Bowling: Starc 7-0-32-1, Siddle 23-4-68-0, Lyon 43-8-135-4, Holland 16-3-46-0, Labuschagne 16-1-74-2, M Marsh 13-3-39-1, Head 2-0-4-0
Australia 2nd innings
A Finch not out 24
S Marsh b Hamza 4
T Head not out 17
Extras: (lb2) 2
Total: (for one wkt; 12 overs) 47
Fall of wickets: 1-10
Bowling: Abbas 4-0-15-0, Hamza 3-0-19-1, Yasir 3-0-6-0, Asif 2-1-5-0