Pakistan are in the driver’s seat in the first test match between them and Australia at the Dubai International Stadium. The hosts lead by 325 runs after the end of day 3. Centuries from Mohammad Hafeez and Harish Sohail helped Pakistan post a mammoth score of 482 on the scoreboard after the first innings. The visitors started the third day of the test with having scored 30 runs for the loss of zero wickets.
Openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja carried on the good work from where they had left. Both of them reached to their respective fifties before the partnership was finally broken by Mohammad Abbas. He removed Aaron Finch as Australia lost their first wicket for 142 runs. One brought two. Debutant Bilal Asif got his maiden test wicket in the form of Shaun Marsh. Khawaja’s impressive knock of 85 came to an end shortly. Bilal Asif found the edge of Khawaja and Imam Ul Haq completed the catch.
Asif soon got his third wicket. He dismissed Travis Head for a nought and reduced the batting side to 171-4. Asif was hot to handle for the Australian batsmen. And two balls later he struck gold again. Marnus Labuschagne perished for a 2 ball duck as Imam again caught a sharp catch. Mitchell Marsh was the sixth batsman to go back to the pavilion. Mohammad Abbas’ delivery struck Marsh’s pads straight in front of the wickets to bestow him with his second wicket of the innings. Asif made it a debut to remember, when he picked up the Aussie captain Tim Paine, as he bagged a deserving 5fer. Abbas found the edge of Mitchell Starc before Sarfraz Ahmed completed an easy catch to put Australia 8 down. The tailenders couldn’t add much runs to the scorecard. Abbas and Asif picked up their 4th and 6th wicket respectively to end the Australian innings for 202 runs.
Sarfraz Ahmed decided not to inflict the follow on on the visitors as the Pakistani batsmen came out to bat again. Jon Holland got the first wicket in the second innings when centurian in the first innings, Hafeez handed over an easy catch to Labuschagne. Hero with the ball Bilal Asif was sent as the night watchman. But he couldn’t replicate his heroics. He went back to the pavilion without disturbing the scorers as Nathan Lyon got his first wicket of the innings. Holland got his second wicket in the last over of the day. Azhar Ali was adjudged LBW of Holland’s bowling. Pakistan are found in a spot of bother at the end of the third day with the scorecard reading 45-3 in their second innings.
But a lead of 325 runs is already a healthy one. With spin destined to play a major role in the fourth innings, any target of more than 350 runs would be enough for Pakistan to get a lead of 1-0 in the test series. Australia have a mountain to climb. It will be a test of character for them in the fourth innings to face some quality Pakistani spinners.
Pakistan First Innings: 482-10.
Mohammad Hafeez: 126
Harish Sohail: 110
Peter Siddle: 29-11-58-3.
Australia First Innings: 202-10
Usman Khawaja: 85
Aaron Finch: 62
Bilal Asif: 21.3-7-36-6.
Pakistan Second Innings: 45-3
Imam Ul Haq: 23
Mohammad Hafeez: 17
Jon Holland: 3.2-1-9-2.