Azhar Ali and Imam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan score a 467-4 after day 2

Azhar and Imam have put the hosts in a presiding position

At the start of day 2, it was a disciplined batting effort from Pakistan-led centurions Azhar Ali and opener Imam Ul Haq who combined for a second-wicket partnership of 208 while Pakistan declared 476-4 about an hour before stumps.

At the start of day 2, it was a disciplined batting effort from Pakistan led by centurions Azhar Ali and opener Imam-ul-Haq who combined for a second-wicket partnership of 208. Reversal alarming short-pitched bowling from Pat Cummins, who was unsurprisingly the pick of Australia’s bowlers and the only one to take a wicket, they stonewalled during a sedate first session yielding 57 runs in 25 overs.

The exhausted tourists, in their first overseas Test tour since 2019, face the daunting prospect of having to summon a rousing batting effort to stay afloat in the series opener. They will hope the pitch doesn’t start to wear after sole specialist spinner Nathan Lyon was unable to invoke rampant turn on day two that he produced early on day one. But Marnus Labuschagne found a bit of spin late on to sharpen the appetite for Pakistan’s spin-heavy attack.

Cummins was rewarded for his persistence when he had the energetic Imam trapped LBW to end his brilliant maiden Test century of 157 from 358 balls. 

Pakistan’s bid to accelerate suffered a setback after a tea when skipper Babar Azam, who had shared a quick 101 runs partnership with Azhar, was spectacularly run out by a direct throw from a pumped-up Labuschagne, who sought to lift Australia’s lagging spirit.

Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmad have promoted up the order in a clear sign of Pakistan’s intentions after it had seemed the hosts were intent on extending Australia’s misery in the field into the third day.

Pakistan had three big partnerships at the top as their careful approach never gave Australia a sniff in the favorable batting conditions. It was a slow burn but they similarly turned the screws to their success over Australia in the UAE in 2014 and 2018.

Azhar’s great 361 ball vigil ended midway through the final session when he fell seeing quick runs as Pakistan declared on 467 for 4 about an hour before stumps. Under the floodlights amid gloomy skies, Pakistan had to resort to spin to keep playing but only a solitary over from Sajid Khan was bowled before players left the field and the stumps were called shortly after with Australia at 5 for 0.