Thu, 15 Nov 2018
23
Santo Domingo

Abbas and Bilal secure 137-run lead

ESPNCricInfo
17 Oct 2018, 20:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Pakistan 282 all out (Fakhar 94, Sarfraz 94, Lyon 4-78) lead Australia145 all out (Finch 39, Abbas 5-33) by 137 runs

Pakistan made relatively short work of what remained of Australia's innings post-lunch, skittling them out for 145. It wasn't before Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc put on the highest partnership of the innings - 37 - that chipped away into the massive deficit.

But that ended with a moment of madness from Labuschagne. After Starc drove Yasir tamely back to the bowler, Yasir got a touch onto the ball as it headed towards the stumps. Labuschagne had his bat in the air as he watched it hit the stumps, inexplicably failing to ground the bat. Soon after, Asif broke through Lyon's defences, before Abbas completed a five-wicket haul to wrap up Australia's innings.

For the second time in as many Tests, Pakistan punched big holes in Australia's middle order, establishing firm control in the morning session in Abu Dhabi. Having been dismissed for what would have been perceived as a below-par 282, Pakistan put in a stellar morning's performance to ensure Australia are unlikely to get too close to it, with the visitors still not up to three figures and trailing by 181 runs with three wickets left.

It was the flavour of this season who continued to endear himself to Pakistan's fans. Mohammad Abbas teased and tested Australia's batsman in a game of patience as Shaun Marsh and Travis Head were his third and fourth victims this morning, adding to the two scalps he had from last evening's play. The pair fell in almost identical fashion: Abbas pitching on a line just outside off stump and nipping away ever so slightly, the outside edges almost drawn to the ball as if they were in its magnetic field.

Sarfraz Ahmed, keen to take advantage of the new ball while the pitch was cooperative, kept Abbas in for a lengthy seven-over spell, while Mir Hamza operated from the other end. While the debutant was good enough, it was always Abbas who threatened to take wickets. Pakistan have found a gem who looks dangerous whatever the conditions or situation. He can bowl in England, West Indies or the UAE without so much as noticing where he is. Right-handers, left-handers, new ball, old ball. It is a trump card Pakistan may continue to play for years to come.

Mitchell Marsh looked solid for the time he was at the crease, and with Aaron Finch, who had managed to survive all morning Australia needed a partnership of the sort Sarfraz and Fakhar Zaman had put on yesterday. But within the last half hour, the session's pendulum swing decisively in Pakistan's favour as the spinners made their presence felt. First it was Yasir who took Marsh's edge, another catch for the reliable Asad Shafiq at first slip. Bilal Asif then struck the hammer blow when he removed the opener Finch for 39, short leg diving to take a smart catch after the ball had skimmed the inside edge.

There was still time for Asif to remove the Australia captain Tim Paine in the last over before lunch, trapping him on the crease as the ball spun sharply into his pads.

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