ABU DHABI: Medium pacer Mohammad Abbas registered a five-wicket haul to steer Pakistan into a dominating position in the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Abbas finished with five for 33 to bowl out Australia for a paltry 145 to give Pakistan a 137-run lead in the first innings on the second day at Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Pakistan stretched that lead to 281 as they were 144 for two at close, with Azhar Ali not out on 54 for his first half century in the series and Haris Sohail was 17 not out.
With eight wickets in hand Pakistan were in a great position to force a 1-0 lead in the two-match series after the first Test ended in a fighting draw in Dubai last week. Azhar, who fell for disappointing scores of 18, four and 15 in the last three innings, batted with resolve, having so far hit three boundaries.
But it was once again debutant Fakhar Zaman who lifted Pakistan with a brilliant 66 following up his 94 in the first innings, before giving a return catch to Nathan Lyon who took an evasive action but still managed to hold onto the ball.
Zaman hit seven boundaries in an enterprising knock. Zaman said Pakistan were in the driving seat. “Yes, our position is good,” said Zaman. “If we score 100-150 runs more today then with a turning wicket we have a very good chance of winning this Test.” Zaman said he was lucky to have played this Test. “I was with the squad from the start but during the first Test I was about to return to Pakistan before, unfortunately, Imam-ul-Haq got injured and I got this chance of playing my first Test.” Mohammad Hafeez, who scored a hundred in the drawn first Test, fell to a lazy shot off pacer Mitchell Starc, caught at short mid-off for six. Earlier, Abbas and spinner Bilal Asif (3-23) wrecked Australia for 145 in their innings. Abbas had Shaun Marsh, in the fourth over of the day, for three and Travis Head for 14 before wrapping up the innings by trapping Starc leg-before for 34. —Agencies