Pakistan on the brink of history
Misbah & Co all set for their first Test series win in 20 years against Australia after great bowling show
Abu Dhabi: Pakistan tightened their grip on the second Test and the series after the third day’s play against Australia, stretching their overall lead to 370 at stumps in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Pakistan's pacer Imran Khan celebrates after clean bowling Australia skipper Michael Clarke on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images.
Pakistan were 61-2 at the close in their second innings with Azhar Ali unbeaten on 21 and Younis Khan on 16 after another batting collapse saw Australia almost squander any chance of levelling the series.
Australia were dismissed for 261 in their first innings, 309 behind Pakistan’s first-innings total of 570-6 declared, but Misbah-ul Haq did not enforce the follow-on and chose to bat again to set a big target on the fourth day. That put Pakistan in a strong position to win their first series against Australia in 20 years after they won the first Test by 221 runs in Dubai.
Mitchell Johnson (2-29) gave the Pakistanis an early scare with the wickets of Ahmed Shehzad (14) and Mohammad Hafeez (three) but Ali and Younis ensured Pakistan did not surrender their strong position.
Marsh hits 87
Australia once again failed to post a big total, with Mitchell Marsh hitting 87 and Michael Clarke scoring 47. Australia had hoped skipper Clarke, who managed just two and three in the first Test, would bat long enough to counter the Pakistan attack but he fell after a good start.
Clarke looked well set during his 62-ball spell at the crease, hitting seven boundaries before he was bowled through the gap with a sharp incoming delivery by paceman Imran Khan who finished with 3-60.
“I kept the ball in the right areas and got some movement,” said Imran. “It was great to have Clarke because his wicket was crucial.”
Clarke added 64 for the sixth wicket with Marsh, who batted solidly and hit a six off Zulfiqar Babar and then took three runs to complete his half-century off just 56 balls. But wickets fell at regular intervals, with Yasir Shah dismissing Brad Haddin (10) and Johnson for a duck to leave Australia struggling at 199-8.
Marsh added 62 for the ninth wicket with Peter Siddle but miscued a defensive shot and was caught off Imran. Hafeez wrapped up the innings when he dismissed Siddle for 28. Rahat Ali (2-41), Shah (2-47) and Babar (2-94) also chipped in with useful wickets.
Brief scores: Pakistan: 570-6 decl and 61-2 lead Australia: 261 (M Marsh 87, M Clarke 47; Imran 3-60) by 370 runs
Live today: Pakistan vs Australia, Day 3 on Ten Cricket and Ten HD, 11:30