MCG Test: Shan, Abdullah fifties help Pak reduce deficit, trail Aus by 124

Melbourne, Dec 27 (UNI) Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood’s crucial second wicket stand helped Pakistan gain a foothold on Day 2 against Australia in the second Test of the Benaud-Qadir Trophy at Melbourne Cricket Ground here on Wednesday. Pakistan trail by 124 runs after their bowling attack dismissed Australia for 318.

Imam-ul-Haq and Shafique gave a cautious start as the left-hander fell victim to Nathan Lyon’s spin for 10 after consuming 44 balls.

Pakistan captain Shan Masood and Abdullah came together and turned the momentum in Pakistan’s favour with a useful 90-run partnership for the second wicket. Abdullah was caught and bowled by captain Pat Cummins after he cracked 62 runs, his first overseas half-century.

In his next over, Cummins gave Babar Azam marching orders after clattering his stumps for one. Immediately, Shan top-edged straight to Mitchell Marsh off Lyon. He fell after scoring 54 from 76, including three fours and a six.

Rough currents gripped Pakistan’s innings further as Josh Hazlewood rattled the timber to remove Saud Shakeel for 9 off 29 balls. Salman Ali Agha (5, 8b, 1×4) was caught behind as Cummins picked up his third of the day to leave Pakistan in a spot of bother at 170-6 in 48 overs.

Mohammad Rizwan and Aamir Jamal attempted to rebuild the innings for Pakistan. The unbeaten seventh-wicket stand between the two added 24 runs to the total. Pakistan salvaged a semblance of stability after losing five wickets at the expense of just 46 runs.

At stumps, Pakistan were 194-6 in 55 overs with Rizwan (29 not out, 34b, 1×4, 1×6) and Aamir (2 not out, 26b) at the crease.

Resuming their overnight score of 187-3, Shaheen Shah Afridi provided the first breakthrough of the day to cut the 50-run stand short as Travis Head (17, 32b, 3x4s) edged the ball to second slip. Aamir Jamal then removed Australia’s top-scorer Marnus Labuschagne for 59 off 155 balls.

Marsh scored 41 from 60, including six boundaries and a maximum. A flurry of wickets put Australia on the backfoot; Alex Carey fell cheaply to Shaheen while Mitchell Starc and Marsh both were caught off Mir

Hamza’s bowling as Australia were reduced to 286-8 in 89.1 overs.

Cummins and Lyon scored 20 runs for the ninth wicket, guiding Australia cross the 300-run mark. Right-arm pacer Hasan Ali scalped Lyon to bowl out Australia for 318.

Pakistan bowlers had a good time as all of them at least picked up a wicket each. Jamal was the most successful bowler as he picked up three wickets. Shaheen, Hasan Ali and Mir Hamza bagged two each, while spinner Salman Ali Agha hauled up one.

Scores in brief:

Australia 318 all out, 96.5 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 63, Usman Khawaja 42, Mitchell Marsh 41; Aamir Jamal 3-64, Mir Hamza 2-51, Hasan Ali 2-61, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-85, Salman Ali Agha 1-22)

Pakistan 194-6, 55 overs (Abdullah Shafique 62, Shan Masood 54, Mohammad Rizwan 29 not out; Pat Cummins 3-37, Nathan Lyon 2-48, Josh Hazlewood 1-29).

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