ABU DHABI (AFP) – Pakistan tightened their grip on the second Test and the series after the third day’s play, stretching their overall lead to 370 at stumps in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
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 s as 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.
Pakistan 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.
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.
Clarke added 64 for the sixth wicket with Marsh.
Marsh batted solidly and hit a six off 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 Khan.
He hit 13 boundaries and a six during his obstinate 116-ball knock.
Hafeez wrapped up the innings when he dismissed Siddle for 28.