Azhar’s 185 puts Pakistan in command

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RAWALPINDI: Bad light denied Pakistan an opportunity to create cracks in Australia’s top order as the second day’s play was ended early after the hosts declared their first innings at 476-4 thanks to super knocks from Azhar Ali (185) and Imam-ul-Haq (157), who shared 208 runs in the second wicket stand on the wicket which was still suitable to bat on.

Australia were allowed to face only a single over, in response, bowled by off-spinner Sajid Khan and they closed on five without loss with Usman Khawaja (5*) hitting a four. David Warner opened the innings with the left-hander of Pakistan’s origin.

Starting the day at 245-1 both Azhar and Imam batted with more caution, scoring only 57 runs in the first session. Skipper Pat Cummins provided a breakthrough to the visitors when he had Imam, trapped lbw. Imam, who was batting on 132 at the close of the first day, brought in his 150 off 329 balls. He struck two sixes and 16 fours in his 358-ball knock during which he stayed at the wicket for 529 minutes.

Azhar was then joined by skipper Babar Azam (36). At this stage Azhar completed his 19th century of his career, which came off 257 balls.

Just before tea Azhar brought in his 150 to take Pakistan to 394-2. Azhar’s 150 came off 317 balls. Soon after tea Pakistan lost Babar Azam, got run out by Labuschagne after he hit three fours in his 82-ball knock. They added 101 runs for the third wicket stand.

Azhar then went for 185 while attempting a reverse sweep which went into Green off Labuschagne. Azhar struck three sixes and 15 fours in his 361-ball knock. Azhar stayed at the crease for 535 minutes.

Mohammad Rizwan (29*) and Iftikhar Ahmed (13*) then played a few nice shots when Babar declared the innings to give his bowlers an hour to attack Australia. However bad light denied them the opportunity.

Rizwan struck three fours in his 46-ball unfinished knock. Iftikhar smacked one four from 21 balls.

Pat Cummins got 1-62 in 28 overs while Marnus Labuschagne secured 1-53 in 12 overs. The third day’s play will begin at 9:30am. Australia trail by 471 runs.