World Sports

Mohammad Abbas, Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali extend Pakistan’s dominance

Article by Danyal Rasool, via ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan 282 all out and 144 for 2 (Fakhar 66, Azhar 54*, Starc 1-22) lead Australia 145 all out (Finch 39, Abbas 5-33) by 281 runs

Today was the day all days this series were supposed to be like. With a Pakistan team that has historically been near-invincible in the UAE against an Australian Test unit that was near-unrecognisable, the hosts, at last, dominated in every single facet. Their fast bowlers outbowled Australia’s, their spin bowlers were a class apart, and the batting was in a different league to the visitors’ calamitous effort that they offered this morning. The upshot was Pakistan lead by 281 runs with eight wickets still in hand. With three days remaining in this Test, any fourth-innings batting heroics this time, however Herculean they may be, are unlikely to prevent an Australian defeat.

Australia’s only chance of victory lay in turning over Pakistan cheaply, but those hopes were dashed courtesy another deft innings from debutant Fakhar Zaman. This one was more to type, the opener clever enough to understand he would be able to cut loose in the way that’s become his strength, quick runs being the best way to put the game out of Australia’s reach. He put on 66 of them, and looked on track to reach the debut hundred he was so agonisingly denied yesterday. But a stunning catch from Nathan Lyon off his own bowling dashed Fakhar’s hopes. Lyon looked to be taking evasive action after Fakhar struck the ball hard, but the cherry lodged itself in his hands, and Australia could celebrate a fleeting moment of joy.

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