Australian openers Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja batted solidly against Pakistan’s spinners to take their team to 137 without loss at lunch on the third day of the first Test in Dubai on Tuesday.
Khawaja was unbeaten on 68 and debutant Finch was unbeaten on 59 at the break, both having survived some anxious moments against a threatening Yasir Shah on a Dubai stadium pitch which has started to take spin.
Pakistan had looked for early wickets after Australia resumed at 30-0 but both Finch and Khawaja thwarted all such attempts as they added another 107 runs without being separated.
Australia trail Pakistan’s first innings total of 482 by 345 runs with all their wickets intact.
Finch looked confident as he punched two boundaries and a six off Yasir before sweeping off-spinner Bilal Asif for a boundary to reach his half-century.
He has so far hit five boundaries and a six, while Khawaja has six boundaries to his credit.
Khawaja lived dangerously in the fourth over of the day when wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed missed a stumping off Yasir with Khawaja out of his crease.
The Pakistan-born batsman improved upon his previous best score in Asia of 26, made against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2011, by reaching his 13th Test half-century.