Pakistan were just seven wickets away from a likely win in the first Test in Dubai on Wednesday after medium pacer Mohammad Abbas shook the Australian top order with three wickets in the space of seven balls without conceding a run.
Australia, who are chasing record-setting 462 run target to win, were cruising along nicely at 87 without loss when Abbas struck three telling blows, removing Aaron Finch for 49 and Marsh brothers — Shaun and Mitchell Marsh — without scoring to leave Australia on the brink.
Australia recovered with Usman Khawaja (50 not out) and Travis Head (34 not out) adding an invaluable 49 runs for the fourth wicket to revive Australia at the close with the score at 136-3.
Pakistan will need seven more wickets while Australia another 326 runs to take a 1-0 lead in this two-match series.
Pakistan had declared their second innings at 181-6 and at one point with Usman Khawaja and Finch going strong it looked Pakistan had declared early but just like in the first innings the first wicket opened the floodgates.
Australian openers had put 142 in the first innings but lost their ten wickets for a mere 60 runs and this happened again as after reaching 87 without loss they lost three without any addition to the score.
Abbad had Finch and Mitchell leg before while Shaun was caught behind off a moving delivery, as Abbas had figures of 3-26 in 11 probing overs.
Pakistan’s proven match winner Yasir Shah has still to get a wicket in this Test proving that a long lay off had its effect on his bowling.
Pakistan earlier declared their second innings as soon as Asad Shafiq got out for 41. Imam-ul-Haq played another solid knock of 48 before becoming one of three Jon Holland’s wickets. Haris Sohail made 39.
So all in all the Duabi pitch has proved its curator Toby Humsden right, coming into action on day three and could produce a result early on the fifth day.