Aussies make good inroads into hosts’ score

Australia trailed Pakistan by 341 runs at stumps on day two of the first Test in Dubai, sitting on 113 for none after bowling the hosts out for 454 earlier in the day.

David Warner was already past his half century mark on 75, his sixth in a row, while Chris Rogers coasted along to 31. This was in response to the big score posted by Pakistan thanks to a century from Sarfraz Ahmed.

The hosts began the day on 219 for four, with Misbah in the 30s and Asad Shafiq not yet in double figures. While they took their time against the fast bowlers, with Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson collecting more maidens, the spinners were not as lucky.

Nathan Lyon was targeted from the get go, as both Misbah and Shafiq moved towards their half centuries. The pace was slow before the first drinks break, but once it was spin from both ends, the runs flowed freely.

It was the most part-time of spinners that got the only breakthrough though. Steve Smith lured Misbah into a false sense of security with some boundary full tosses, before the skipper lobbed one to mid on for Johnson to catch.

So with Misbah out for 69, this left Shafiq and Sarfraz to take the side to lunch. Sarfraz came in and got off the mark with a four, and was on 14 at the end of that over. He didn’t slow down, and was on 27 off 18 balls at lunch. Shafiq was on 56.

The afternoon session saw Sarfraz score the bulk of the runs, continuing where he left off and reaching his century off just 80 balls. It was his second ton overall, and his second in just three Tests, and he was overjoyed, leaping and hollering.

Meanwhile, Shafiq was removed for 89, becoming Steve O’Keefe’s first international wicket. He skied it to Mitchell Marsh, bringing debutant Yasir Shah to the middle. He played a dire knock though, as was out for two.

Just before the tea break, Zulfiqur Babar was struck on the finger by a Johnson snorter, and the blood poured. The break to treat it broke Sarfraz’s concentration and he was out in the final over of the session.

After tea, Babar was unable to bat, and Lyon wrapped up the innings, removing the final wicket of Rahat Ali for a duck. The Aussies thus has a session to see out, and made light work of it.

Warner was his usual unstoppable self, scoring his sixth 50-plus score in a row, while Rogers was his typically sedate self. They still managed to put on a century stand in short order, showing that the track was essentially a road.