Pakistan vs Australia 2nd Test Day 3: Azam, Sarfraz set Australia mammoth target of 538 to win

Babar Azam 99 Pakistan Australia 2nd Test Day 3 Abu Dhabi cricket

Babar Azam fell one run short of his maiden Test century

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Babar Azam scored 99 and captain Sarfraz Ahmed made 81 as Pakistan left Australia with a monumental task of chasing 538 to win on the third day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi.

Starting off the day on 144/2, Pakistan only added 10 runs to their overnight score before Haris Sohail was stumped by Australia captain Tim Paine off the bowling of Nathan Lyon for 17.

Azhar Ali was then run out in truly bizarre fashion as he thought the ball had gone to the boundary. Instead, the ball stopped short and he was talking to Asad Shafiq in the middle of the pitch when Paine collected the throw from Mitchell Starc and ran Azhar out.

Azhar’s unbelievable lack of awareness led to him being dismissed for 64, which came off 141 balls and included four boundaries.

Shafiq and Azam stabilised the innings with a 75-run partnership before Shafiq was dismissed by Marnus Labuschagne for 44.

Azam and Sarfraz kept the runs flowing with a 133-run stand, during which Azam was on the verge of scoring his century, while Sarfraz brought up his fifty.

Sarfraz Ahmed 81 Pakistan Australia 2nd Test Day 3 Abu Dhabi cricket

Sarfraz Ahmed scored his 16th Test fifty

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

With Azam just one run away from his maiden Test century, disaster struck as he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh for 99, which came off 171 balls and included six boundaries and three sixes.

Azam reviewed the decision, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and hitting leg stump.

Once Azam was gone, Bilal Asif and Yasir Shah fell in quick succession.

Sarfraz went on to score a 123-ball 81, which included five boundaries and a six, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Labuschagne.

Like Azam, Sarfraz opted for a review, but was unsuccessful in having the decision overturned.

Once Sarfraz was dismissed, he declared on 400/9, which set Australia a target of 538 to win.

Lyon was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Labuschagne took two, and Marsh and Starc claimed one wicket each.

Chasing 538 to win, Australia were dealt a big blow on the ninth ball of their innings as opener Shaun Marsh was clean bowled by debutant Mir Hamza for four runs.

Aaron Finch and Travis Head ensured Australia didn’t lose anymore wickets as they amassed an unbeaten 37-run partnership before stumps was called.

Finch finished on 24 off 37 balls, which included two boundaries, while Head remained undefeated on 17, which came off 29 deliveries and included two boundaries.

Hamza was the only bowler to take a wicket.

Australia ended day three on 47/1 and will continue batting on Friday at 10:00 local time or 06:00 GMT.

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