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Pakistan declare after amassing 537-run lead


Pakistan declared their second innings at 400-9 after building a massive lead of 537 runs on the third day of the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Middle-order batsman Babar Azam fell just one run short of his maiden Test century while skipper Sarfraz Ahmed scored another sure-footed half century.

That is good enough for Pakistan to force a 1-0 series win on a Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch set to provide more spin during the last two days.

The first Test in Dubai last week ended in a draw.

Babar, who was dismissed for nought in the first innings, fell leg before to Mitchell Marsh for 99. Two Pakistani batsmen also faced a similar fate in the first innings. Opener Fakhar Zaman who made his Test debut was caught leg before by Labuschange for 94. Sarfraz was caught by Siddle on Labuschange’s bowling, also on 94.

After a dull opening period, the embarrassing dismissal of Azhar Ali provided a spark.

The batsman edged a Peter Siddle delivery to the third man boundary and, thinking the ball had crossed the rope, halted in the middle of the pitch to talk to fellow batsman Safiq.

But Mitchell Starc picked up the ball a yard from the boundary and threw it back to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, who ran Azhar out, leaving the Pakistani duo — who have a combined experience of 130 Tests and over 9,000 runs — looking stunned and sheepish.

Azhar fell for a well played 64, inclusive of four boundaries.

Pakistan had earlier lost Haris Sohail for 17, stumped by Paine off Nathan Lyon after resuming at 144-2.

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