(Reuters) – Australia off spinner Nathan Lyon took four wickets in six balls to leave Pakistan reeling on 77 for five at lunch on the opening day of the second and final test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The tourists had made an early breakthrough courtesy of a freakish catch but it was Lyon’s destructive spell in the half an hour before the break that really put Pakistan on the back foot after they had advanced to 57-1.
Azhar Ali (15) and Haris Sohail (0) were removed on consecutive deliveries to conclude one over and although Asad Shafiq fended off the hat-trick ball when Lyon returned, he too went for a duck on the next ball after a DRS review.
The fourth wicket, just two balls later, was the pick of the quartet, with Babar Azam bowled for nought after wafting an ill-advised shot at a perfectly-pitched delivery to leave Pakistan teetering on 57-5.
The hosts, forced to settle for a draw in the first test in Dubai after a desperate rearguard action from the Australians, won the toss and chose to bat on a wicket that promised a big tally.
The tourists bowled with spirit and pace, however, and spearhead Mitchell Starc struck in the fourth over with just five runs on the board.
The Australian left-arm quick first landed a punishing blow on the thumb and shoulder of Mohammad Hafeez with a rising delivery and two balls later, swung one into the Pakistan opener’s pads.
Hafeez slapped it straight to Marnus Labuschangne at short leg and the close fielder juggled the ball off his thigh, knee and calf before it finally settled in his hands to send the batsman on his way with just a single boundary to his name.
The other opener, Fakhar Zaman, handed his debut in place of the injured Imam-ul-Haq, somehow survived the Lyon-inspired carnage and will resume after the break on 49 with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed on four not out at the other end.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne and Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; Editing by John O’Brien)