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Pakistan take control after Abbas annihilates Australia

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – Pakistan seamer Mohammad Abbas ripped through the top of the Australian batting order as the visitors slumped to 91 for seven at lunch on day two of the second and final test in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Resuming on 20-2, Australian batsman Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh struggled to cope with the moving ball as Pakistan pacemen Abbas and Mir Hamza choked the scoring rate in the opening hour.

Abbas, who removed in-form opener Usman Khawaja and nightwatchman Peter Siddle on the opening day, soon grabbed his third wicket when he dismissed a hesitant Marsh for three after he edged a delivery to Haris Sohail at first slip.

The 28-year-old right-arm quick then tested Finch with some sharp inswingers but it was his partner Travis Head (14) who cracked under pressure, gifting a comfortable catch to Asad Shafiq in the slip cordon to leave Australia reeling at 56-4.

Mitchell Marsh arrived to the crease with a positive mindset and added 13 runs before he edged a sharp leg-spinner from Yasir Shah to Shafiq.

Finch soon followed Marsh back to the pavilion when he gloved to short leg for 39, handing off-spinner Bilal Asif’s his first breakthrough of the match.

Four overs later, Asif returned to trap Australian captain Tim Paine leg before for three, with the tourists still 191 runs behind Pakistan’s first innings total of 282.

Abbas went to the interval as the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-29 as the hosts hope to ensure a big first innings lead in their bid to win the series following a drawn opening test in Dubai.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)