MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia edged closer to victory in the second test against Pakistan, and a series whitewash, after spinner Nathan Lyon struck twice to leave the tourists on 167 for five in their second innings at tea on day four.
Pakistan had stubborn half-centuries from Shaan Masood and Asad Shafiq but the patient Lyon removed both to put Australia within five wickets of victory on Monday.
Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Rizwan were both on 10 not out with Pakistan still needing 120 runs to make Australia bat again after being made to follow on.
The situation could have been even worse for the tourists had Marnus Labuschagne not put down his third catch of the match when he grassed a tough chance at short leg after Lyon induced a nick from wicketkeeper Rizwan.
Already 1-0 down in the two-match series after being thrashed in the Brisbane opener, Pakistan face a huge task to make Australia bat again let alone save the test.
Opener Masood and middle order batsman Shafiq dug in after Pakistan resumed on 39 for three and saw off Australia’s opening salvo of pace, with the flat wicket offering little encouragement for the bowlers.
Masood then took to Lyon, dancing down the wicket to hit a straight drive for four to bring up his sixth test half-century.
He took one too many chances against the spinner, however, and was out for 68 when he miscued a lofted drive straight to Mitchell Starc at mid-off.
Shafiq hung on to raise his half-century but eventually nicked Lyon with the rebound pinging off his thigh and into the hands of David Warner at leg slip. He was out for 57.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)