Pakistan is firmly in control of the first Test with the Australians toiling away on day one, taking just one wicket across the first two session in batter-friendly conditions.
Having won the toss, Pakistan is now 1-183 in the final session with Imam-Ul-Haq (95) and Azhar Ali (39) at the crease. Imam has never scored a Test century in 11 matches.
Cameron Green finally came into the attack to bowl the 45th over of the day, while Australia’s quicks have turned to aggresive short-pitched bowling to try and unnerve Pakistan.
Waqar Younis described Cummins’ own spell as “very hostile”.
Abdullah Shafique batted well for his 44 off 105 but with just three minutes before lunch he suffered a brainfade as he attempted to belt Nathan Lyon out of the ground. He skied the delivery and Pat Cummins made a brilliant catch under the high ball having made up plenty of ground.
After a tense opening few overs, commentator Mike Haysman said: “I tell you what, it’s pretty intense Test cricket … the Australians are giving absolutely nothing away.”
Pakistan legend Waqar Younis added: “The bowling has been good. Really good.”
Pat Cummins found the outside edge of Shafique in the 11th over but the ball fell short of David Warner at first slip.
Wicketkeeper Alex Carey didn’t make an attempt to make a catch in front of Warner while the ball went in-between the pair for four — as it had done a number of times during the Ashes. Carey also misgloved a number of deliveries to the spin of Nathan Lyon early on, including dropping a tough chance down legside.
Australia brought on off-spinner Lyon to bowl the eighth over of the innings —the earliest he’s ever bowled — and he immediately found plenty of turn.
In his following over, Lyon narrowly beat the outside edge of Shafique, who was also dropped at leg slip the ball before, albeit off a very difficult chance.
Part-timer Travis Head was then bowling in the 17th over as the Australians bowled spin from both ends.
Australia didn’t roll the dice for the encounter, relying on its trusty three-quick bowling attack of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc and just the one specialist spinner, Lyon. Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head are all part-time spin options for Australia, which has also retained its top seven from the Ashes.
Pakistan opted for two specialist spinners instead, with Sajid Khan and Nauman Ali picked alongside young quicks Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah.
Imam settled into the innings and after seeing off several overs of spin, attacked Lyon with success to reach his half century.
At one point he charged down the ground and belted Lyon over the long-off boundary with authority.
“No respect, eh? No respect at all. Using his feet, it’s the first time he’s done it … a magnificent hit,” Waqar said in commentary.
Simon Katich added: “That’s supreme confidence .. that was an imperious shot.”