Babar, Sarfraz propel Pakistan to 350-5 in second Test

Abu Dhabi: Middle-order batsmen Babar Azam and Sarfraz Ahmed stroked half centuries to lift Pakistan to 350-5 at tea on the third day of the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

Azam was unbeaten on 90 for his seventh half century while Sarfraz was 60 not out for his 16th fifty as they took Pakistan’s lead to 487 with five wickets intact.

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, has so far knocked five boundaries and three sixes while Sarfraz has five boundaries and a six in this innings, having scored 94 in the first.

They added 115 runs for the unbroken sixth wicket stand after Asad Shafiq was dismissed in the post lunch session for 44.

Nathan Lyon has the best bowling figures with 2-130.

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 Shafiq.

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.