Abu Dhabi: After an irresponsible start from the top order, Pakistan picked themselves up from the abyss and rode on counter-attacking knocks of 94 each from debutant Fakhar Zaman and skipper Sarfraz Ahmad to post 282 all out on a fast deteriorating Shaikh Zayed Stadium wicket on Tuesday.
At stumps on Day One of the series-deciding second Test, the men from Down Under were reduced to 20 for two having lost Usman Khawaja, centurion from the last outing, and Peter Siddle who had been sent in as night watchman. Both fell prey to the aggressive Mohammad Abbas — caught behind and leg before, respectively.
Earlier in the day, off-spinner Nathan Lyon took four wickets off six balls to leave Pakistan in troubled waters at 77-5 at lunch. Yes, there was turn but certainly no demons.
It was purely some irresponsible batting from the top order after winning a crucial toss.
The men from Down Under managed an early breakthrough with pacer Mitchell Starc getting Mohammad Hafeez, centurion from the last Test, caught at short leg by Marnus Labuschagne, who somehow held on after the ball took his inner thigh and dropped onto his left knee before rolling on to his calf.
Pakistan, however, lost the plot once Lyon was introduced. First it was Azhar Ali — caught and bowled for 15, and with that the carnage started. Haris Sohail was out in the very next delivery, a sharp catch by Travis Head at silly point and Lyon was on a hat-trick.
Lyon then sent Asad Shafiq packing for a duck in the second ball of the next over after the review showed there was a slight inside edge before the ball settled in the hands of close infielder Labuschagne.
A delivery later, Babar Azam left Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur fuming after the former played a reckless inside-out shot to Lyon and saw his stumps castled.
Debutant Fakhar Zaman, however, showed tremendous maturity as wickets fell all round him and was really determined to make the opportunity count.
At lunch, Zaman was unbeaten on 49 and skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, under pressure to deliver, was on four.
Sarfraz, who was bombarded with questions by scribes on his temperament to his poor form with the bat on the eve of the encounter, responding brilliantly at a time when his team was in dire straits. The innings spoke volumes of his ability to handle pressure.
The duo put on 147-run vital partnership for the sixth wicket before part-time leggie Labuschagne struck at tea, dashing Zaman’s century hopes on debut by a mere six runs. Sarfraz too was closing in on first century since 2014 against New Zealand. However, he too missed out on the same score of 94 as Zaman.