Preview: Australia ended Day 3 of the second Test at 47/1 in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, with Pakistan needing 9 wickets to seal a 1-0 series win. At the close of days play, Aaron Finch (24) and Travis Head (17) were at the crease with Australia still needing 491 runs with nine wickets in hand to save a 1-0 series defeat in the last two days.
Australia were set a big target of 538 to win the second Test after some useful contributions from the Pakistan batting line-up saw them declare at 400/9. The visitors now face an uphill task to even save the match – never mind emerge victorious – on a pitch that will offer some assistance to the spinners on the final two days. Babar Azam missed a maiden hundred by one run but he and Sarfraz Ahmed (81) put on a 133-run partnership for the sixth wicket. It was just the kind of innings both of them needed given both of them were struggling for runs prior to this Test match. The two of them scored runs at will in the second session, with Australia setting defensive fields in an attempt to ensure that less boundaries were scored.
The final session saw the Australian bowlers keep their lines tighter but the fact that they had to bowl as many overs as they did was taxing, especially with two more days of play left to try and save the match. Australia looked likely to get through the Pakistani batsmen on a few occasion, but failed to make the most of their opportunities and will now have to bat out of their skins to avoid a loss. Pakistan had made 282 in their first innings while Australia were dismissed for 145 in reply on a pitch that has offered turn since day one. For Australia, off-spinner Nathan Lyon finished with figures of 4/135. The first Test ended in a draw in Dubai last week.