RAWALPINDI: Usman Khawaja fell agonisingly short of a hundred but Australia’s top order powered them to 271 for two in reply to Pakistan’s total of 476 for four declared on day three of the opening test on Sunday.
David Warner scored 68 and Marnus Labuschagne was on 69 when bad light followed by rain stopped play with Australia’s top three posting half-centuries and the bat-dominated contest.
Steve Smith will also be hopeful of converting the start he got into big knock when he resumes on 24 on Monday.
“Tomorrow is another big day for us,” stated Khawaja.
“If we can bat well, keep scoring runs, and give ourselves the opportunity, maybe (Australia can force a result).” He also added, “We are 200 runs behind, there’s a long way to go.”
Australia, on their first tour of Pakistan in 24 years, finished day three 205 behind but scored freely after resuming on five for no loss.
Khawaja, who made 97, could have been dismissed on 22 when Shaheen Afridi got the opener to drive away from his body but Fawad Alam spilled a straightforward catch at gully.
It was a costly mistake on a flat track on which bowlers have struggled and only four wickets fell in the first two days.
The morning session also witnessed a little duel between Warner and Naseem Shah.
Warner hit the fast bowler for two boundaries in an over and Naseem responded by bowling into the bowling into the opener’s body in his next.
Warner suffered a blow to his upper arm but laughed it off when Naseem gave him a stare and a piece of his mind.
Khawaja played a spectacular upper-cut against Naseem and took two runs off spinner Sajid Khan to bring up a breezy half-century.
Warner welcomed off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed into the attack by hitting for three boundaries, the first bringing up his fifty.
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