Shafique, Azhar hit fifties as Pakistan move on to 159-1 at lunch
Abdullah Shafique and Azhar Ali both made unbeaten half-centuries to guide Pakistan to 159-1 at lunch on the third day of the third Test in Lahore on Wednesday.
In-form opener Shafique was not out 75 and senior batsman Azhar 63 as Pakistan added 69 without loss after resuming on the third day at 90-1 in reply to Australia’s first innings 391.
The home team still trail by 232 runs with nine wickets in hand.
Australia toiled hard and could have had some reward in the last over before lunch when Azhar on 62, edged leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, but Steve Smith at slip failed to hold on to the sharp chance.
Other than that, it was hard work for the Australian bowlers on a placid Gaddafi Stadium pitch which, despite showing signs of cracks, has not offered much assistance to Swepson or off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Shafique was the first to reach his half century, which came in 210 minutes with 10 fours and was his fifth in five Tests, when he drove fast bowler Mitchell Starc for two.
Azhar cut Lyon for a boundary and then took a single to complete his 35th half-century in 94th Test which contained six fours and a six.
Australia’s first Test series in Pakistan for 24 years because of security fears has been marred by flat pitches where the bat has dominated the ball. The first two Tests, at Rawalpindi and Karachi, both ended in draws.