Stumps! What a day for Pakistan. They first bundled out the Australians for a low score to gain a massive lead. Then fifties from Zaman and Ali have put them firmly in the driver's seat with a lead of 281 runs. Australia will have to pull off something spectacular to come out of this Test unscathed.
The opening day of the series-deciding second and final Test between Pakistan and Australia in Abu Dhabi was divided into three phases. It all started with Nathan Lyon wreaking havoc in the first session before 94s from Fakhar Zaman and Sarfraz Ahmed took Pakistan to a respectable total. Mohammad Abbas then struck twice to help Pakistan end Day 1 with a slight advantage. Lyon (4 for 78) scalped four wickets off six deliveries before Zaman and Sarfraz joined hands to share a 147-run association and led their team to a first innings total of 282. In reply, Australia lost their previous-match saviour Usman Khawaja and nightwatchman Peter Siddle and were 20 for 2 in seven overs, still trailing by 262 runs, with Aaron Finch unbeaten on 13 when stumps were drawn.
It didn't take Mitchell Starc too long to give Australia the first breakthrough as Mohammad Hafeez, the centurion from the previous game, fell to a freakish catch at short leg by Labuschagne for four. Hafeez timed his flick to perfection but the ball found Marnus Labuschagne on its way. The ball hit Labuschagne's inner thigh, dropped onto his knee and then somehow the other leg came around to trap the ball in between. Debutant Zaman and Azhar Ali (15) added 52 runs for the second wicket before Lyon wreaked mayhem in the space of just six deliveries. The offspinner first had Ali caught and bowled in his fourth over, and then in the very next delivery, had Haris Sohail caught at silly point with a flighted delivery. Before the dust had settled, Asad Shafiq (nought) edged one onto the pad and ended up offering a dolly to Labuschagne at the forward short leg. Two balls later, Babar Azam (nought) tried dancing down the track to Lyon and got knocked over. In the process, Lyon leapfrogged Brett Lee (310 wickets) and Mitchell Johnson (313 wickets) to become Australia's fourth most prolific Test wicket-taker.
Amidst all the chaos, Zaman looked solid and played a couple of delightful shots. The left-hander didn't allow Jon Holland to settle in and also pounced on every bad delivery. Tottering at 57 for 5, Pakistan needed their captain to step up and Sarfraz didn't disappoint. Instead of taking a step back, the 31-year-old counter-attacked and hit Peter Siddle for three boundaries in one over to get going. The two survived a couple of close calls but ensured the scoreboard kept ticking. Known for his dashing game style in the limited-overs format, Zaman mixed caution with aggression to smash eight fours and a six in his enterprising knock. It was legspinner Labuschagne (3 for 45) who finally broke the stand when he trapped Zaman right in front of the stumps, denying him a well-deserved century. Sarfraz stuck for a while before falling to Labuschagne at the exact same score. Coming in at No. 9, Yasir Shah hit three fours and a six on his way to 34-ball 28 before getting knocked over by Mitchell Marsh (1 for 21). With new cherry in hand, Starc returned to castle Mohammad Abbas for 10 and brought the curtain down on Pakistan's innings.
Australia had seven overs to take care of but right-arm pacer Mohammad Abbas made sure Pakistan ended Day 1 with smiles on their faces. The 28-year-old had Khawaja (3), who played a key role in helping Australia salvage a draw in the first Test, caught behind down the leg side and claimed his 50th Test wicket in his only 10th match. Yasir had achieved this feat in nine Tests, while Waqar Younis, Mohammad Asif and Shabbir Ahmed took the same number of games as Abbas did. Abbas then also dismissed Siddle (4) lbw to leave Australia in a spot of bother. Australia kept the same eleven from the drawn first Test in Dubai while Pakistan replaced the injured Imam-ul-Haq and Wahab Riaz with Zaman and debutant Mir Hamza.