Cummins dents Pakistan's progress with Masood's wicket

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Pat Cummins dismissed his opposite number in the second session
Pat Cummins dismissed his opposite number in the second session © AFP

In an intriguing session of play, the two captains Shan Masood and Pat Cummins traded blows to keep dragging the game towards their respective corners, before the latter dismissed the former. Masood combined with his predecessor Babar Azam to take on the Australian bowling and scored at more than four-an-over in the post-lunch period, until Cummins got him to nick one to the slip cordon. Azam then took Pakistan to 129/3 at Tea in the company of Saud Shakeel, 188 short of the target.

After losing Abdullah Shafique and crawling to 25/1 in 9 overs towards the end of the morning session, Masood took the onus upon himself to move Pakistan along swiftly. Masood laid out Pakistan's counter-attacking plans in the first over when he hit a four off Nathan Lyon. He and Babar Azam singled out the spinner for quick runs, to try and deny the Australian pacers longer breaks between spells while the offie operated from one end.

It was Cummins who brought Azam to the middle, as he trapped Imam leg before early in the session to leave Pakistan two down. Cummins troubled the former captain upon his arrival to the middle but he survived while Masood took charge. He got a couple of exquisite boundaries off Hazlewood and Starc to reach a breezy 57-ball half-century.

When Lyon came back to the attack after the drinks break, both Masood and Azam took him on to get 12 off his 2 overs. It took Pakistan past the 100-run mark, increasing their hopes of achieving series parity. Cummins however, hit back with the wicket of his opposite number, getting him to nick a full ball from round the stumps to Smith at slips. With that ended a 61-run stand that came off 12 overs.

Pakistan's scoring rate - which was at more than four-an-over in the presence of Masood - expectedly slowed down but Azam and Shakeel ensured they took the side to Tea without further damage.

Brief Scores: Australia 318 & 262 (Mitchell Marsh 96, Alex Carey 53, Steve Smith 50; Shaheen Afridi 4-76, Mir Hamza 4-32) lead Pakistan 264 & 129/3 (Shan Masood 60; Pat Cummins 2-28, Mitchell Starc 1-38) by 188 runs




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