Bilal’s five-four on debut leaves Australia facing follow-on


DUBAI: The off-spinner Bilal Asif ripped through the middle-order of Australia as he took five-four on his debut.

Bilal and Muhammad Abbas took the visitors from 140-0 to 189 for 7 in the second session of third day’s play and left Australia facing the threat of follow-on.

Earlier, Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch started strongly chasing Pakistan’s mammoth first innings score of  482.

Both Aussie openers scored their fifties and batted steadily and cautiously to take the visitors to 137 for 0 at the lunch. Pakistan’s trump card Yasir Shah did not prove to be impactful yet as he remained wicketless with 64 runs in his 20 overs.

At end of the second day, Australia were 0-30, trailing by 452 runs after bowling Pakistan out for 482 late in Monday’s final session.

New-look opening duo Usman Khawaja (17 not out) and Aaron Finch (13 not out) faced 13 overs with Test debutant Finch surviving a big appeal for lbw from Yasir’s second delivery.

Replays showed the ball would have clipped leg stump but the umpire’s call would not have been overturned, meaning a Pakistan review would have been fruitless.

Yasir looms as a major weapon for Pakistan with the pitch already showing signs it will deteriorate late in the match.

Australia have only won on three occasions in Test cricket after conceding at least 482 runs in the first innings.

Debutant Marnus Labuschagne earlier demonstrated his value as a triple-threat, inspiring the visitors with the ball and in the field.

The part-time legspinner struck minutes before tea, removing Asad Shafiq (80) with a ripping delivery which caught the right-hander’s edge.

Labuschagne then had Babar Azam (four) run out shortly after tea with a pinpoint throw from midwicket which left Babar well short of his crease.

Haris Sohail (110) – one of two Pakistan century-makers along with Mohammad Hafeez (126) – soon followed, caught behind while attempting to cut a Nathan Lyon delivery.