Journal De Bruxelles - Cummins strikes before lunch as Pakistan's Shafique falls for 96

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Cummins strikes before lunch as Pakistan's Shafique falls for 96
Cummins strikes before lunch as Pakistan's Shafique falls for 96

Cummins strikes before lunch as Pakistan's Shafique falls for 96

Captain Pat Cummins dismissed opener Abdullah Shafique four runs short of a century Wednesday to give Australia a long-awaited breakthrough on the fifth and final day of the second Test against Pakistan in Karachi.

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Cummins struck eight minutes before lunch to end an epic third-wicket stand of 228 between Shafique and Pakistan captain Babar Azam with the score on 249.

Pakistan, chasing a record target of 506, went to lunch at 254-3, with Azam not out 133 and Fawad Alam on three, needing a further 252 runs to win or, more realistically, to bat through the remaining 62 overs for a fighting draw.

Shafique, who hit 136 not out in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, drove Cummins for a boundary to reach 96.

But in his next over the Australian fast bowler drew the right-hander into another drive which this time found the edge.

Steve Smith held a sharp catch in the slips, making amends for dropping the same batsman, on 20, from a more straightforward chance at slip off Cummins the day before.

Resuming the innings at 192-2, Azam and Shafique were cautious in the first hour, adding just 32 runs against some tight Australian bowling, led by off-spinner Nathan Lyon who operated with four close-in fielders.

Shafique batted for seven hours and 48 minutes for his 96, hitting six fours and a six. Azam has so far hit 15 boundaries.

No team has ever scored more than 418 in the fourth innings to win a Test in the fourth innings, while Pakistan's highest successful chase was 377 against Sri Lanka at Pallekele in 2015.

Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to tour the country over security fears.

The third and final Test starts in Lahore on Monday.

X.Lefebvre--JdB