Cummins, Lyon chip away at Pakistan to give Australia control

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Pakistan trail Australia by 124 runs after Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon took key wickets for the hosts on day two of the second Test in Melbourne.

Cummins removed Abdullah Shafique for 62 before dismissing Babar Azam and Agha Salman cheaply, while Lyon’s spin saw off Imam-ul-Haq and Shan Masood.

The visitors ended the day on 194-6, with Mohammad Rizwan unbeaten on 29.

Marnus Labuschagne earlier helped guide Australia to 318 in their first innings with his 17th Test half-century.

Pakistan at one point were 124-1 in response and Australia captain Cummins said: “They obviously batted quite well.

“But it was good at the end to get a few big wickets and it feels like we’re well into their order now.”

Pakistan need to win in Melbourne to keep the three-match series alive after losing by 360 runs in Perth, and they took advantage of a pitch offering seam and swing to claim seven Australia wickets in the morning session.

Aamer Jamal was the visitors’ top bowler, taking 3-64, but Cummins said he was satisfied to see Labuschagne’s dogged 63 from 155 balls help the hosts to a healthy enough score after they resumed on 187-3.

Mitchell Marsh weighed in with 41, surviving two dismissals on review after being given out twice by umpire Joel Wilson to successive Hasan Ali deliveries when on seven.

Labuschagne’s dismissal with the team score on 250, edging Jamal to Shafique, sparked a decline in Australian fortunes as the hosts went on to lose their final six wickets for 68 runs.

Nevertheless, Cummins said: “I was actually really happy. I thought our batters did a great job to get us to 300, it was hard work.”

Pakistan falter after promising start

Pakistan made a decent start to their reply, despite the loss of Imam for 10, caught by Labuschagne at slip off Lyon.

Shafique reached his first Test half-century in Australia, and his fifth overall alongside four hundreds, with a four off Mitchell Starc as the visitors upped the run rate after tea.

But his 90-run partnership with Masood was broken by Cummins, who showed sharp reflexes to catch Shafique off his own bowling.

The visitors went on to lose five wickets for 46 runs.

Cummins bowled the dangerous Babar for one before Masood fell to Lyon, caught by Marsh for 54.

Josh Hazlewood bowled Saud Shakeel for nine and Cummins accounted for Salman, caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey for five, to leave the tourists in trouble. (BBC Sport)

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