Babar Azam hit six fours and three sixes in his 171-ball knock before falling leg-before to Mitchell Marsh as he closed in on a deserved century
Babar Azam fell one run short of his maiden century as Pakistan set Australia a mammoth victory target of 538 on day three of the second and final Test match in Abu Dhabi Thursday.
Australia then lost opener Shaun Marsh as the visitor ended the day on 47-1 and facing an uphill battle to avoid defeat after Pakistan declared their second innings on 400/9.
Paceman Mir Hamza sent back Shaun for four before Aaron Finch (24) and Travis Head (17) steadied the ship, although Australia's hope of a first series win in Asia since 2011 were hanging by the slenderest of threads with 491 runs still needed.
Babar hit six fours and three sixes in his 171-ball knock before falling leg-before to Mitchell Marsh as he closed in on a deserved century. He put on a 133-run stand with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (81) for the sixth wicket.
Sarfraz also failed to convert his aggressive knock into a century, as he was dismissed leg-before while looking to sweep spinner Marnus Labuschagne.
Babar Azam and Imad Wasim return to the Pakistan T20I squad while Waqas Maqsood earns his maiden call-up for their series against Australia next week.— ICC (@ICC) October 18, 2018
SQUAD ➡️ https://t.co/xnWZCYaRbt pic.twitter.com/0BJtm7YwmF
Earlier, Asad Shafiq and Babar provided stability in the middle order after Pakistan lost a couple of early wickets as the host stretched their lead to 369 at lunch.
Resuming the day on 144/2, Pakistan lost the wicket of Haris Sohail (17) when he was stumped by visiting captain Tim Paine off a tossed up delivery from off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Sohail's overnight partner Azhar Ali (64) was then run out in a bizarre fashion when he edged a Peter Siddle delivery fine of gully and walked up the pitch for a chat with partner Shafiq, thinking the ball was running safely to the boundary.
Mitchell Starc, who is nursing a tight hamstring, picked up the ball that had ground to a halt just inside the rope before sending a throw for wicket-keeper Paine to whip off the bails with both batsman standing idly in the middle of the strip.
Australia were dismissed for 145 on day two, handing Pakistan a 137-run first innings advantage.
Pakistan stretch lead despite bizarre Azhar run out #Pakistan tightened their grip on the second #Test against #Australia in Abu Dhabi Thursday as they reached 232-4 at lunch, in a morning marked by a bizarre run out of #Azhar Alihttps://t.co/NUCLmmfIan— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) October 18, 2018
2ND TEST, DAY 3
Pakistan 282 & 400/9d in 120 overs (Babar 99, Lyon 4/135) lead Australia 145 & 47/1 in 12 overs (Finch 24*, Head 17*) by 491 runs