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Pakistan labors to 18-1 after Australia sets huge target

KARACHI, Pakistan

Australia made early inroads after setting a huge target of 506 on Day 4 of the second cricket test against tired Pakistan.

Veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon struck with his fifth delivery Tuesday when he had Imam-ul-Haq trapped leg before wicket as Pakistan labored to 18-1 in 21 overs before lunch.

Mitchell Swepson bowled in tandem with Lyon for nearly an hour and extracted spin from the wearing pitch with his occasional deliveries kicking off the cracks and troubling both Abdullah Shafique (18) and Azhar Ali (3).

There were also ominous signs of reverse swing for both captain Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in their short return spells before the interval.

Earlier, Australia had extended its lead to 505 before Cummins declared the second innings at 97-2 when Marnus Labuschagne (44) played Shaheen Afridi (1-21) back onto his stumps off a mistimed pull shot.

Afridi and Hasan Ali (1-23) didn’t allow first innings century-maker Usman Khawaja (44 not out) and Labuschagne to score quickly in the half hour after Australia resumed on 81-1, and Australia’s declaration came earlier than expected.

It gave Australia almost two full days and a minimum of 172 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the series at the fortress of Pakistan — National Stadium — where the home team has lost just two out of its 44 test matches.

The last of those losses was against South Africa at Karachi 14 years ago, and England recorded the other test victory here in 2000.

Australia had routed Pakistan for 148 in the first innings inside 4 1/2 hours on Day 3 after it declared its first innings at 556-9 by keeping Pakistan on the field under hot conditions for more than two days.

It was also only the second time that Australia had declared both innings in a test match in Asia, with the first against India during the tied test at Chennai in 1986.

Starc, who had toppled Pakistan top order with his reverse swing in the first innings, and Cummins bowled four successive maiden overs before Lyon dismissed Imam for the second time in the test match.

Imam had scored centuries in each innings in the drawn first test at Rawalpindi last week, but struggled to show patience in both innings at Karachi.

Australia is touring Pakistan for the first time since 1998, playing in the three-test series which is part of the World Test Championship.

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