Losing two wickets in an extended two-and-a-half-hour morning session isn’t quite catastrophic — unless you’re following-on and staring at an innings defeat like Pakistan. Nathan Lyon picked both the overnight batsmen on the fourth morning, finding occasional turn and bounce that combined with some unforced errors from Pakistan to reduce them to 167/5 at Tea on Day 4.
There wasn’t much on offer in terms of conditions. The pitch is still flat, and the old pink ball not doing enough. Laying exactly into that, Masood and Shafiq indeed started well. Masood was on the receiving end of some short balls from Mitchell Starc but he dealt it relatively well this morning, pulling a couple of them for boundaries. And he launched a six as soon as Lyon came into the attack.
But well set on 71, Masood decided to attack Lyon and handed out a simple catch to mid-off. Shafiq, Masood’s partner in the 103-run stand, was more stable at the other end before he came up against some fine bowling and captaincy.
Lyon, from round the wicket to the right-hander, extracted some turn and bounce and had Shafiq caught at leg-slip 20 minutes out from Tea.
Still 120 behind with only five wickets in hand, Pakistan will face an uphill battle in the second session. Pat Cummins bowled just the couple of overs at the start of the session, so he should be nice and fresh for the next.
Brief Scores: Australia 589/3 declared Pakistan 302 & 167/5 (Shan Masood 68, Asad Shafiq 57; Nathan Lyon 2-44, Josh Hazlewood 2-50) by 120 runs.