Cricket: Pakistan finally offer some resistance

Peter Handscomb salutes the dressing-room and fans after making a century. Photo / AP
Peter Handscomb salutes the dressing-room and fans after making a century. Photo / AP

Pakistan have finally offered some resistance in the SCG dead rubber cricket test, reaching 126 for two at stumps on day two after negotiating a wicket-less session with some help from Australia's vice-captain.

Australia remain in control of the contest, boasting a 412-run lead following centuries from David Warner, Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb.

But their bid for a 3-0 series win stalled when Warner, one of the best fielders in the world, fluffed his lines.

Warner missed chances to run out Azhar Ali on 12 and Younis Khan on 32 at the non-striker's end, while he dropped a sharp one-handed catch at leg slip in the day's penultimate over.

Azhar was 58 not out at stumps yesterday, while Younis was on 64.

Running between the wickets was not the highlight of their unbeaten 120-run partnership.

Azhar was mid-pitch when Younis sent him back in the 11th over.

Warner had enough time to lob the ball back to bowler Mitchell Starc and complete the dismissal but instead tried to throw down the stumps.

Azhar returned the favour in the 27th over, when Warner went within a whisker of snapping the stubborn stand from mid-off.

The veteran then failed to back up when opening partner Renshaw also tried to throw down the stumps.

Skipper Steve Smith couldn't see the funny side as the tourists scampered through for two overthrows.

Smith declared at 538-8, wanting seven overs at Pakistan before the tea break. It proved a wise decision, with Josh Hazlewood snaring two wickets in his second over. Hazlewood needed seven balls at Sharjeel Khan and four at Babar Azam to account for the batsmen.

Hazlewood and Starc found bowling to Azhar, who showed what he is capable of with an unbeaten knock of 205 in the Boxing Day test, and Younis far tougher.

Spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe were largely ineffective in the final session, when Smith opted against using them in tandem.

However, Lyon created a late chance when Azhar was on 51.

Earlier, Renshaw's maiden test ton ended when he was on 184 in the sixth over of the day. Sid Barnes is the only Australian opener to have produced a higher score at the SCG than what the 20-year-old managed in his fourth test.

Handscomb was out hit-wicket for 110 after benefiting from a missed stumping on nine.

Hilton Cartwright made 37 on test debut.

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