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Rawalpindi Test heading towards a draw

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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s left-arm spinner Nauman Ali bagged a five-wicket haul as Pakistan bowled Australia out for 459 taking a 17 run lead in the first innings on the fifth and final day of the Rawalpindi Test.

In the second inning, Pakistani openers Imam ul Haq and Abdullah Shafique provided a solid start by scoring a quick 60 runs before lunch.

Australia resumed their innings with 449 runs on the scoreboard and three wickets in hand. The tail-enders only managed to add 10 runs to the total before being bowled out in just 3.1 overs in the day.

Nauman Ali was the star of the show with the bowl as he claimed his career-best figures of six for 107 in 38.1 overs.

Earlier on Monday, Pakistan grabbed two Australian wickets with the new ball Monday, but the first Test looked headed for a draw after the entire morning session was lost to the weather.

Australia lost in-form Marnus Labuschagne for 90 and Travis Head for eight before reaching 364-4 at tea still 112 runs behind Pakistan’s first innings total of 476-4 declared.

At the break, Steve Smith was 61 not out and Cameroon Green 18, with the chance of a result growing dimmer by the hour.

Overnight rain had left the outfield at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium waterlogged and after three inspections the umpires finally allowed play to start after lunch.

Australia, 271-2 overnight, progressed to 288-2 when Pakistan took the second new ball after 80 overs and was instantly rewarded.

Left-arm paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi forced an edge off Labuschagne which Abdullah Shafique took while diving to his right in the slips.

Labuschagne, the world’s top-ranked Test batsman, lasted 190 minutes during which he hit 12 boundaries.

He added 108 for the third wicket with Smith, who has so far hit seven boundaries in his 34th Test half-century.

Head, fresh from being man-of-the-series in Australia’s 4-0 Ashes win back home in January, hit two boundaries before he miscued a drive-off spinner Nauman Ali and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan.

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