That is what Pakistan fall short of to make Australia bat again. An innings defeat was expected and an innings defeat it is but what an epic fightback. Almost a reminiscent of the 2016 match where Pakistan nearly chased down 490. This time, they were chasing down 340 with the only difference being that the focus was to avoid an innings defeat.
Babar Azam, Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan and Yasir Shah - The Fantastic Four. They are the ones who kept Pakistan believing that they could fight and could avoid an innings defeat. Because after them, only Afridi managed double figures. Masood and Azam fought hard this morning, delaying Australia's quest for wickets and then the real fightback began.
First, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan added 132 for the 6th wicket and that was followed by a 79-run stand between Rizwan and Yasir. Azam scored a fantastic century but Rizwan missed his, while Yasir nearly got Australia batting again. Once again, it was the quartet of New South Wales bowlers as Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon took all the 10 wickets. Not that there were any more options. Starc took four in the first innings while Hazlewood got 4 in the second.
Probably, Australia will not be too unhappy with the timing of the last wicket. They have got 17 overs to get 2-3 wickets of Pakistan before the day ends. A proper Australian type batting scorecard with the batters piling on the misery on the bowlers after their own skittled out Pakistan on Day 1. Secretly, Justin Langer will be happy that Smith flopped. Because he would want a point to prove - Australia are not only about Smith. If only, this can happen outside home as well.
What different did Australia do as compared to Pakistan? Why did the latter struggle to pick wickets regularly? One can guess the choking part. There was only a brief period when Azhar Ali stifled the run flow on Day 2 but then, allowed easy runs and that helped the scoreboard to move.
Compare that to Australia in the second session on Day 1. 15 overs, 10 runs at one stage. Otherwise, not much swing, not much seam movement, not much turn either. Just a bit of bounce. Yasir Shah got 4 wickets but that was because of the batsmen going after him.