Pakistan suffered a shock after it lost both openers — Abdullah Shafique and Imamul Haq — for 13 and 20, respectively, denting the team’s chase of 556 posted by Australia in the first innings of the second Test in Karachi.
The hosts lost Shafique to a run-out as Pakistan reached 38-1 at lunch on the third day in reply to Australia’s mammoth 556-9 declared.
Shortly after lunch, Haq was dismissed by Nathan Lyon.
Skipper Babar Azam and Azhar Ali took up the reins in a bid to stabilise the batting line-up with Pakistan still needing 319 more runs to avoid the follow-on.
Shafique, who hit a brilliant unbeaten century in the drawn first Test in Rawalpindi, had made 13 of Pakistan’s 26-run opening stand when he failed to beat debutant Mitchell Swepson’s direct throw from point after being called for a sharp single.
Pakistan have a daunting task to save the match with the National Cricket Stadium pitch starting to keep low and cracks opening that will aid Australia’s two-pronged spin attack of Swepson and Nathan Lyon.
Australia resumed the third day on 505-8 as captain Pat Cummins opted to bat on.
Pakistan struck with the second ball of the day when fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi had Mitchell Starc caught at cover by Azhar without adding to his overnight 28.
But that was all the success they had as Cummins, who finished on 34 not out, added a brisk 51 for the ninth wicket with Swepson (15) before declaring.
Pakistan had been forced to toil for 189 overs in the field with seven bowlers used.
All-rounder Faheem Ashraf was the pick of the attack with his 2-55 from 21 overs, while off-spinner Sajid Khan took 2-167 from 57 overs.
Australia are on their first tour of Pakistan since 1998, having previously refused to tour on security reasons.