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David Warner departed for 32 runs © Getty Images

Pakistan were in a backs-to-the-wall struggle to save the day-night first Test as Australia took a strangle-hold on the third day at the Gabba on Saturday. At the close, the tourists were hanging in at 70 for two with Azhar Ali not out 41 and 112-Test veteran Younis Khan not off the mark after facing 19 balls. Pakistan trailed by 419 runs. Pakistan made a much better fist of playing in the tricky twilight session with the pink ball losing just two wickets after their catastrophic seven for 24 in the first innings on the previous evening. The openers lasted into the 12th over before Starc got Sami Aslam to edge to Matt Renshaw at first slip for 15.

Babar Azam fell to spinner Nathan Lyon in the final half-hour when he edged to Steve Smith at slip for 14. It was slow going but at least the tourists were not shedding wickets in clumps to keep the Australians at bay and still with two long days to play. “We have had some very good partnerships and we are hopeful of getting some more partnerships,” Pakistan batsman Asad Shafiq said. “We are taking this game step by step, hour by hour, and we are looking for the good batting opportunities here.”

Full cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, 1st day-night Test at Brisbane

Australia will be pressing hard on Sunday’s fourth day to win the series opener where they have yet to lose at the Gabba in 27 Tests stretching back to 1988. “We wanted to have a crack at them at night time,” senior batsman Usman Khawaja said, explaining Australia’s decision not to enforce the follow-on.

(With inputs from AFP)