If the first day belonged to Australia in the Boxing Day Test 2016-17, Azhar Ali snatched away all the limelight from the hosts and shot himself right up at the top with his 12th century, and 3rd this year. Through the course of a heavily rain-affected second day at Melbourne, it became clear that Azhar is one of those rare batsmen who like to score against Australia in particular, since his innings of 139 not out was his 3rd Test century against them. But despite his brilliant ton, Pakistan still have a lot of hard work left in order to keep their hopes alive of winning this series, which is a challenge since the forecast for the third day remains same as the second.

Azhar was not the only hero for Pakistan on Day Two. Asad Shafiq continued his good run against Australia in their backyard, and Mohammad Aamer proved why he should now be considered as a dangerous tailender. Pakistan finished at 310 for 6 having resumed at 142 for 4. Shafiq fell for a resolute 50, but it was Aamer who threatened to damage the reputation of the hosts bowlers. Thanks to the second and final rain intervention which stopped play for the day, Australia were spared of some humiliation at the hands of Aamer, who had stroked his way to 21-ball 28 not out with 6 boundaries. Let us go through the highlights of the day:

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Azhar Ali celebrates after completing century Getty Images

Azhar Ali s 139: The Pakistani opener might actually carry his bat if he goes on to play the way he has so far. Displaying tremendous application as well as restraint, Azhar brought up his 12th century in Test career. In the process, he also became only the 6th batsman in the year to complete 1,000 runs, after Joe Root (1,477), Jonny Bairstow (1,470), Alastair Cook (1,270), Virat Kohli (1,215) and Moeen Ali (1,078). Azhar faced as many as 287 balls, striking only 12 boundaries which showed how highly he had priced his wicket, which Australia have not been able to snare so far. With not much time left to complete all four innings, Azhar will be forced to take the aggressive route from the third day morning onward.

Full Cricket Scorecard, Australia vs Pakistan, 2nd Test at Melbourne

Out or not out? Big screens can work in favour as well as against. During the morning session, a full-blooded return stroke from Shafiq crashed into the wickets at the non-striker s and Australians appealed for a run-out while Azhar made a desperate dive to get inside the crease. While the third umpire reviewed the situation, Steven Smith and Matthew Renshaw made a dash towards the pavilion to relieve themselves either unfazed with what was happening in the middle or the nature s call was too tough to be ignored.

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Azhar Ali was given run out by 3rd umpire after Jackson Bird touched the ball before it hit the stumps but later it was corrected to being not out Getty Images

The third umpire, meanwhile, made a howler. Instead of signalling not out, a giant out flashed on the big screen, seconds after replays confirmed that Azhar was well inside the crease. The correct message was flashed subsequently. The MCG crowd was not going to miss out on having some fun over it, as they booed after the second and correct decision was broadcasted.

A bizarre end to morning session: With 10 minutes left for the lunch break, Steven Smith went to umpire Ian Gould to talk about the mild drizzle which was delaying Australia s selection of the second new ball. Gould saw sense in Smith s point, and went to his colleague S Ravi. After a brief discussion, the umpires decided to call in an early lunch break, which did not seem to make any sense to the Pakistanis. In fact, they felt slightly betrayed. Pakistan, who had started off cautiously, had finally started scoring at a decent rate and were adding quick runs when Australia were trying out the likes of Nic Maddinson and Smith himself with some part time spin.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur came running out to protest, but he met the umpires halfway to the stands. Arthur spoke for a while, but it was fruitless as players were already off the field.

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Jackson Bird celebrates the wicket of Asad Shafiq Getty Images

Asad Shafiq misses out: The star batsman at No. 6 continued to have a good time against Australia. He started off the second day with extreme caution, and opened up after getting his eye in. However, there was never any rush for runs as far as Shafiq is concerned, since his partner was batting with more fluency. Shafiq was required to spend time in the middle and keep rotating the strike, and he played his part well. But when Shafiq resumed his innings post lunch, there was a lot of nervousness seen in the Pakistani batsman against the new ball and particularly while facing Josh Hazlewood, which eventually led to his downfall. Hazlewood had Shafiq caught in the slips for 50, right after the batsman had reached his landmark. Had he been calm in that phase, another hundred was certainly on the cards.

Rain Gods favour Australia: On two different occasions, rains interrupted proceedings on Tuesday. Fortunately for Australia, both these interruptions broke Pakistan s momentum. When Pakistan had finally started looking for runs in the morning session after a slow start, it started drizzling mildly and players were pushed out of the field. Towards the end of the day, when Aamer came out swinging his bat at everything, Pakistan got a blessing in disguise as his quick runs took them past 300. Australia, for an instance, looked clueless as most of his strokes were flying over the slips for boundaries. But another rain interruption meant another pause at Pakistan s charge, which would certainly have made Australia happy.

Mitchell Star blows hot and cold: On a decent MCG wicket, Hazlewood has impressed with his disciplined line and lengths, strangulating batsmen more often than not. The third seamer in Australian ranks, Jackson Bird, has snaffled three wickets so far, but there has been nothing so far for Mitchell Starc. The tearaway pacer struggled for wickets, rhythm as well as proper line and lengths. Inside one over, he gave away 5 byes, generating extra bounce which flew over Matthew Wade. Soon, a fuller delivery was thrashed for a boundary by Azhar.