live cricket score, live score, live score cricket, australia vs pakistan live, australia vs pakistan live score, aus vs pakistan live cricket score, australia vs pakistan 2nd test match live, australia vs 2nd test live, cricket live score, cricket score, cricket, live cricket streaming, live cricket video, live cricket, cricket live Melbourne
Rain interrupted as many as three times on Day Two Getty Images

Azhar Ali s characteristic knock powered Pakistan past 300 in first innings, on Day Two of the second Test at Melbourne against Australia. In an early finish on yet another rain-affected day, Pakistan reached 310 for 6 with Azhar notching up his 12th Test century and Asad Shafiq falling right after reaching his 50 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Azhar was unbeaten on 139 off 287 balls inclusive of 12 boundaries, along with Mohammad Aamer, who stroked his way to a quickfire 21-ball 28. The second rain interruption pushed players off the field in an extended session, and Pakistan now find themselves in a race against time to force a result in this Test and keep hopes alive of a series win.

Pakistan, however, will be disappointed, as rain interruptions affected their momentum twice. The day began with Pakistan s familiar approach of batting with caution. At the huge MCG ground, neither Azhar nor Shafiq looked for boundaries, and instead they dealt in rotating the strike. Placement and timing was done with precision, and running between the wickets was sharp. The pair added 90 runs in the first session off 30 overs and Australia s frustration increased while the game progressed. Pakistan would be glad having not lost any wicket in the morning session, but the scoring rate remained low.

Shafiq would feel disappointed having missed out on consecutive centuries this series. He fell right after reaching half-century, getting caught in the slips for 50 off 123 balls. The No. 6 star played a huge role in frustrating Australian bowlers, after resuming the day at 4 not out. Desperate hosts even wasted a review against Shafiq when the ball had only passed between his bat and pads, flicking the trousers on its way.

Live cricket scorecard: Australia vs Pakistan, Boxing Day Test at Melbourne

Earlier in the first session, Azhar and Shafiq resumed the innings at a perilous position of 142 for 4, but their century stand for the fifth wicket raised the hopes of a strong first-innings total. Azhar and Shafiq added a total of 115 runs for the fifth wicket, frustrating Australia throughout the morning session with their patient approach.

The proceedings on the second day began half an hour early. When lunch was taken 10 minutes before the scheduled time, Pakistan had recovered extremely well. Towards the end of the morning session, Pakistan had started scoring freely with both Azhar and Shafiq getting a few boundaries to up the scoring rate. However, there was a bizarre end to the morning session that left Pakistan unhappy.

About 10 minutes to the lunch break, Australia captain Steven Smith went on to have a word with umpire Ian Gould. There were dark clouds hovering over, and the second new ball was due. It was drizzling as well, and Australia understandably did not want to risk the new ball. After Smith spoke with Gould, the umpire went on to discuss with the other on-field umpire S Ravi. After a brief discussion, the umpires decided to call off the first session 10 minutes before the scheduled break.

The sudden call prompted Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur to come on the field and chat with the umpires, who were on their way back to the shades as the drizzle continued. Arthur could not do much, and the players were already off the field.

Assumingly, players took tea as well when play did not resume post lunch. But when it did finally, with the second new ball in Australia s hands, the scenario changed. Pakistani duo of Azhar and Shafiq went into a shell, and they survived a few tight calls. Azhar survived a run out chance and a caught-behind in the same over off Starc, whereas Shafiq struggled against Hazlewood. Shafiq had resumed the second session, needing two more to complete his half-century, but his joy did not last long as Hazlewood found an outside edge. Shafiq walked back after a slow but resolute knock that frustrated the Australians for a brief period of time.

Sarfraz did not last long either, and Jackson Bird had him caught in the slips when he had crawled to 10. With the 300-run mark still far off from Pakistan s reach, arrived Mohammed Aamer at the crease who belittled the Australian plans. Aamer raced to 28 not out when rains arrived once again and washed out the remaining overs, getting 6 boundaries in the process. Four of these six boundaries were scored behind the wickets.

Azhar s characteristic knock has certainly provided Pakistan an edge. His drives through covers and straight down the ground showed his class once again. Azhar completed his 12th Test ton, his 3rd this year and 3rd against Australia. In the process, he also completed 1,000 runs this year, becoming the sixth batsman to do so.

Pakistan need to change gears hereon to give themselves enough time to bowl Australia out twice in three days. Unless Pakistan make a bold declaration and take early wickets, a result in this Test looks unlikely as forecast for the third day remains the same.

The third day s play will begin half-an-hour early.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 310 for 6 (Azhar Ali 139*, Asad Shafiq 50; Josh Hazlewood 2 for 33, Jackson Bird 3 for 91) vs Australia